If there’s one part I hear the most critique about in quilts, both from quilters and judges at quilt shows, it’s binding. Personally, I started machine binding the majority of my quilts several years ago when I noticed my hand binding was simply not holding up. I’m not sure if it’s my knots or thread choice, but frankly, I didn’t really care. It was irritating.
I’ve gotten asked how I do my machine binding, so I put together a number of short video clips on our Instagram feed to walk through the process. I cut my binding 2 1/8″ wide; it’s a matter of personal preference, but I find that width adds enough interest to the quilt edge without overwhelming it.
First up, I attach the binding, which goes on the back of the quilt when I’m machine binding (that way I can flip it around to the front and stitch it down from the front and make it as neat as possible on the visible side).
I use my quarter inch foot to, and let the 1/4″ markings before and after the needle indicate when to start and stop sewing; I know to start or stop based on when the edge of the quilt sandwich lines up with the right foot marking before or after the needle.
Once I have all the binding attached, it’s time to secure the tails so the binding is the right size for the quilts. I used the back of this cutting mat to make a helpful diagram so I know where to trim each binding tail for the right join placement.
And here’s the video on how I actually use it. Lay the mat so the long line is against the edge of the quilt. One binding piece aligns with one perpendicular line. The other binding piece gets trimmed to the other perpendicular line (again, my binding is 2 1/8″ wide, so I’m using my red 2 1/8″ line). Trim it so the pieces overlap by the binding width (in this case 2 1/8″), then join with a diagonal seam. Diagonal joins are recommended for binding because it distributes the bulk of the seam allowance over a wider area to reduce lumpiness.
You can also check out the tutorial on my personal blog for step-by-step instructions with pictures.
Once the binding is attached, it’s time to flip it over to the front of the quilt to do the final stitching. I don’t fiddle with clips to hold it down as I’m stitching it, but I do find that pressing the binding towards the edge of the quilt before stitching it down helps keep it in line. Here’s how I handle those pesky mitered binding corners.