Monday, April 16, 2018

Sew Much Fun Blog Hop - Binding Techniques

Today is  the day that binding techniques are addressed on the "Sew Much Fun Blog Hop" hosted by Jen Frost of Faith & Fabric.  

The binding process/step seems to be loved or despised by quilters... I am a lover of binding!  Yep, Quilt Nerd right here... When you reach the point of binding it means that the quilt is nearly complete.  Hand-stitching the final step allows me a smidge more time to enjoy the quilt before it heads out the door.

Hopefully, if you are not a fan of binding, you will find a tip or two here to change your mind. I will be sharing some techniques that I have learned over the years that has helped to make the binding process enjoyable... as will several other bloggers- you can find the list with the links at the bottom of the post.

Tip #1 - Many of the directions for binding instruct you to make the strips for the binding 2-1/4" inches - this makes a double fold binding (meaning that there are two layers of fabric that create the binding)... 

This worked for me okay. I mean, I didn't know of any other way, but I tried a 2-1/2" strip (I actually mis-measured and cut the incorrect width) and enjoyed the finishing step of the quilt much more.  I didn't have to pull the binding around to the opposite side as tight. I continue to cut all of my binding strips at 2-1/2 inches.

When I started quilting I would use what I called a square edge binding technique.  It is pretty much as described... It has a square edge and was four separate pieces of binding, with the finished edges ends folded in.  It wasn't a really nice finished look...  

It was okay for my "used every day" utilitarian quilts, but if I was making a gift or wanted it to have a better finished look I would stitch the ends shut...

And then I came across a youtube video from Missouri Star Quilts where Jenny showed an easy mitered corner binding with continuous binding strips.  I was sooooo excited about it and I shared a blog post about it even!  

Tip #2 - watch the video in the link above!

When it comes to finishing the binding there are many arguments of Hand stitching vs. Machine stitching... Here is my logic - 

Do I hand stitch the binding??? It depends - how much time do I have?  Is it a commissioned quilt? Or is it a gift?  Do I anticipate that it will be heavily used and laundered?  Am I looking for an excuse to sit and "watch" tv?

If the quilt is a wedding gift, I will {{almost}} always hand stitch the binding.  This means that I will sew the binding to the front of the quilt and fold the binding over to the back for hand sewing (while catching up on recorded episodes of Chopped). Front to back

If it is a baby quilt that I believe will be laundered fairly frequently, I will sew the binding to the back and machine stitch the binding down on the front.  Back to Front

Is it a average quilt that will be sold at a market or show?  I will again machine sew the binding onto the back of the quilt and flip it over for machine stitching of the binding - time is money.  Back to Front

A flange-edge finish is a nice touch that allows me to finish quickly and offer an extra pop of color or interest to the quilt border.  Back to Front

This one was made by cutting the flange piece to 1 inch, pressing it in half and sewing it to the front of the quilt with a scant 1/4".  The next step is to sew the binding onto the back of the quilt and turn to the front for machine finishing.

I recently tried a two color binding and was very pleased with the finished look...  It allows for the quick Back to Front AND a pop of color... 
Tip #3 - Here are some step by steps to help you out.  

Once you determine which two colors you are using for your binding and you decide which color is the "binding" and which is the "flange"... cut the binding color strip 1-1/2" wide (the black) and cut the flange color strip to 1-3/4" (the gold).  Sew strips together...

Press in half...

Once the binding is ready to be sewn on the quilt, do the Back to Front technique (with the flange color facing you).

Turn the binding to the front and machine stitch the binding along the narrow color of the binding.

Ta-da!  You have done it!

The final technique I want to share is not one that I have actually tried, but have full intention of using very soon... It is the big-stitch binding.  I learned of this technique last month during the Instagram Quilt Fest when "binding" was the word of the day.  

It is just as its name suggests... big stitches using pearl cotton thread.  I think this will be super cute on a baby quilt!  Maybe the "baby's first year" quilt I need to do for our little grand-daughter.

I would do a Back to Front stitching so that the big stitches are decorative on the front of the finished quilt... and enjoy an episode or two of Call the Midwife.  

Are you a fan of the binding process?  
Do you prefer hand-stitching or machine stitching your bindings?
Do you have another tip or technique that is different than what I shared?

Leave a comment to let me know... I love hearing from my readers.

Happy Quilting!

Be sure to see what the other bloggers are doing with their bindings - 

Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels & Eats
Jen Shaffer at Patterns by Jen

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of Quilters Through The Generations


  1. Great tips Melva. I have never tried using two different colors together on the binding. I really like the way this looks.
    My preferred method is to sew the binding down on the back with the machine and do the front by hand. I always cut my binding at 2 1/2 inches because I, too, like the way it looks much better. I also make the mitered corners. It is just as easy to do and really looks great.
    Thank you for sharing today.

  2. I do love binding and I agree with when you do it and don't. I prefer the look of hand but I love that flange binding. I think it is the best of all worlds!

  3. I prefer to hand-stitch the binding to the back. I have improved my bindings - finishing the end 2 pieces together was usually difficult for me. But I pretty much can do it easily now.

    1. Thanks Danette, for stopping by Melva Loves Scraps. As with most quilting steps and techniques, it takes practice to become proficient and efficient. Blessings, Melva

  4. Thank you for the tips. Binding isn't so bad. I mostly sew it by machine. Have a great day! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  5. Great ideas for binding, I have almost always used the mitered corner technique. I look forward to your two color meathod!