Design Process Part 6


Binding a quilt is like framing a picture--it is the last layer on your beautiful project. This post will a tutorial about how to make and attach double-fold regular binding and double-fold bias binding. 

Figuring Binding Yardage

Most quilt instructions include yardage and cutting information for the binding. But if they don't or you're creating your own design you will want to know how much fabric to use to finish the edges of your quilt. 

To figure out how much binding is needed first know the total inches around the quilt. Add up the length of all 4 sides of the quilt and add 12" for seams and to have a little extra. Know how wide you'd like your binding to be (before it is folded). Modern binding for quilts is a 2-1/4'' wide strip. This is plenty to double-fold, stitch, fold over to secure to the quilt. Of course you can go wider or narrower if you prefer. My tutorial will be based on 2-1/4'' wide binding.

Once you know your total inches around the quilt plus the 12", divide that number by 42" (for regular double-fold binding). Round the number up to the nearest whole number. The answer will tell you how many 42'' long strips to cut at your determined strip width (2-1/4''). Multiply the number of strips by the strip width for how much yardage is needed to make the binding.

For double-fold bias binding, the number you got for the inches around the quilt plus 12" is the length you want your bias binding once all sewn together. Usually this can be accomplished with a 1/2 yard to 1 yard of fabric depending upon how large the quilt. 

Regular Double-Fold Binding

Regular double-fold binding is the easiest and most common method used in today's quilt patterns. Great for beginners and projects with straight edges.

1. To make the regular double-fold binding, place (2) strips right sides together at right angles. Sew with a diagonal seam. Continue adding strips int he same manner to make 1 long binding strip. Trim seams to 1/4"; press seams open.

2.Fold the strip lengthwise in half with wrong sides together; press.

Starting at the center of 1 edge of the quilt top, place the folded binding on the right side of the top with raw edges aligned. Leaving 12" of the binding strip free, begin stitching with a 1/4" seam allowance. Sew to the corner and backstitch 1/4" from the edge. Remove the quilt from the machine. Fold the strip up at a 45° angle and then back down over itself, lining up the raw edges to make a mitered corner. 

3. Resume stitching, beginning at the tip edge of the new side and continuing around the quilt to the next corner. In the same manner as step 2, sew to the corner and backstitch, remove the quilt from the machine, fold the strip, then continue around the quilt to within 12" of the starting point; backstitch. Remove the quilt from the machine. 

4. Lay the quilt top on a flat surface. Bring the loose ends of the binding together so the binding and the quilt lie flat. Fold the binding ends back onto itself so the folded edges touch but do not overlap; finger press to crease. Open the binding. Place the strips at right angles right sides together using the creases to align the strips as indicated int he diagram by white dashed lines. Pin the ends together as shown. Draw a diagonal line from the corner intersections. Sew on the line. Before trimming the seam allowance, refold the binding and check that it lies flat on the quilt top. Adjust the stitching if needed; check and trim seam allowance to 1/4" when satisfied. Pi the binding down and sew to the remaining edge of the quilt top. 


5. Trim the backing and the batting even with the quilt tip.

6. Turn the binding to the back of the quilt and blind stitch by hand or machine stitch to finish. 

Double-Fold Bias Binding

Bias binding is created when fabric is cut diagonally across the grain at a 45° angle. The stretchy quality of the fabric bias make it perfect to use for binding projects with curved edges. Double-fold bias binding is the most durable of bindings to use on a quilt.

1. Cut off selvages from the fabric. Cut the fabric into a square. For example if your yardage requires 1/2 yard of material for the binding, cut a 18" square to start.

2. Fold the square diagonally in half with edges matching. Press the fold to crease. Open up the fabric. Using the crease as the starting point, draw a straight line diagonally from corner to corner with a pencil and ruler. Working in one direction from the center marked line, draw lines 2-1/4" apart or desired strip width. Repeat on the other side of the center line. Cut strips apart on the drawn lines.

Refer to steps 1 through 6 in Regular Double-Fold Binding using the bias strips for binding. 

To make binding that consists of different prints/fabrics, simply use a variety of strips. Make sure they are all the same width (2-1/4" for example), just use 42" lengths or scrap lengths on hand or left-overs from binding other quilts.