Friday, October 31, 2008

Binding Tutorial -- Joining the Ends

The other day CrazyMomQuilts posted a great step-by-step tutorial on applying binding. The one thing her tutorial lacks is how to join the two ends with a bias join. Apparently I wasn't the only person who asked "Why don't you miter the last seam at an angle like the rest of the seams?" And her answer: Well, because I never learned how and I am afraid to attempt it. Someday, maybe I'll try it. So, AmandaJean, this one's for you!

Note: This is MUCH easier when done on an actual quilt and not a 6.5" square!

Here's my sample. Keep in mind, that on a real quilt, you won't start the binding this close to a corner. Leave yourself a tail at least 6" or longer. Backstitch when you start.

Work your way around the quilt. When you get close to the end, stop stitching about 6-8" away from the beginning. The first time you try this you might want to leave 10-12". The extra space is easier the first time.

Now, fold the ends back, onto themselves and finger press these folds. Be sure to leave about 1/8" gap or you will probably end up with a little bit of "extra" in the length.

Unfold the bindings and lay the beginning tail over the ending tail, at right angles to each other, with right sides together. I take a pin and stick it through the center point of the folds. You can see the red head of the pin. Now, here's where you have to use your imagination. In a "real" quilt, with a bigger gap left between the two ends, these two pieces will lie flat when you pin them together. (That's why you leave that gap between the beginning and the end.) Stitch along the yellow line from corner to corner. This will be much easier to see on a larger quilt. I don't mark this line but just eyeball it and sew.

Here's what it looks like after it's sewn. Fold it back on the pressed line just to double check that you've sewn it correctly. If you have, then go ahead and trim off the extra ends. (We won't discuss the time I didn't do this double check....) I usually finger press the seam open, then fold the binding back in half.

Now, even the binding up with the edge of your quilt top and stitch.

See, a nice bias join. When you are all done, and your binding is blind stitched down to the back, you won't be able to figure out which of your bias seams on your binding was your final join.

A few additional notes on how I do my bindings. I cute my binding strips 2.25" wide on the cross grain of the fabric. I sew them together on the bias. I stitch my binding down at 3/8" from the edge of the quilt. This allows for the width of the batting and leaves me just enough to blind stitch down, using my stitching line as a guide. This gives me equal amount of binding on the front and the back. I also do not trim away the excess batting and backing until after the binding is attached. This way, I am sure that the entire binding will be "filled" with batting.

For years I stressed over bindings. I used to use one method that stuffs the end piece inside the beginning. It worked, but it left a bulky spot that was obvious, at least to me. Once I learned the "tricks" involved in this method, it quickly became the only way to join bindings.

1 comment:

Edna said...

I'll have to try this method. One thing I am not sure is where do the finger-pressed folds line up? The rest I can figure out.