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Basic Binding Tutorial


This is a tutorial on how to do the most commonly used method of a double mitred binding. View also the mitred corner binding tutorial for another method.

Okay, first we need to cut our strips – what size to cut?

Work out what size you want your finished binding to be – the standard and most popular is 1/2” but I sometimes like to do a wide binding so its like an extra border to frame the quilt – whatever size you prefer the maths to calculate your cut strips is:

4 times the finished width plus 1/2”

So for a 1/2” finished binding you would cut strips 2 1/2” ( 4 x 1/2 + 1/2)


Lay all of your strips on top of each other and cut each end at a 45 degree angle – most of you would have a 45 degree line on your ruler – line that up along the edge of your strip and cut those little triangles off the ends.












Now place two strips right sides together – see how they sit at 90 degrees to each other with the cut edge even. Stitch a 1/4” seam.




When you open out the two strips they lay flat – magic! Join them all together to make one long strip.




Press the seams – I press them closed but some like to press these seams open to reduce bulk, then press the whole strip in half along the length wrong sides together.




Now to our quilt – now notice I have not yet trimmed back the backing fabric and batting to the edge of my quilt – this is important – I had trimmed then I would have nothing left to fill up the inside of my binding with and it would be thin and floppy – and a big no no if it is intended for exhibition – but even if not – it doesn’t make for a strong binding and the binding takes the most wear and tear on a quilt. So leave it all there for a bit longer.




Begin on one side of your quilt top and leave a tail of about 10 inches (25cm).




The raw edge of the binding should sit flush with the raw edge of your quilt top – make sure the backing fabric is laying out flat to the side underneath and not tucked under. Use a walking foot for this step – it passes the three layers through the machine much more evenly. We use a 1/4” seam allowance and begin with a backtack to secure. My foot has a small line on the front of the silver bits to mark my 1/4” line.




Stitch along until you are about 5” from the end of your first side. Mark a spot 1/4” inside the edge of your quilt top.




Stitch to this point and then backtack.



Lift the needle and presser foot.




Fold the binding strip to the right at a 45 degree angle – if you placed your ruler along the bottom edge of your quit top the binding should bit sitting straight on that edge also.




Then fold it back on itself with the fold exactly sitting on the edge of the side of the quilt top.




Turn the whole quilt around and begin stitching in the new direction – start off the quilt and plough right on down the new side using the 1/4” seam.




Repeat this for all four corners and stop when you reach about 20” from your start point.




Remove the quilt from the machine and lay the two ends on top of each other.

Mark where one end overlaps the other. Draw right along the diagonal edge of the top strip. Measure 1/2” longer than this point and trim off that end to the marked line – note: it should be on a 45 degree angle.




Turn the two ends right sides together with those diagonal edges together like when we joined all of our strips in the beginning. Pin and stitch. (yes it can be a bit fiddly, especially if you didn’t leave a long enough tail when you started).



Finger press the seam and fold closed the binding.

Lay down onto your quilt top and complete the stitching.




So, now we can trim out backing and batting. If you made a 1/2” finished binding we need to trim back to 1/2” from the stitching line. Lay your ruler along the edge of the quilt with the 1/2” line on your ruler on the stitch line. Use your rotary cutter to trim around all edges of the quilt.








We then take the binding over to the back of the quilt and I use normal pins to pin around the whole quilt (as for as many pins as you have).






I then stitch the binding down using a matching thread to the binding strip and a blind hem stitch removing the pins as  I go.




At each corner fold the binding so that a mitred corner forms and place a few stitches down the mitre on the front and the back.


If you look at the other binding tutorial I have done (click on the link on the right) you will see a method particularly good for wider bindings which sews the mitres for you as you go.

Just one final note: a lot of quilters like to cut their binding strips a little smaller at 2 1/4” so they have a nice tight binding – if you cut after you stitch I really don’t think it makes much difference as your binding should still be nice and full – but just thought I’d let you know it is quite commonly done and would be fine to do if you were short on fabric.

I hope this may have helped even just a bit to maybe even one person – I will put it over under the tutorial page also for future reference.

happy binding – now show me all those finished quilts!

hugs, Helen