Quilts for Sale

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Double Bias Binding Tutorial - Part Two

Part One of this tutorial ( posted January 25) illustrated making the binding itself. Outlined below is the method I use for applying the binding to the quilt.

Part Two:

1. Preventing ripples:

Using an even-feed or walking foot when sewing the binding to the quilt is very important. The foot feeds all layers of fabric by putting equal pressure on the top and the bottom, thus preventing slipping and puckering when stitching. It is an expensive but vital tool for ensuring good results. Note: Some machines now come with a walking foot built into the machine. Pfaff is one; there may be others.

Bernina walking foot, also called an evenfeed foot.

The foot attached to my Bernina 1530.

The box photo shows the foot more clearly. Note the guide on the right, which I don't use when applying binding.

2. Basting.

I first used this technique when working with a slippery fabric. It is the best method for preventing the border from pulling, rippling or stretching. Be sure to smooth your quilt carefully, pinning every few inches before stitching.

I basted the edge of the blue border prior to removing the original, frayed binding.

Baste all four sides of the quilt. Since I was replacing the binding on an older piece, I basted before trimming the original binding off. Make sure you stitch less than 1/4" from the raw edge of the quilt so that they will not show after the binding has been added.

3. Stitch binding to quilt:

Place binding on quilt, aligning edges. Secure binding with pins if desired. Since I am right handed, I place pins so that I can easily remove them (heads on the right side). Using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch binding, stopping 1/4" from the first corner.

Stitching binding to the quilt. Note: The 1/4" mark on this walking foot is NOT on its edge. Check the foot for your machine before stitching.

4. Mitering corners - step one:

Stitch to 6" from the corner of your quilt, stop and measure exactly 1/4" from the bottom edge. Make a light (but still visible) pencil mark.

A pencil mark (use chalk on dark fabrics) is drawn 1/4" from the bottom edge of the quilt. Stitch only to this line. See next photo.

Stitching stops exactly at the pencil line. Remove quilt from machine, trimming thread ends.

5. Mitering - step 2:

At the corner where you've just stopped stitching, fold binding back, placing raw edge of binding in line with the raw bottom edge of quilt. The corner fold of the binding will form a 45 degree angle. This is just like doing a "hospital corner" when making your bed.

6. Mitering- step 3:

Fold binding over on itself (left side) laying its raw edge along the edge of the quilt. This is the next section you will stitch. Using my fingers, I "feel" the 45 degree fold underneath the corner and run my thumbnail along it, making a slightly visible crease. I then measure 1/4" from the bottom and right side of the quilt. A pencil dot marks the intersection, which should fall exactly on the 45 degree fold line. Begin stitching at the pencil dot, not at the edge of the quilt. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Option: Mark the spot with a pin if desired.

7. Mitering - part four:
After corner has been sewn, the binding will have a perfect miter on the front when folded away from the quilt.

The corner on the back of the quilt should look like this at this point.

The binding will form a miter on the back of the quilt as well. This works because you do not stitch all the way to the end of the quilt, but stop 1/4" from the edge as discussed in step 4.

8. Ensuring a snug fitting binding:

Before bringing the binding to the back, it is very helpful to lightly press the binding away from the quilt along the stitched line. It makes for a smoother line where the binding begins and also ensures a binding without gaps or wrinkles. (This step is comparable to pressing the facing away from the garment {in clothing construction} prior to top stitching it.)

Pressing the stitched line.

The back of the quilt will now look like this.
You will see the basting stitches as well as the regular stitching line.

Bring the binding snugly to the back of the quilt. Pin. Sew binding to quilt,
using small hand stitches.

This binding is folded to the back much too loosely and will have a "baggy" look. When quilt show judges write "binding should be full" on a critique sheet, this is what they're talking about.

9. Joining the binding together, or "What do I do with the ends?"

When you've sewn the binding completely around the quilt, take the extra time to join the two ends together well. Instead of tucking one edge under the other, causing an unattractive bump, try this. My thanks to Georgia Bonesteel who shared this on her tv show many years ago.

Leave loose tails of binding (about 7") at the beginning and end so that you can manipulate the fabric in this step. Lay the quilt flat, smoothing out wrinkles. Open the binding and pin each end to the quilt until the strips meet. Fold the end of each strip back at a 45 degree angle, add seam allowance and trim. Double check to make sure the fit is good.

Unpin strips from quilt , place right sides together as shown below.
Stitch, using a 1/4" seam.

Iron (press) the stitched line to "set" the stitches.

Press seam open. Trim "bunny ears."

Once again, fold the bias binding. Pin edges to quilt and complete stitching the last few inches.
Click on the photo to see the seam line.

Last thoughts:

Do two things at once by adding a hanging sleeve when binding. Baste the top edge of the sleeve to the top of the quilt. It is machine stitched securely when the binding is added. Hand stitch the bottom of the sleeve to the quilt, making sure your stitches don't come through to the front.

Sign and date your quilt! I recently saw a gorgeous antique quilt which had been in the same family since 1855. How did I know? It was signed and dated by its maker.


MODERATOR: Dena Crain said...

Thanks, Ellen, for this great tutorial on a classic technique. It's about time somebody published these methods, and you have certainly done a beautiful job of it. Well done! I hope lots of people visit your blog and see this for themselves.

Dena Crain


corryna said...

Thank you so much. I really need to practice a good binding. This explanation will help.

MyNorth said...

Excellent tutorial. I never thought about using a walking foot to attach binding. Your description and photos are crystal clear so there will be no excuse not to get it right!
Thank you for this informative sewing lesson.