Binding quilting Becky  

Focus Friday- How To Bind A Quilt Tutorial Series

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There have been a few suggestions out there to learn how to bind a quilt.  Since I have started the Focus Fridays I thought it would fit in perfectly! This is the whole collection from that series~ enjoy!



Now, if there are any of you who have bound a quilt— I am betting there are — then you are aware that there are a few different methods to binding.  You might think that the traditional bind is the only one out there, but girls– I think there are more! I consider the pillowcase sewing of a quilt ‘binding’. Granted you aren’t sewing anything extra along the edge, but when you are done and flip it right sides out it has it’s own bind.  So for the month of March I will share with you a new way of binding each friday.

How To Bind A Quilt Tutorial Series

For the first binding focus friday we will stick with the origional.  That means…..taking an extra piece of fabric and sewing it along the outside edge of the quilt.  

For your binding you will need to cut a lot of strips that are 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 inch wide.  If you are binding a thicker quilt I recommend that you cut it the wider width so it can fold over all the bulk.   For a table on how many strips you need for your size of quilt click here.

Also–there are some out there that just love a bias binding. That is a binding that has been cut at an angle instead of from salvedge to salvedge. This is wonderful if you are binding a quilt that has curves or rounded corners. 

For a simple quilt that is straight, I don’t really care. I just cut from salvedge to salvedge.  There is also a theory that your binding will last longer if cut on the bias because- it makes the threads cross the edge and not run along the edge.  Now that sounds great, but am I going to be around in 100 years when my straight cut bindings start to shred? Why worry about that now?  Curves though- do the bias.

ok. so cut your strips and sew the ends together so you have one monster long snake with 2 tails that gets stepped on when you are trying to move it.  Iron it in half. Half meaning the width and not the length.  See below:

Take this snake and pin it to the edge of the quilt on the backside of the quilt.   When you start you want to leave a tail {unsewn} about 4-6 inches. You will use this tail to join the other end. You are sewing this to the backside so it will be folded over to the right side. 

I pinned just the beginning—after I got it going you should be able to keep it on track and along that edge. Sometimes I found that the top fabric might shift a little and cause a pucker. That will be inside the folded binding, so as long as it isn’t a huge one….just keep going.

Sew it along the outside edge all the way around.  You want to stop about 6″ or so before you meet the beginning, so you can join them.

Now you have sewn all the way around and you have 2 tails do deal with. The start and the finish. 

Take these 2 ends and lay them out flat and over lap them on top of each other.  You need to pick a spot that you will be cutting on one—this should not be too close to the sewn ends or you will have some trouble with sewing the ends together. Cut the underneath tail and then overlap the top tail and cut it 1/4 ” past it. This is sooo important. You have to give it that seam allowance or your binding will end up too short.

Open up the tails and lay right sides together. I lined them up straight. There is another way of sewing them perpendicular, but I prefer just to get it done. 🙂 Sometimes that crossing and then folding and marking and then stitching and cutting is just too much. hee hee

Turn it back out and lay it out onto the quilt edge. Should fit perfectly now.  Finish stitching it to the quilt edge.

I take the quilt to the ironing table and iron this…….fold the binding over the edge like you are ready to finish and iron it down flat. So I am ironing on the backside of the quilt and pulling that binding up and over the stitching and ironing it there. I find this helps keep sewn edge from rolling back and when you are ready to sew it on the other side you won’t fight it or the seam its coming from.

When you fold the binding you need to make sure it passes the stiching line.  That is where the backside will be folded and you don’t want to catch the binding on the backside.

When it is folded over you will need to secure it somehow.   Sometimes I use pins… I have heard of girls out there using—clip hair barets, paper binding clips, even 1/4″ wide wonder-under on a roll. {they iron it in that tiny space and it keeps it perfect and ready for stitching} 

So fold, secure–fold, secure.. keep going.

Now for finishing it up.

I will be showing you how to machine bind it down. I find this the quickest method-{you know me–quick and cheap}–you most definitly can hand sew this edge down. Skipping under the top layer of the quilt and then pocking up just to take a little bit of the binding again and down into the top layer and skip along to the next spot.  It does make it a more finished quilt edge, but if you are in a hurry….go for the machine.

