One of my favorite ways to finish my binding, when time is of the essence…. by machine. There are many ways to sew a binding on the edges of our quilts. I want my binding to look like it has been hand finished from the front. So I’m a fan of sewing the binding to the front of the quilt as usual. Instead of hand sewing it on the back, I stitch in the ditch from the front. Voila, done!
A tip in getting the best finish for my machine sewn binding is to use a double fold binding. I cut my binding strips 2 1/4″, sew the strips into a continuous binding and fold/press in half. This gives me a finished fold to turn to the back of the quilt. I find 2 1/4″ is better, for me, than 2 1/2″. I can sew anywhere from 1/4″ to 3/8″ seam and get a nice full binding. If finishing by machine, I keep it closer to 1/4″, then I have plenty to turn over to the back and I know my stitching will catch it. (If I sew to the back by hand, I prefer 3/8″ seam. I have plenty to cover my stitching and when hand sewing.) I want my binding to be close to even in width on the front and back. These measurements help to accomplish that. Plus, I mentioned I want a full binding. This is where the top, batting and backing fill up the space inside the binding when I turn the binding to the back. If there is any gap at the edge, it tends to wear faster and look wimpy. The thickness of your batting can also play a role in how full your binding feels. A thinner batting may require a wide seam as it doesn’t take up as much space.
#1 – I love a 2 1/4″ cut strip width for my double fold bindings!
I started with telling you I like to machine sew my binding to the back by stitching in the ditch from the front. This is what it looks like on the back. And you can barely see the stitching on the front! Blue thread to match the blue binding also key. Match your thread color to your binding.
For your mitered corners, I pin the miter before I get there when sewing. It holds it in place and I can slip the pin out as I near the corner. Below is a close up of my stitching at the miter on the backside of the quilt.
And finally, how do I keep the binding from tangling or getting wound around my chair leg? I put it in a bag and hang it on my chair arm. But, if my chair does not have an arm, then I let the bag sit on the floor or tape it to my table so it hangs open. This allows the binding to easily flow out of the bag up to the machine bed where I am sewing the binding to the quilt.
#2 – Put your prepared binding in a bag to keep it from ending up on the floor, around a chair leg or in a twisted mess.
By the way, I do not pin the binding ahead of sewing (expect to mark my mitered corner stopping point). I lay the binding on the quilt and stitch. No pulling, just smooth it in place and sew. Also when turning the binding to the back, no pins (except one pin at the mitered corner). I hate getting stuck with pins while I’m sewing…well actually, I don’t care to ever get stuck with pins!
I hope you’ll give it a try. I find it a better finish than sewing the binding to the back and turning it to the front and stitching along the fold.
P.S. I’ve got a major redo happening on my website. I’m thrilled with the new look I chose but if something is not linked correctly, please know I’m trying to stay on top of the work being done! Take a look over at Wendt Quilting!