Binding after quilting has been the practice for years. There may have been some variations depending on what is more convenient for others. Some bind first before quilting while others do binding after they finish quilting.
Binding is the last part of the quilting process. This has been the ideal. Binding lets you finish your quilt and secure its edges. Many continue this process until now. If you are a starter, better follow the proper sequence of the process. It will be beneficial to you since most seasoned quilters do binding at the end. They always consider binding as the final step.
Binding a quilt has two distinct definitions: it is a process and an object at the same time. Being a process, binding is the act of stitching or sewing of the binding tape around the quilt. Meanwhile binding as an object is a fabric used to wrap around the edges of the quilt. Some refer to it as borders, bias tape, or binding tape.
The binding process is fairly easy. Below are some reminders on how to make your quilt binding.
- Square up the fabric
Oftentimes, the fabric you buy from the store has misaligned edges. So, the first thing you need is to ‘square up’ or level the fabric.
Unfold or unroll the fabric, and press it flat. Make sure that you iron out all parts and edges of the fabric. Then you need to refold the fabric to create a centerfold. At this point, you must ensure that you have aligned all the selvage edges. You do this by standing up while holding the selvages together in the air. Let the fold of the fabric hang towards the floor. You must slide one selvage edge on the other until the fabric is flat and waves are gone.
- Cutting the binding strips
At this point your fabric has its perfect alignment. Get the iron and press the fabric once more. This is to ensure that you make a crease or mark on the new fold of your fabric. Then, you need to move the newly folded fabric and line up the folded edge on your cutting mat.
With your ruler aligned on the folded edge on your cutting mat, cut one side of the fabric to create a straight edge. This makes your fabric leveled and squared out.
Cut the first fabric strip. Open it to check for the alignment. It is necessary to ensure that your first cut is straight before cutting the rest of your binding strips.
- Joining the strips
You may cut all the selvage edges first. Although it’s not that necessary because you are going to join the strips on the diagonal.
Joining the strips on the diagonal is an easier approach for your binding material. It will distribute any seam bulkiness in your quilt as you do the binding. When you bind using a diagonal strip, you are likely to wrap the seam of the quilt edge. It will be easier for you and on your machine.
In case you want to connect the strips from end-to-end, make sure you square and remove the selvage of the ends. This method is fine, but seam bulkiness is likely to happen during attachment.
After you have prepared your binding strips, you are all set to bind your quilt.
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How do I prepare my quilt for binding?
All steps from cutting and piecing of the fabric until quilting are crucial for binding.
You need to ensure that everything is precise. From the seam allowance up to square sizing and quilt measurement, all must be accurate.
A lot of binding troubles occur because one of these steps is erroneous. If you are not able to straighten your quilt or the edges, then you will have a hard time binding it off. There are two ways to prepare your quilt for binding.
The marking and trimming methods are the common methods to prep up your quilt. Both make use of a square ruler or to straighten and square-up the edges of your quilt. First, you need to determine the part with the narrowest border. Then, align the ruler with the seam to ensure that the space is equal on every side.
- Marking Method
- Trimming Method
Use a square ruler and mark the quilt along the ruler’s edge. Do this all around the edges of your quilt. Make sure that you align the raw edges of the folded binding with the marked lines. Once you have stitched the backing and the binding, trim the excess material.
Possible troubles happen if you didn’t mark the batting and backing materials. This can happen if you skip marking because the process is quite confusing and tasking.
Cut the excess batting and backing on the edge of the ruler. You may use a rotary cutter and mat. Do this before you stitch the binding on the front. This will leave a clean, straight edge where you can sew the binding.
You can choose which of these two is more convenient to do. The point here is to never skip this prepping step of your binding.
How do you finish a quilt without binding?
Yes you can finish your quilt without binding. But before you get all excited, you must understand that this applies to some quilts only. The following are quilts that don’t need binding.
- Quilts for wall hanging and decorations
- Quilts as decorative pieces
These kinds of quilts are not prone to wear and tear. Also, these kinds of quilts are smaller than quilts used as bed covers.
These are the quilts that you use as accents to your sofa, coffee table, or a table runner to your dining. They will not have the typical wear and tear since they are mere decor.
Here is how to finish your quilt with no binding process. First, complete the quilt top layer as usual. Press it to ensure that all seam and wrinkles are flat. Cut the batting and backing materials at least 1-2 inches (2.54 cm. to 5.08 cm) bigger on each side than the top layer.
For instance, 10 inches by 12 inches (25.4 cm. by 30.48 cm.) quilt top, you need to cut a batting and backing materials at 12 inches by 14 inches (30.48 cm. by 35.56 cm.).
Put the batting over a flat surface that is not slippery. You may use a carpet or a firm ironing surface. You have to make sure that the surface is sturdy, flat, and bigger than the quilt you are working on.
After placing the batting on the flat surface, smooth it out to remove the creases and folds due to storage.
