Knife Edge Binding

January 29, 2008 § 30 Comments

I first saw this binding on a customer’s quilt that was brought into the quilt shop where I work. You’ve seen it on my Little Acorns quilt. On that quilt, I wanted to see if it would be possible to do the binding with a mitered corner. It turned out okay. But it’s really meant to be sewn on in four separate pieces. (As shown below)

I started calling it the Invisible Binding because I had no idea what it was called. Then, someone left a comment calling it a Knife Edge Binding and that she had seen it demonstrated on a Fons & Porter television episode. Also, in the book Art Quilt Workbook it is called a No-Binding Binding. Although, the Art Quilt Workbook uses one layer of fabric and I double the fabric.

Whatever it is called… it’s a perfect finish for an art quilt. It lets the quilt be finished without calling attention to the edge where a normal binding would stand out. It also seems to lay flatter – which is an added plus for art quilts.

So, here we go. Without further ado, presenting the Knife Edge Binding.

1. Trim your quilt edges so that they are straight and the corners are square.

2. Cut 3″ strips of fabric that are at least 2-3″ longer than the edges of your quilt. My quilt measured a little more than 19 inches. So I cut my strips about 22-23 inches long.

3. Fold each strip in half lengthwise so that it is now 1 1/2-inches wide and press.

4. Sew the raw edge of the binding to the top of your quilt on the two opposite sides.

5. Press the binding to the outside edge of the quilt.

6. This is the most important step! Stitch closely, about 1/8-inch, from the seam created by sewing the binding to the quilt. In clothing construction this is called “under-stitching.” It is used on necklines, facings, under collars and anywhere you want the fabric to fold over smoothly and lay flat.

This is what helps the binding fold over to the back of the quilt and make a nice smooth edge on your quilt without the it showing on the front. Skip this step and you will never be able to fully hide the binding.

7. Now, once the binding is under-stitched, press it to the back of the quilt with lots of steam. Pin and sew to the back of the quilt. I use a slip stitch when sewing binding. But many people use the overhand stitch – which is the same stitch that is used in hand appliqué. I like the slip stitch because the thread is buried and not visible. In the hand appliqué, the thread is still slightly visible. Whatever you do… do what is comfortable for you.

8. Once the two sides are done, trim off the excess fabric on the ends and sew the remaining two binding strips to the top and bottom of the quilt.

9. Press, under-stitch and press to the back side of the quilt.

10. Turn in the edges to hide the raw edges of the binding. You may have to trim off some of the excess fabric to make it all fit and lay smoothly.

11. Hand sew the binding down from one corner to the other.

Voila! It is finished! And… I am loving these little quilts. It is using up some of my scraps, though not quite fast enough. (No new fabric was harmed in the making of this quilt.) And they are fairly quick to make.

Now… let me see your Little Quilts and Knife Edge Bindings.

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