Beginning Piecing: Add the binding

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Once the quilt has been quilted, the edges need to be bound. The binding can either frame the quilt or fade into it by using the same or similar fabric to the outside border of the quilt. It is your choice.

Before adding the binding, cut off any excess batting and backing and square up the quilt one final time. Your sides should be of equal length and your top and bottom should be of equal length.

Cutting your binding requires an upfront decision. Some people cut their binding at a width of 2-1/2". I cut mine at 2-1/4". I personally don't like the look of the larger width on the back of the quilt. I like to be close to the binding stitching, but I hand bind my quilts. If you plan to sew your binding, then you will need the extra width.

Prep your fabric as previously discussed and cut your strips to either 2-1/4" or 2-1/2". The number of strips depends on the size of your quilt. Measure the length and width of your quilt. Let's say it is 96" x 104". Add those two numbers together and multiple by two which equals 400". Add 20". Divide this number by the width of the fabric you are cutting. On average, 45" wide fabric has between 40" and 42" of usable fabric. Divide 420" by 42" which equals 10. I need 10 strips of binding for my quilt. Multiply 10 by the width of the binding strips. I will need 22.5" of fabric. I would buy 2/3 yard of my fabric and cut it into 10 2-1/4" strips.

There are great videos and tutorials for sewing the binding. And as with everything, there is more than one way to bind a quilt. Some use special binding tools, others do not. Some cut the strips on the bias, others on the straight of grain. Some join the strips with a straight seam, others with a diagonal seam. Some hide the ends by overlapping, others finish them continuously.

Do some research and experiment with what works for you. If possible, go to your local quilt shop for a lesson. The binding process is best seen in action. It is actually quite involved and takes some practice to get a nice finished binding.

I hope that some of these tips have helped you improve your piecing. I know that these things have helped me improve my skills and my final finished product.


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