Scrappy Quilts and Binding
There are many ways to finish the edge of a quilt. The edge
of a quilt gets a lot of wear, so most quilters like to make a double fold
Double Fold Binding
The binding is the last design element of your quilt. Some
quilters like to make it wide, while others like it tight. I usually make
it small and tight, as in the picture at the top of the page. I cut my
binding strips about 3 inches wide.
There are a double of ways to make a double fold binding.
You can use a continuous strip of fabric, or you can do each side separately.
If you want to make a continuous strip of binding, you are going to have to seam
the strips together to get the required length. You are going to need the
length of all the sides, plus extra for the corners and where the beginning and
end of the strips are joined. Add an extra 4-5 inches for each corner and for joining the
strips at the end.
You are also going to have to decide how to piece the strips.
You can make a flat seam, and on some fabrics you will barely notice it.
In the picture on the left below you can see that the binding with the straight seam is
Also pictured is how you lay strips together to make a diagonal
seam. In the picture below you can see that when the bottom horizontal
piece is pressed down, the strip will continue in a straight line, and the
joining seam will be diagonal. Most
advanced quilters like to make a diagonal seam. It looks better and
distributes the bulk of the seam.
Binding with a straight seam
How to sew binding with a diagonal
Do not cut the batting
until after you sew on the binding. You want to be sure and leave
enough batting so that it will fill the binding strip when it is wrapped
over the top and sewn to the back.
If you want to sew the binding on each edge
separately, do opposite sides first. Start with the long end of the
quilt. Sew it on, turn the
edge over the top, and sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Cut
off the excess.
Finish by binding the sides. Make your
binding strips a
little longer so that you can turn under the edges before folding them to
the back and sewing them down.
The binding strip sew to the quilt
The front of the binding after
Here is how you turn the corners when sewing on a continuous
strip of binding. Start sewing on your binding strip at least 8 inches from the
corner. When you come to the corner stop exactly 1/4 inch from the edge.
Turn the binding up at a 45 degree angle, as pictured below. It will form
a right angle with the horizontal strip.
Then fold it down at the top of the strip, and continue sewing
down the strip, as illustrated by the black line below. When you turn the
binding strip to the back, the corners will look like the ones on the table
runner at the top of the page.
The binding turned up at 45 degrees
The Pillow Fold
Instead of applying binding to a quilt, you can put the layers
together, and sew them together like a pillow, leaving an opening to turn the
This is not as strong a finish as a double fold binding, but it
is a nice look, and if don't want to machine stitch the binding in place, and it
is hard for you to do hand sewing, it is a good option.
When you make the quilt sandwich, put the batting down first.
Then put the backing on top of the batting, right side up. Finally, add
the quilt top, right side down. It is helpful to baste the backing to the
binding to help keep it all together when you turn it. After you turn it, just
sew up the opening and you are done.
Note: If you sew a small border on the perimeter of the
quilt, it will look like a binding strip.
Binding the Quilt with the Backing
Another option is to put the quilt layers together, making the
backing wider than the quilt top. Then you can fold the backing
and bring it around to the top of the quilt top and sew it down.
Folding the Quilt Top and Backing and Sewing Together
This method of finishing a quilt is not done much these days.
When our ancestors made quilts, they had limited fabric and this was one way to
finish a quilt without using extra fabric.
Here is how you do it. After putting the quilt sandwich
together, cut away around 1/2 inch of the batting. Then turn under the edges of
both the quilt top and the backing, and sew them together.