Here is what the final stitching will look like:

You will notice on the backside you will just be past or right in the ditch of the binding. I recommend using a co-ordinating thread so it doesn’t stand out, because sometimes it will show.  Backside of quilt:

Continue stitching it all the way around and TA-DA You are finished!! Nice job girls.

Do any of you girls have some wonderful tips or hints to share? I’d love to hear them.

This isn’t a typical binding. It is more of a rollover.  But I believe it still leaves a nice edgeand it really allows you to skip the whole binding thing all together. Who doesn’t like that?

Shall we begin?

1) Cut your fabric.  Cut your accent fabric {that is the outside border/binding fabric LARGER than your center fabric}. 

Accent fabric cut to 40 inches square

Center fabric cut to 30 inches square

I’ll quickly tell you that the theory of this is-the back or accent fabric will get pulled to the front or center fabric.

If you cut the back 10 inches larger than the front, then it will come about 5 inches onto the front on EACH side!

Make your own adjustments on these cut measurements. My one piece wasn’t large enough to get a 40 inch cut, so i went with 36 inches.  Therefore, my accent only comes over around 3 inches on each side to the front. Get it?

2) Fold the accent and the center fabrics in half and mark with a pencil on the wrong side of the fabric the center. Repeat for all 4 sides of each piece.

3) Taking the accent and the center fabrics, match the marked centers and pin in place right sides together. Continue to pin from the center out to the edge.

***NOTICE that the edges DO NOT MATCH!!!!  This is not a mistake. I am not batty. {no comments there please } 

See how the accent is dangling in the corner? No worries thoughThis will become the miter corner. Nice huh?

4) After pinning from the center to the edges along all 4 sides it is time to sew!

5) Start in the center on one side and stitch to the edge. ***You will need to STOP SEWING 1/4 inch from the edge***

6) Start again 1/4 inch from the edge and sew along the next sideagain, stopping 1/4 inch from the edge. Repeat until you go around all 4 sides-LEAVE AN OPENING FOR TURNING-

7) Now you will need to deal with those floppy corners.  Fold that inside center fabric in. 

Fold the sides in Matching up the side seams.

9)  Take a ruler and line it up along the folded edge and the end of the sewing line- where you stopped stitching.  Draw a line with a pencil. You will stitch on this line. Pin in place to keep it all in order.  *if you line it up on the raw edge it WILL NOT WORK***

10)  Sew on pencil line.  Cut off corner 1/4 inch from stitched line.

11) Turn Right sides out using the opening you left earlier.

12)  Iron down the edges. This takes a bit of coaxing, but really the accent fabric will jump to the front!  Fiddle with those miter corners to get them just right and perfect.  When you get to the opening you left, fold inside the salvedge edge and pin in place.

13)  Take the blanket to the sewing maching and stitch on the ACCENT fabric just beyond that edge.  This will keep it all from shifting with use and will close that opening for turning. Isn’t that just slick girls?

Congrats you are finished!!! I know you noticed that there is no batting in here. You could fiddle with it and get one in there BEFORE you do the stitching along the edge. You could also do a quick little quilting ties to keep it in place.   But really, this pattern is great for a quick little wrap or throw.  Make it larger for a picnic blanket.

I’d love anyone to share binding secrets with us too-leave a comment!

If anyone is stuck on bindings out there- this is for you! This is really a pretty quick way of doing it and great for beginners. 

1)  Before quilting you need to make sure that your back is LARGER than your front!! This is the only way that this type of binding will work.  You should always have extra on the sides when quilting anyways, but just in case check.

2)  After quilting you need to trim those edges.   The TOP of the quilt and the batting needs to be trimmed to the edge of the top of the quilt. Scissors are the best here. You need to especially make sure that the back doesn’t sneak into that scissor line and get snipped. { i really hate it when that happens} You want to be cutting ONLY the TOP and the BATTING here. NOT THE BACK!!!

3)  Trim the back.  Now you can use a super long ruler with your rotary cutter and trim the back.  Take your ruler and measure 3/4 inch past the top.  BE consistant on this girls! It helps the front look nice I tell you.  Go around all 4 sides and trim, trim, trim.  3/4 inch. yup. that’s it.

4)  Now is the making the binding part.  Take that 3/4 inch extra back and fold it. Line the raw edge right up to the edge of the top and batting edge.

