Machine Binding Tutorial

The other day my sister asked me how I put a binding on my quilt. As I tried to describe my technique in words, I realized that pictures might do a better job. So I tried to take pictures each step of the way on my latest quilt binding. I hope it is helpful.

I only do machine bindings now. When I had carpal tunnel syndrome, the repeated pinching and grasping that was necessary to bind a quilt would make my hands go numb. Now that I’ve had the surgery and my hands are better, I still find that I like this way of binding better than doing it by hand.

I always start with 2 inch strips of binding. I do not cut my binding on the bias, and I do not sew it together on the bias. I sew the 2 inch strips together and then fold the entire length in half and iron it well. I iron the seams open.

Sew the binding with the raw edges together to the BACK of the quilt. I use my 1/4 inch foot for this. With 2 inch strips, I do not want more than a 1/4 inch seam. Start attaching the binding near the middle of the side, and leave at least a 6 inch tail.

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When you reach the corner, stop 1/4 inch from the edge and take a couple of back stitches to secure. Cut the thread

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Turn the corner, and fold the binding straight up away from the quilt so that there is a 90 degree angle.

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Fold the binding back down so that it is straight and even with the top of the quilt. (That 90 degree fold is still inside of that.)

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Starting 1/4 inch from both edges, secure your thread and start stitching. (I put a dot here to show you where to start.) Its important to NOT start CLOSER than 1/4 inch.)

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Continue on and repeat these steps at each corner.

When you get to where you started, stop sewing at least 6 inches or more from the end. Cut thread.

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Overlap the two ends, keeping them straight along the edge of the quilt, with no gaps or extra tension, and cut them so that there is a 1/2 inch overlap.

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Sew them together, right sides together.

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This is always a little awkward. Here’s how it looks, with the quilt bunched up.

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Now I change to a regular sewing foot. I don’t really want the 1/4 inch edge, because when I pull the binding to the front and attach it, it will be just a little bit more than 1/4 inch.

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Pull the binding snuggly to the front of the quilt and start sewing just along the edge of the binding. I take this part nice and slow, just pulling a couple of inches at a time and sewing slowly so that I keep my stitches close to the edge of the binding.

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Here is what it looks like.

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Now, when you get to the corner on this side, it will seem rather bulky. There are quite a few layers of fabric and batting here.

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Carefully clip the corner of the QUILT (top, batting, and backing of quilt.) DO NOT clip the binding.

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Here is another view. I usually fold it back like this so I am certain that I am only clipping the quilt.

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Now continue on slowly toward the corner. Fold the binding as neatly as you can in this 90 degree angle. Sew not quite to the edge, and take a few back stitches to secure. Cut your thread.

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Fold the binding down at another 90 degree angle (approximately) and sew, again taking a few back stitches to secure.

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This is how the line of stitching from the front will look on the back side.

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And that is how I put a machine binding on all of my quilts. Let me know if you need more explanation, or if anything is unclear, and I will try to explain it differently.

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