Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Binding-how to make mitered corners

I have a friend who is just learning to quilt. She was asking how to add a binding, so I thought I'd write a short tutorial that she (and anyone else who wants to) can read. There are lots of pictures, and if you want to see them larger, just click on them.
Lay the strips together like this.

Measure the perimeter of your quilt. Cut enough strips to go all the way around the quilt with at least 20 inches extra. Cut strips across the width of your binding fabric. I cut between 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches widths. Lay the strips, right sides together, perpendicular as seen in the picture above.Sew the strips together on the bias to make one long strip.

The edge of the ruler shows where you will sew.
The selvedges would be the ends of the pieces you see above. I press the seams open so there is less bulk, but you can press to one side. Do this with each strip you previously cut until you have one long strip Press the long piece of biding in half, wrong sides together.

Start sewing the binding on the front side of the quilt. Start in the middle of one side and leave a tail about 6-10 inches long.
Note where the pin is. That is where I stopped before I came to the corner.
When you come to a corner, stop sewing 1/4 inch away from the end.
Fold the binding back so you have a 45 degree angle.
The folded edge on the right leaves just a touch of the fabric underneath showing.
Fold it back along the edge of the quilt. Make sure you can see just a tiny bit of the quilt where the fold is.
Begin sewing the binding down at the very edge. Sew the rest of the binding down, making sure to miter each corner as described above. When  you reach the side you started on, stop sewing down about 10-12 inches from where you began.
It's hard to see, but there is a gap between the two ends of the binding.
You left a tail at the beginning of your binding, cut it off at a 45 degree angle so that it is about in the middle of the gap. Notice that the fabric is opened up. Don't cut it while it's folded. (You wonder why I include that warning? I have done it wrong!)
It's difficult to see but I've put a pin where the first cut was made. Lay the second piece of binding underneath the first and make a small mark on the long piece where the cut was just made.
Add 1/2 inch for a seam allowance (the mark you see above was the exact length of the previously cut binding piece.) You have to add 1/2 inch, in this picture that means add 1/2 inch to the left of the mark. This piece of the binding is on the right side of the gap that was left, the previously cut piece was on the left side, so to add seam allowance add it to the left. Made sure to unfold the fabrics so you cut through only one thickness.
Pin the two ends, right sides together. Make sure you have a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You'll have to bunch up the quilt a bit to be able to pin and sew these two pieces together. Be sure you don't twist either of them.
Trim the dog ears. Press the seam. I press it open because it is less bulky.
I usually just finger press it open but you can use an iron.
Here is the binding piece folded in half again. I put a pin where the seam is, so you could see it. The gap is now ready to have the rest of the binding attached to the quilt front.
I often press the binding from the front side away from the quilt so I can turn it to the back more easily

I sometimes use a foot that allows me to stitch in the ditch. It keeps the sewing very straight on the front. I don't mind that that thread shows. I don't sew my bindings down by hand for a couple of reasons. I don't like hand sewing. It takes too long. I expect these quilts will be hard used. I expect they'll be thrown in the washing machine and dryer and this is a much stronger attachment method.

Here is what the back looks like. It's not perfect, but it's perfect enough for me.

I hope that was helpful.

1 comment:

Allie said...

I never thought of ironing the binding to make it easier to turn to the back - I'll have to do that!


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