5)  Fold once more.  It will fold onto the top of the quilt and be 1/4 inch past the edge.

6)  Pin, hold, clip in place. Now, here girls is where I cheat. I have been doing the binding for too many years to mention { don’t judge me now} and so I can just whip it over to the machine and get that thing done in no time. No pinning or clipping for me. I know how to keep it in place and make it behave.  If you noticed though girls- this is Very similar to rolling the edge over on a blanket and making it a nice egde.

7)  Sew that edge down.  Take it to the sewing machine and sew right along that edge. You don’t want to be so close you are constantly jumping off and missing it, but not so far in it looks like a rookie was doing it.  {rookies become pros though, so don’t give up} could hand sew that down if you would like. After fold, fold and pin or clip in place sit and stitch it down. Make it all pretty like.  Me, I just stitch and be done. but, you know that already.

Corners:  Now corners can be tricky girls. This is the way I do them and I get a nice mittered corner on the top.

1) Stop sewing at least 1 ” before the end of the side you are stitching down. This will give you enough room to fold over the next side and make that corner good looking.

Fold that next side CORNER in a triangle.

Fold the edge till it meets the edge of the top and batting edge.  Just like above. Then fold it again so it overlaps the top 1/4 inch. 

Then continue sewing along that edge to finish the binding and then keeping your needle in the down position AND on top of the next side that you just folded nicely turn the corner to the next side.

Finish sewing and folding and mitering the binding until you have done all 4 sides. Isn’t that quick and wonderful?

Anyone have any questions or suggestions or hints that you would like to share? Does anyone oppose doing it this way?  {wanna fight after class?} Leave a comment and let us know it.

This is where the non-traditional Binding of Quilts comes in.  This last day is going to be filled with ways to bind a quilt, but really it is how to do something different so you don’t have to bind a quilt. hee hee  I am useing the word ‘binding’ very loosly here. Don’t get all huffy on me now. I know technically it isn’t a true bind, but get over it.  The quilt gets finished and the edge is cute. I am trying to show you that you don’t have to do the traditional binding to have a beautiful finished quilt..and to tell you the truth- sometimes these little edgeing are cuter than the ‘traditional’.  So get your outside the box glasses on and take a look at what else we can do to those edges. These tutorials are great.  Perfect patterns for beginners and advanced sewers. 

Last weeks Focus Friday, we did an extra large back that came to the front and made a cute little border/binded edge.  Today, we have the pillowcase binding,  and then ‘bindings’ that include additional cute stuff. aka- prairie points, ruffles, ric-rac, piping, ribbon, and whatever else your wonderful minds can think of. 


Edges of a quilt can be embellished with dimensional folded-fabric triangles, also know as “prairie points”! The folded triangles can then be nested or overlapped and spaced close together or widely spaced, whichever best fits a quilt’s dimensions.

Use the following guide to help figure out the size square you will need to cut for each prairie point. Determine an appropriate height of the prairie point triangle (how far you would like the points to extend out from the edge of a quilt). Multiply the height of the finished point by 2, then add 1/2″. For example, if you want your points to extend two inches beyond the edge of the quilt, multiply 2″ x 2″ + 1/2″ = 4 /12″. Cut the square for a two inch prairie point 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″.

Finishing The Quilt
Layer and baste quilt top for quilting method of your choice. When adding prairie points, quilt no closer than 1″ to quilt edges. Trim the batting and backing even with the quilt top. Fold back the backing and pin to secure. (Prairie points are sewn to quilt top and batting only.)

Prairie Points Assembly
Step 1. After using the above formula to determine the size Prairie Points you will be using, fold squares depending on the type of points you want to make. See Diagram I for “nested points” or Diagram II for “overlapped points.” After folding, press to complete prairie point.



Nested Prairie Points
Nested Prairie Points
Diagram I

Overlapped Prairie Points
Overlapped Prairie Points
Diagram II

Step 2. With right sides facing, position raw edge of each prairie point along quilt raw edge (see Diagram III). Working from the center to the corner , adjust overlap to position prairie points evenly; pin in place and stitch. The two corner Prairie Points should be adjacent to each other and not overlapped. Trim off batting and point of seam allowance on each corner. Turn seam allowance toward the back of the quilt (see Diagram IV). Prairie Points will turn out along the edge.



