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Binding by Machine

How to Attach Quilt Binding by Machine

Let's face it, who has the time to hand stitch binding on every single quilt they make? Not only is this time consuming, it's totally unnecessary when you consider how securely the quilt can be stitched by machine. The only time I ever, EVER stitch binding by hand is when the quilt might possibly be put into a show.

When binding, you want to first prepare your binding strips. I use 2 1/4" strips sewn together with a diagonal seam that's then folded in half and ironed flat. If I'm working on several quilts at once, I'll go on ahead and cut out the binding when I'm working on the borders (usually my binding colors match the last border color).

Binding Quilt MachineI use 2 1/4" binding because it gives the quilt edge a nice plump, rounded look. (Note: if you're binding a very densely quilted top, you might want to cut your binding at 2")

In quilt shows you can get points deducted from your binding if it is not plump enough and forms a crease. They judge this to be inferior because the quilt will wear badly when the fabric on the edges is creased.

Once the strips are cut, you need to sew them together. Check out the image to the right to see how to sew each piece together with a diagonal seam.

You can judge how many strips your quilt will need by cutting two strips and laying them out around the quilt. Always cut more binding than you need (you don't want to be pulling the quilt or the binding to fit).Binding Quilt Machine

Go to your iron and press each seam open, and then fold the binding in half (right side out) and iron flat. If I'm on a role with several quilts of the same binding color (most often black), I'll just sew all the binding together in one extremely long strip and bind all the quilts with it at once. It saves time as well as fabric to finish as many quilts as possible this way.

Once the binding is ready to go, lay the strip around the quilt and check to see that it will fit. You don't have to pin it or get all picky, just lay it around the quilt and eyeball it. Make sure that none of the seams hit a corner and that you have plenty of binding to work with.

Summary of this section:

  1. Cut several 2 1/4" strips - enough to fit around your quilt completely.

  2. Sew strips together using a diagonal seam illustrated above.

  3. Press seams open.

  4. Fold binding in half, right side out, and iron flat

  5. Lay binding around the quilt to check placement, making sure no seams hit a corner.

Now that you have your binding strips cut and pressed, you're ready to go! Now let's attach the binding and finish that quilt.

Watch the following video for instructions on sewing the binding to your quilt:


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Machine Quilt BindingSummary of this section:

  1. Attach a walking foot to your machine.

  2. Start stitching at your starting point - you're stitch the binding to the WRONG side of your quilt with a 1/4" seam.

  3. Stitch to the corner, but stop 1/4" away from the edge.

  4. Fold your corner according to the diagram on the right -->

  5. Second fold brings the binding end down along the new edge.

  6. Machine Quilt BindingStitch around the whole quilt and stop 8" to 10" from your starting point.

  7. Overlap binding ends and use pins to mark a place where the two overlap.

  8. Using the pins as a guide, lay the strips out according to this picture:

  9. Sew the last diagonal seam, check it to make sure it's correct, then clip the excess fabric, and finger press seam.

  10. Finish attaching the binding in the 10" gap. Reverse stitch to reinforce.

Your binding is attached to your quilt, but the raw edges are still showing. Now it's time to fold over the binding and stitch it closed on the front of the quilt. This step will encase all the loose ends inside the binding and finish your quilt completely.

Watch the following video for instructions on how to finish binding your quilt.


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Summary of this article:

  1. Fold the binding up to the front of the quilt at your starting point.Binding Quilt Machine

  2. Select a stitch to secure your binding. Make sure that the stitch is wide enough to catch your binding edge and hold it securely to the front of your quilt.

  3. When you get to a corner, you will find a small flap of fabric on the bottom of your quilt. Fold this flap forward, toward your walking foot, then smooth the binding down to create a 45 degree angle at the end.

  4. Stitch to the corner 1/4" away from both edges of the quilt and turn.Binding Quilt Machine

  5. Keep your needle in down position, but lift your presser foot. Using a seam ripper, sweep the binding over, making sure to keep that sharp 45 degree angle. In the picture on the right, the arrows show the direction of your stitching as you turn the corner.

  6. Smash it all down with your presserfoot and stitch the rest of your binding down securely.
  7. When you get to the end, reinforce with small, even stitches and clip close to the quilt to finish.