The Basics of Binding

The Basics of Binding

Posted by Robyn Thomas on 12th Jun 2024

You've finished your quilt top. You've quilted it, or had it quilted. Now, to finally complete your masterpiece, it is time to bind it. Here are some easy tips and tricks to get you across that finish line.

Binding a quilt is the final step to finishing a quilt by framing up the raw edges. The Quilting Dictionary says "Binding frames the edges of a quilt. It usually consists of a strip of fabric, usually double folded, that is wrapped and sewn around the raw edges of quilt. Binding is usually attached to the quilt by machine and then the folded edge is sewn into place by machine or hand stitching."


Above is an example of hand-stitched binding from a quilt made by my great-grandmother.

Over time, machine binding seems to have gained a popularity over hand-stitched binding, for obvious reasons. As the skill has been perfected, it is clear that machine binding is more efficient. However, a combination of machine and hand stitching is also a way to go.

As with so many sewing skills, there are many ways to bind your quilt. Be sure to review your options and proceed with what feels comfortable for you. 

Make sure to watch our Cotton Cuts weekly live show from June 6. Kim provides you with a great explanation of tips and tricks for your binding. View Here: Binding Tips and Tricks. As Kim will tell you in the video, the best way to learn about binding is by a visual. So be sure to seek out videos, tutorials and instructors for a complete education.

Basic Binding Steps:

  1. Select your binding fabric. Determine how much binding you will need by using the formula of adding up the perimeter (L+L+W+W) and add an additional 8 to 10 inches for overlap. 
  2. Cut your binding in 2.5 inch strips.
  3. Sew your strips together, creating one long strip that will all the way around the quilt. Sewing your strips together by the diagonal method will keep your strips from creating too much bulk as you sew everything together.
  4. Iron your entire length of binding in half. Fold or roll your ironed binding for easy care.
  5. Choose your preferred method of sewing from back to front or front to back. 
  6. Start in the middle of your quilt (not a corner). Leaving a few inches loose, sew the raw edge of your binding 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around. For sewing corners, please review a visual tutorial as this can be tricky and hard to explain without a visual.
  7. As you get back to where you started, sew your two raw edges together to finish your binding. As Kim stated, there are so many ways to sew those two loose edges together. Play with a few ideas until you find the method that works best for you and your particular project.
  8. Turn your binding over to the other side and secure with clips. (You may want to consider ironing as well.) Again, sew all the way around your quilt to secure the other half of your binding.

And, your project is complete.

Just a few additional tidbits to think about:

  1. Make sure you consider your thread choice when attaching your binding. Do you want that stitching to pop or to blend?
  2. Review mitered corners and attaching the edges of your binding. Make sure you are familiar with the techniques and even practice. There are many ways to go. Find what works best for your projects and your comfort level.
  3. Elmer's Glue to tack down your binding? It might be worth checking out.
  4. Consider downloading the Robert Kaufman Quilting Calculator, The Quilter's Little Helper. It can assist you in calculating how much binding you will need, or backing, and so many other quilters' needs. Just in case math isn't your thing.

How exciting is it to put the binding on your project and finally declare it finished? 

What a great accomplishment!

Here are several links to help you with both detailed, step by step instructions and lots of visuals to walk you through this final step. 

Cotton Cuts Ambassador Sew Becca has a FANTASTIC tutorial on her YouTube channel that will walk you through the entire process. This is one to definitely check out. Sew Becca Binding Tutorial

Homemade Emily Jane, one of our favorite Cotton Cuts Featured Designers, has a great 2-part tutorial on her website. This link will send you to part 1 to get you started: Homemade Emily Jane Binding

I also found this tutorial to be helpful as I put the binding on my Cotton Cuts Holiday Table Runner. Heirloom Creations has a simple, short tutorial that I found to be incredibly helpful. How to Bind a Quilt -- 6 Simple Steps.