Diagram III
Diagram III
Diagram IV
Diagram IV

Step 3. Release the pinned backing. Fold under edges 1/4″ and finger press. Pin backing in place over the base of the Prairie Points, covering the seam line. Blindstitch in place (see Diagram V). If necessary, complete quilting out to the edge.

Diagram V

thanks to McCalls’ Quilting

another tutorial at All About

Now girls- you know me and my lazy sort of way of doing things. I love prairie points, but to tell you the truth.rolling under the backside and then hand stitching that whole edge down. That is NOT my cup of ‘hot cocoa’.  So let me tell you that if you are NOT going to quilt that quilt..and are just going to do either a tie or nothing at all {a small baby throw} then add the prairie points, sew all the parts together- top, batting, and back and then flip it right sides out.  If you are quilting it..well, then. This is the only option out there.  I love it though. I have done a few quilts- not many like this.

*Pillow Case*

 Not every quilt is destined to become an heirloom. Some quilts are thrown together quickly and lead short, hardworking livesas nap quilts at a preschool, for example, or as picnic quilts stored in the trunk of your car. The pillowcase binding method, sometimes also called “birthing” a quilt, is an easy way to bind this kind of everyday, working quilt.

 The pillowcase method treats your quilt as if it were a large pillowcase, leaving an opening on one side that’s big enough to turn the “pillowcase” inside out. Then the quilt is turned right side out and blind stitched or top-stitched to close the opening.

The pillowcase method can be a good way to assemble a quilt when you’re in a hurry or if you know the quilt is destined not to become an heirloom. It’s easiest to use on smaller quilts; for example the technique works well with 18″ x 18″ doll quilts.. Some quilters have had trouble turning larger quilts right side out.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Square up the quilt top.
  2. Layer the quilt top and backing fabric on your work surface with right sides facing each other, then lay the batting on top, as shown in the photograph below. (If you want to quilt the top before you assemble the quilt, lay the quilt top on top of the batting, right side up. Baste and quilt just those two layers. Once you’ve finished quilting the top, layer the quilted top and the backing fabric with right sides together.)
  3. Pin every few inches around the edge of the quilt.
  4. Sew all the way around the quilt with a ½” or ¾” seam allowance, leaving an opening on one side that is big enough to put your hand inside to turn the “pillowcase” right side out. If your quilt is large, allow a bigger opening of 10″-15″ to make it easier to push the bulk of the quilt through.
  5. Turn the pillowcase right side out and press.
  6. Blind stitch the opening closed by hand, or fold under the raw edges of the open area and top stitch around the whole quilt.
  7. Secure the quilt layers together. You can do this in several ways:
  • Baste and quilt the layers with hand or machine quilting. Be aware that dense quilting at this stage could cause the quilt to shrink and lose its squareness. Save your fancy quilting for quilts that you bind after you finish the quilting.
  • Tie the layers together with yarn.
  • Tack the layers together with buttons or decorative stitching. This is a good time to try out some of your sewing machine’s decorative stitches.

Thanks to Quilting Suite101




Once you get that pillowcase finish downIt’s time to add a bit of fun to it.  Ruffled edge. 

First you need to make your ruffle. she uses silky satin fabric. Don’t have to girls! Go ahead and use that cotton or whatever.

Then stick it into the quilt sandwich and finish it off.  Click here for a wonderful tutorial on adding that ruffle.

Craft Apple uses her Ruffler foot for her sewing machine. Perfect for the non-ruffler types.

Adding that ruffle can bring that simple pillowcase a bit of fancy to it.

thanks to Heartsuzanne


Sew Much Ado has the tutorial for adding ric rac along your edge.   Again. A great addition to that simple pillowcase blanket.



TaDa! Creations made the ribbon edge tutorial and it is sooo doable girls!  This is on a small, doll size quilt scale. But who makes the rules? I am sure that it would be just as cute in larger- kid sized scale.

Add a little bit of piping. PDF tutorial by Trish. The binding is a bit bigger, but it is really quite cute.

Needle Pointers has a great list of resources for the whole binding process too. Go check it out if you need some more reading.

Share your tips and tricks for binding and finishing your quilts!!! Leave a comment and let us know what they are.

1 Comment

  1. sherry

    I found your site very interesting and helpful. I saved it to check back in case I forget. Thanks

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