How to Bind a Quilt

Following up to my previous post on Around the World Potholder (Pattern #1), this is how to bind that quilt. Binding is essentially finished your artwork – framing it to make it a completed picture. There are many, many ways to finish a quilt. Some are very artsy and others are just quick and efficient. Today, we will just dive into the traditional double fold binding method. Most quilts are finished this way and it is what I would recommend – unless you are doing something artsy. I go over why is this post: Ever struggle with how to bind a quilt?

From a design perspective, I do use the binding as the final framework for a quilt. So, it is best to pick a color that will serve this function well.

Making the Binding

You will need to begin by measuring your quilt. Take the average of 3 measurements for length and width of your quilt.

(Length 1 + Length 2 + Length 3) / 3 = Length
(Width 1 + Width 2 + Width 3) / 3 = Width

Then you will calculate the length of the binding you will need:

(Length x 2) + (Width x 2) + 12 = Binding Length

For smaller quilts like potholders, I have found that replacing the 12 with a 6 works well. Now, you will need to calculate the number of strips you will need:

Binding Length / Width of your Fabric = Number of Strips to Cut

If you are using batiks, the width of your fabric will be 42. For print fabric the width is 40.

Cut your strips with a 2.25 inch width.

Place the strips and to end and sew at a 45 degree angle like depicted in the image below. Repeat this step until all the strips are sewn together.

Trim down seams to have a quarter inch seam allowance.

Iron each of the seams to set and iron the seams to one side or another. Fold the whole strip in half lengthwise and iron.

Fold under one end of your binding by quarter inch and iron it.

Sewing the binding onto your quilt

Align raw edge of your binding to the raw edge of your quilt. Begin in the middle of one of the edge – allowing plenty of space to finish the 2 ends of the binding.

Sew the binding using a scant quarter inch seam allowance (just a hair shy of exactly quarter inch.) When you are a quarter inch away from the edge, fix your seam using a reverse stitch or a fix stitch.

To do the corners you will need to fold 90 degrees from your seam as depicted below.

Next, while maintaining that 45 degree angle fold over again to align the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt as depicted below. I like to pin to make sure I maintain the 2 folds.

Begin sewing again a quarter inch from the edge.

Repeat these steps until you have sewn around all the corners.

To finish the binding, align the bottom fold of the end where you began to sew to the edge of your quilt. Like below.

Tuck in the other end of the binding inside the fold of the beginning.

Gently tug on the bottom portion of the binding to ensure there are no “tucks” in it. You can use pins as needed to hold the fabric in place as you complete sewing along this last edge.

The final step is to fold over the edge of the binding to the back of the quilt and hand sew it down using a whip stitch. Every 6th stitch should be repeated in the same spot for durability.

Here are pictures of the back and the front of an over-sized potholder made using the Around the World Potholder (Pattern #1).

If there’s any questions please feel free to email me. 🙂 Binding a quilt for the first time is a little tricky, but once you have done it, it’s easy.

Happy Quilting!


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