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How to Sew Binding on a Quilt


If you're looking for instruction on how to sew binding on a quilt, it's likely you are nearly done with your quilting project. The binding is one of the finishing touches and is meant to hide the rough edges of the outside quilt blocks to give the quilt a more finished and uniform look.

Choosing Binding Strips

Before you can sew binding onto your quilt, you need to choose binding strips. These are pieces of fabric approximately 3" wide and approximately 3" longer than each of the four edges of your quilt. When choosing these strips, it's customary to try to match them to either the color of the quilt backing or one of the colors represented in your quilt blocks. However, some like to pick a completely different shade for contrast. If you decide to cut your binding strips yourself, make sure the edges are very straight as they will show when the project is completed.

Connecting the Binding Strips

Once you have your binding strips, you need to sew them together into one long strip before you attach them to the quilt. To do so, follow these instructions:

  1. Place two strips perpendicular to one another and diagonal cut the ends at a 45 degree angle so that they match along the right hand side 1/4" from the edge.
  2. Sew them together along this edge using a 1/4" stitch.
  3. Repeat to add additional strips.
  4. Lay the final strip out flat.
  5. Iron the entire length, including the seams.
  6. Fold the binding strip in half lengthwise and iron again.

How to Sew Binding on a Quilt

Before you sew on the binding, you need to place the quilt face up and cut along the top edge so that there is 1/4" of batting and backing exposed on each edge. This makes the quilt appear fuller when it's finished. Then, pick a spot in the middle of one of the edges where you would like to start. Place half under the quilt and half over top of it for this edge only. Pin in place.

  1. Let 6" of tail remain unsewn before you start attaching the binding strip to the quilt. Also, don't anchor the first stitch. This will help you finish clean later.
  2. Place the presser foot over top of the binding strip 1/4" in from the quilt's edge and begin to sew using assembly line stitch. Stop sewing when you get within 1/4" of the first corner, making sure the needle is down.
  3. Raise the presser foot, but not the needle and rotate the quilt 90 degrees.
  4. Pin the binding strip to this new side of the quilt.
  5. Fold the underside of the binding strip as needed to navigate around the corner. Most choose to make 45 degree folds for consistency.
  6. Lower the presser foot and make one or two back stitches.
  7. Continue sewing as before. When you reach the last 6" of the binding strip, cut the threads and pull the quilt off of the sewing machine. Match up the ends and pin them.
  8. Place this seam in the machine and sew it closed.
  9. Press this seam open so it lays flat. Hand sew the remaining gap closed.

Final Tips

This is not the only method of how to sew binding on a quilt, but it is a good one for beginners. There are a few things to remember while using this method:

  • Make sure the batting and backing "catches" on that first stitch so that it is not loose from the binding strip. Otherwise, it could get bunched up.
  • Remove all of the pins when you are finished stitching. Otherwise, your quilt could be quite painful to use.
  • Anchor your final stitches so that they don't come loose.
  • Don't forget to trim the thread when you're completely finished.
How to Sew Binding on a Quilt