Once you have prepped up the batting, you need to get the backing material and iron it. Put it right side up over your batting. Then put your pressed quilt top layer facing down on the backing fabric. Make sure everything is in the center and aligned. This is your quilt sandwich.
Secure your quilt sandwich using safety pins. Put them around the edges of the quilt top layer. Make sure to leave an opening of around 5 to 7 inches (12.7 to 17.78 cm.). You will use this part to turn your quilt to its proper side.
Allot a 1/4 inch (0.64 cm.) seam allowance before you stitch around the edge of your quilt. Don’t forget the 5 to 7 inches (12.7 to 17.78 cm.) opening. Leave it unstitched.
If your machine has a walking foot, it will be a big help to keep all layers moving in unison. If you don’t have a walking foot, you can still sew the edges without trouble. Keep in mind though that you secured the edges with safety pins.
Once you finish stitching the edge, check your quilt. Make sure that all the layers of the quilt remain flat and aligned. When you are happy with the stitching and alignment of the layers, trim off the extra fabric.
Use a rotary cutter and a square ruler to guide you as you cut the excess fabric. When you cut corners, make sure to round them to remove the pointed edge. This will keep your quilt flat and bulkiness is less likely to happen.
After you finish sewing, turn your quilt inside out through the 5 to 7 inches (12.7 to 17.78 cm.) opening you left earlier. Poke the corners out of the quilt. Then, iron the quilt top to flatten everything.
Finally, close the opening using the ladder stitch. Give the quilt another pressing, and you’re done.
How wide should quilt binding strips be?
The binding process keeps the edges of your quilt intact. Stitching the binding around your quilt is one of the last steps in quiltmaking.
Your quilt binding can come from a fabric that you have used in the design. It may come from the leftover strips from your jelly rolls. Binding strips may also come from a single layer of fabric. Albeit, using two layers (double-fold binding) is more durable.
- Calculate The Binding Length
Get the measurement of your quilt along the top and on one side. Then, sum the two lengths and multiply it by two. Add 20 inches (50.8 cm.) or so to the total. This determines how much binding material you will need to cover the edges of the quilt. This applies if you intend to use continuous strips and to miter corners.
If you plan to make continuous crosswise grain binding, don’t join the strips on straight seams. This will create a binding seam allowance that travels from front to the back of the quilt in a straight line. This will bring about bulks in one spot only.
- Singlefold Binding Strips
This binding is a single layer of fabric that folds on the outer edge of a quilt. This is often best for miniatures or wall hangings. This binding is not sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear due to constant use and washing.
This binding is 2 times the binding width + 2 times the seam allowance. Adding a little extra is always a smart idea.
- Double Fold Binding
You make Double Fold Binding or the French binding by folding a long strip of fabric lengthwise. This creates two layers of fabric strips. The extra layer gives protection against damage. Most quilters use this method because it’s more durable and secured.
The Double Fold Binding Strip Width is 2 times the binding width + seam allowance X 2. Then, add a little extra on the figure you get to ensure you will have enough for your binding.
Here are some simple steps to make a good binding strip.
- Put two fabric strips right sides together. Make sure that they are perpendicular to each other. The ends of the strips will overlap. Then, secure it using a straight pin.
- Mark the top strip on the diagonal. You do this by lining the strips at the inward corner where the beginning and end of the two strips cross. Connect the strips on the marked line.
- Cut out the extra fabric but leave at least 1/4 inch (0.64 cm.) seam allowance on the right of the seam line. Then, iron out the seam allowance open.
- Trim the small triangular bump at the ends of the seam allowance.
- Sew more strips until you have the right binding length you need for your quilt.
- Iron out the strip, then fold it in half lengthwise. Iron this again.
Best Quilt Fabric Grain for Binding
- Lengthwise grains
- Crosswise grains
- Bias Strips
These binding strips have threads that run straight along their length. These are often run parallel to the edges of a quilt. When a thread becomes weak and breaks, it may split the binding. It means it can split the entire side of the quilt. The splitting happens as far as the broken thread travels.
This instance can happen when you wash your quilt often.
These quilt binding strips are suitable for most quilts. The crosswise grain isn’t always straight, so splitting the entire side of a quilt is less likely. If a thread breaks, it travels shorter than lengthwise grain. Crosswise grain binding strips are a bit stretchy to wind around big curves on a quilt’s edges.
The bias binding strips run at an angle. It means they move at an angle from front to back after you have stitched the binding. If it splits, it only affects a small area of the edge, giving you time to repair the damage.
It will be helpful if you can learn to make continuous bias binding strips out of a simple fabric tube. Bias binding is good for quilts with tight curves and deep angles because it’s quite stretchy.
Quilting can be overwhelming with all these technicalities. But, don’t worry, everything becomes easier as you get the hang of it. These measurements are important so you can make precise and beautiful quilts.
As much as you want to skip the binding process, you cannot do that. It’s an essential part of quilting. Yes, you may finish some quilts without binding but many quilts need proper binding. As you begin your quilting adventure, better start right so things will be easier as you level up.