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Quilt Binding 101 - Beginner's Quilting Series


This post is part of the Beginner's Quilting Tutorial Series. We are going through an in depth series which will teach you everything you need to know to establish a solid quilting foundation. Click here to see all of the posts and learn more about the series. You have now reached one of the final steps to finishing a quilt. Quilt Binding! Binding is the step in which you cover the raw edges of a finished quilt sandwich with "binding" or "bias tape". Just like most of the other steps there are quite a few different ways to bind a quilt. So today I will introduce you to those different methods. My goal with this post will be to explain different binding options and give you resources to try them.

Quilt Binding 101 - Beginner's Quilting Series

Preparing your Binding

Calculating How Much Binding You Will Need

Before you make the binding and attach it you will need to know how much binding will be needed for your entire quilt. Most likely you will need to piece together multiple strips in order to get the correct length binding. To calculate the length of the binding you will need to measure the length and width of your quilt add them together, multiple by 2 and add 15" to that number. Ex. Quilt Size - 45" by 45" 45"+45"= 90" 90" x 2"= 180" 180" + 15" = 195" of Binding Before we consider how much fabric we will be needing in order to make that 195" of binding we will need to discuss two different types of bindings. This is a long discussed debate in the quilting world my advice is to learn about each option, and choose what works best for you.

Straight Grain Binding

Straight grain binding is made from fabric cut vertically, or lengthwise. If you look in the above picture you will see that is cutting on the grain vertically. Lets look at some of the Pros and Cons of using straight grain binding.
  • Very economical, little to no fabric will be wasted
  • Very easy and fast to put together
  • Doesn't hold up to wear and tear like bias
  • Cannot be used for curved corners
  • Suggested for use only on Wall Quilts or item not used often

Cross Grain Binding

Cross grain refers to binding which has been made from fabric cut horizontally, or widthwise. If you look in the above picture you will see that is cutting on the grain horizontally. Lets look at some of the Pros and Cons of using cross grain binding.
  • Very economical, little to no fabric will be wasted
  • Very easy and fast to put together
  • Doesn't hold up to wear and tear like bias
  • Cannot be used for curved corners
  • Suggested for use only on Wall Quilts or item not used often

Bias Cut Binding

To create bias grain binding you will need to cut along the bias of your fabric. If you look at the photo above you will see the bias is diagonal. Lets look at some of the Pros and Cons of using bias binding.
  • Can hold up to extreme wear and tear for a very long time
  • Usually looks nicer when using a print fabric if you want the print to match up at seams
  • Can be used for curved corners
  • Must be cut on the bias, so you will loose a lot of fabric
  • Could take a tad bit more time
  • Cannot use scraps, usually need yardage

Choosing a Width Binding

The width of your binding will vary depending on which method you will use to attach your binding, and what your preferred look is. I myself prefer the look of a thicker binding. So I usually use a 2.5" -3" cut binding. The width I am referring to is the cut width, which is the width of the strips you cut to create you binding.

How Much Fabric Is Needed

So once you calculate the length of binding you need, choose which method you are going to use, and choose the width of the binding we can then figure out how much fabric we will need. If you are using Grain Binding than take your original number and divide it by the useable WOF. Most quilting cotton is 44", so to give myself some room I use 40". Round up to the next whole number and that is the number of binding strips you need to cut. EX. 195"/40" = 4.875" - you will need 5 Strips If you are using the Bias Cut method than I strongly suggest checking out this tutorial on creating bias binding by Jay Bird Quilts here.

Sewing Your Binding On

Your Binding can be sewn on by hand or machine which ever you prefer below is a list of great tutorial resources labeled with the type of tutorial it is.

Hand Stitched

    • Heather Bailey - A Binding Tutorial Type of Binding: Bias or Grain, Double Folded Binding Method: Hand Stitched Joining Method: Diagonal Seams Preferred Cut Width: 2.25" - 3" wide

Machine Stitched

[caption id="attachment_4235" align="aligncenter" width="600"]quilt-binding-ad Updated: I updated this post to include my own personal binding tutorial, which can be used for hand or machine finishing.[/caption]

Alternative Methods

So I encourage you to read through some of these tutorials and try out a few different methods. A great way to practice binding methods is on place mats, and mug rugs. So maybe try a different binding method on each place mat. Next week we will wrap up our series with a Quilt Tag Tutorial and instructions for washing.
Alyssa

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Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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