I’ve been doing a fair amount of binding lately and thought I’d share a little trick I use to make binding much easier. It’s something I worked out a while ago and makes sure you always have lovely flat binding when you finish off. You can probably tell from the title of this post that the trick is all about where you start the binding!
Just a quick disclaimer, you probably won’t love this trick if you are really committed to joining your binding strips on the diagonal. I join my binding strips end to end using a 1/4″ seam and then press the seams open. I’ve never had any problems with that method and some of my quilts are getting on a bit now but if it’s not for you that’s OK. There are plenty of ways to bind and some great tutorials out there too.
So here we go…
1. Grab you finished quilt and lay in on a cutting board. Find a seam in the quilt that is somewhere in the middle of one side and then line that seam up really well with one of the inch marks on the cutting mat.
2. Pop your binding on the quilt top. The unfinished edge of the binding strip needs to be aligned with the edge of the quilt. Pin the binding in place exactly 1/2″ past the seam line you just lined up on that inch mark. That’s the trick! By taking the time to line up in step 1 and 2 you will have a precise price to cut the binding when you’re finished sewing it on (in line with that seam of the quilt). You’ll have a perfect 1/4″ seam and, most importantly, no lumps or bumps in your binding!
If you’re comfortable with binding you can head over to you machine and finish off. If not, the next few steps will show you how to sew your binding on and mitre the corners.
4. Take the quilt and binding out of your machine. You don’t need to snip any threads at this point, just manoeuvre it enough to flip the binding strip away from the quilt. It should have a nice 45 degree angle as shown here.
5. Fold the binding back down on top of itself and pin in place. You don’t technically need the pin but I find it keeps the corners nice and neat if I do. Start sewing, again with a 1/4 seam allowance, from the top corner of the quilt. Continue sewing around the quilt until you have all four corners done.
8. Here’s where lining up the quilt at the start really pays off. Grab a pair of scissors and slip them carefully into the middle of the binding. IMPORTANT: Make sure that you don’t end up with the bottom binding strip in the scissors, you only want to cut the top binding strip. Line the scissors up with the seam you initially lined up on your cutting mat and cut. You’ll be left with an overlap of exactly 1/2 and inch.
12. Hand or machine sew the back of your binding down and you’re all finished. Perfect flat binding every time and all it takes is making sure you start in the right place.