Normally I bind my quilts (baby quilts, lap quilts, bed quilts) using double folded straight-of-grain binding cut between 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches wide, folded in half (wrong sides together) and sewn on the quilt. For more info on that process, go to my blog post: How to Bind a Quilt—The Secret to Perfect Corners. Double fold is great for projects that will take need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
But I’ve found that single fold binding is perfect for most of my smaller projects, like wall hangings, table toppers, etc. I think it has a better look…not as thick and bulky, but nice and crisp. Plus you save on fabric. Here’s how to do it.
Whether I’m making double fold or single fold binding, I always cut on the straight of grain (from selvedge to selvedge). The only exception to this rule are projects that have curved edges…something with rounded corners, scallops, or completely round. That’s the only time I bother to cut on the bias. For most of my art quilts, wall hangings, or runners (which all have straight edges) cutting 1-1/2 inch strips on the straight-of-grain is fine.
First, figure out how many strips to cut. Take the measurement of the parameter of your project by adding up the length of the sides, top, and bottom and cut the number of 1-1/2 inch wide strips you need to equal that number plus a few extra inches. It never hurts to have too much.
Sew the strips ends right sides together at a 90 degree angle and sew from one corner (where they meet) to the other corner (I’m pointing to it with my tweezers).
Trim the seams to about 1/4 inch and press each open.
Starting in the center of one side of the project and leaving a long tail (about 6 inches or more) start sewing one side of the binding to the right side of the project. When you’re 1/4 inch from the corner, stop with the needle down, pivot, and sew off the corner edge at a 45 degree angle.
Take it out from under the presser foot and turn to the next unsewn edge. Flip the binding up so it’s parallel to this next edge.
When I get junk mail, I save those laminated cards they often send. They’re perfect for this technique. Any thin plastic card or index card will work. This technique will help you get the feel for how to get perfect mitered corners on your binding. Just place the card across top raw edge of the quilt/binding (top) and bring the binding down across the top of the card and flush with the raw edge of the next edge to sew.
I put a pin just below the card to keep it in place and then slip the card out.
Then continue sewing from the edge to the next corner and repeat the process until you come to where you started. Stop sewing several inches from the beginning and take it to your cutting table.
You’ll have a “tail” on each end and several inches (about 8-10”) between where you started & stopped sewing in the middle of one side.
To join these two tail ends, trim the right side tail of your binding so it ends half way between the beginning & the end of your sewing.
Lay that trimmed binding piece over the end you just trimmed.
Place your left tail over the right & fold it back until it’s in line with the right edge of that extra piece of binding and cut it at that fold. Perfect! (The ends of the binding tails will overlap by the width of that extra binding, which in this case is 1-1/2 inches, but this trick works with any size binding and NO MATH or special tools needed! So I always do it. Yay.
To make it really nice, use your ruler & a fabric marker to draw a 45 degree line as a guide to sew on.
Then overlap the binding ends as shown above & sew right sides together on that drawn line.
Double-check to be sure it’s sewn the right way (ask me how I know), and then trim the seam to 1/4 inch and press open. Line up the raw edges and finish sewing the binding to the quilt.
Tada! All sewn. All that’s left it to fold it to the back & hand sew.
First iron the binding out from the right side, all the way around.
Turn the quilt over and from the back turn the raw edge of the binding in half so it meets the raw edge of the quilt (at the corners too)…
Then fold in again, bringing the folded edge over so it covers the stitching and pin. Stop at the corner, pinning as close as you can to a 1/4” from the edge.
To make a crisp mitered corner lay a pin or stiletto across the corner edge of the binding just to hold it in place (see photo) …
…while folding the next edge & pin. See how nicely the corner miters? Continue folding/pinning around the quilt.
Then sew the folded/pinned edge to the back by hand.
Don’t the corners look great? …From the back…
…as well as the front!
All Done! I’m in the process of creating a pdf pattern for my newest quilted wall hanging/table topper called “Double Star Barn”. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you in my Etsy Shop and it should be available in just a day or two, so be sure to check Mulberry Patch Quilts if you’re interested.
Would you like to learn how to add “triangle corners” to easily hang your quilt? Check our my blog How to use Corner Triangles to Hang a Quilted Wall Hanging.
I hope these tips and tricks were helpful for your next project. And that the photos helped the explanation.
Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING,