Calculate How Much Binding
The first step is figuring out how much binding you need. Here's my formula for calculating how many strips I need to cut:
(Quilt length + Quilt width) x 2 + 20" = the total number of inches you need.
That extra 20" is for mitering the corners and joining the two ends of the binding. Some people only add 10", but I like to be sure I'll have more than enough and I won't be struggling to get those ends joined.
My mini quilt measures 11.5" long and 22" wide, so my formula looks like this:
(11.5 + 22) x 2 + 20" = 87"
Assuming 40" of usable fabric in each strip, take your total number of inches needed and divide it by 40, then round up to get the number of strips you need to cut.
87 ÷ 40 = 2.175
I will confess that because I only needed .175 of a third strip, I did go with only using two strips and it worked fine, so use your own judgement if your number comes out to be just barely above a whole number.
Make the Binding
How wide you cut your strips is, in part, a matter of personal preference. 2 1/2" seems to be the most common measurement, but I prefer to cut mine at 2 1/4" as I find it makes for a neater finish. The best way to figure out what you prefer is to bind a couple of quilts with each measurement and choose which one works best for you. There is no right or wrong answer on this one.
Once you've cut as many strips as you need, it's time to join them together. We'll join them with a diagonal seam to reduce the bulk.
Place the end of one strip on the table, right side up. Place one end of a second strip on top, right sides together and perpendicular to the first strip. Check to be sure this is actually a separate strip and you're not joining the two ends of one strip together (yes, I have done this!). I like to leave a smidge of fabric visible at the ends so I can see the intersections better. It helps me sew a straighter line :) Pin the strips together.
Stitch a diagonal line from the intersection at the top left to the intersection at the bottom right. You can mark this line before stitching if you want, but it's such a short seam that I find marking isn't necessary.
Continue adding strips until you have one long piece. Press the seam allowances, open or to one side - your choice. The places where your strips are joined will look like this:
Press the binding in half along the entire width, wrong sides together.
You now have one long strip of binding ready to attach to your quilt! I'm only binding a mini quilt, so my strip isn't actually all that long, but if you're binding a bed-sized quilt, your binding will be much more impressive looking! At this point, depending on when you'll actually attach it to your quilt, or your social media needs, you could roll the binding into a pretty circle, or you can do as I usually do and leave it like this.
Attach the Binding to the Quilt Back
Before you can attach the binding to your quilt, you need to trim off the excess batting and backing.
|It looks more like a finished quilt already!|
If you want to add triangles in the corners for hanging your quilt, now is the time to do that. I recommend this tutorial. As you can see, I also add my label before adding the binding.
It's a good idea to check placement before you actually stitch the binding on, to be sure none of your seams are going to end up on a corner. That makes the corner bulky and not at all neat (ask me how I know...). To avoid that, lay your quilt down on the table or floor, with the back facing up. Starting part way along one side, lay out the binding, keeping it right at the edge of the quilt and adding a little extra at the corners to simulate the miter. If a seam ends up on a corner, move your starting point farther up or down to move the seam away from the corner. I'll often stick a pin in to hold the starting edge of the binding in place as I move to my machine.
Attach your walking foot to your sewing machine. I find using the walking foot makes attaching the binding much easier. I also use a machine quilting glove on my left hand as I sew. That gives me a lot more control over the bulk of the quilt as I'm trying to move it, especially if it's a larger quilt.
Don't start sewing right at the beginning of the binding strip. You'll want to leave a tail that is at least 6" long and I usually go more like 8". I really don't like struggling with those ends when I'm trying to join them together! In this picture, the scissors are pointing at the pin where I would start sewing. With the raw edge of the binding matching the raw edge of the quilt, start stitching the binding. Backstitch at the beginning and use a 1/4" seam.
Stop sewing 1/4" away from the corner and backstitch. Take the quilt out of the machine.
Join the Ends
Stop a good 10" or more from where you started stitching. Don't be tempted to make the gap smaller as the smaller the gap, the harder it is to manipulate the ends to join them together and the higher your frustration level will climb. Again, ask me how I know :)
Trim the corners. I find this helps to make the corners of the binding look neater. Just be careful not to cut your stitching lines.
Stitching the Binding to the Front
Flip the quilt over and pull the binding up so that it faces the front of the quilt.
I really struggle with getting a good picture of something under the needle in my machine, so this next picture isn't great, but hopefully you can see well enough.
I shift my needle slightly to the left for this part and try to stitch really close to the folded edge of the binding. If you look past the needle in the picture, you can just barely see that there are gaps in the metal of my walking foot. I use the inside edge of the gap on the left as my guide.
I recommend stitching slowly, taking out the pins just as they reach the front of the walking foot.
Connecting Threads thread in "Honey' (affiliate link) rather than the blue as that would have blended in better with the quilting.
I'll be linking up with NTT, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, Finish it Up Friday and Let's Bee Social.
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