A Machine Sewn Binding

September 19, 2010 § 37 Comments

Okay. Here you go. This is how I generally sew on binding completely with the sewing machine.  I think there may be a couple of things that I do differently from the general population.  Let me know what you think!  These Mug Rugs are addictive.  Seriously! I want to make a dozen more…  This one measures approximately 6 3/4″ square.

1. Trim & square up your quilt.

2. Cut your binding strip(s) and press in half.  I like to make a 3/8-inch binding and cut my strips 2 1/2 inches wide.  If you want to make your binding a different width, this is how I calculate what width strip to cut:

3/8″ width binding x 3 (seam allowance, fold over back, fold over front) = 1 1/8″ times 2 (for a double folded binding) = 2 1/4″ + 1/4″ (to accommodate the thickness of the batting) = 2 1/2-inch binding.

You may want to experiment with different sizes and measurements to see what works best you.

3. At the beginning of the strip, fold over at a 45-degree angle and press.

4. Using your ruler & rotary cutter, trim away the excess, leaving a 1/4 seam allowance from the fold line.

5. Using your walking foot on your sewing machine, place the binding along the edge on the BACK side of your quilt, making sure that the triangle created from the 45-degree fold is somewhere in the middle of that quilt side. Start sewing a little ways beyond the opening and 3/8-inch from the cut edge.

6. When you get to the first corner, stop approximately a scant 3/8-inch from the edge and back stitch or secure the stitching. Remove the quilt from under the presser foot and fold the binding up to create a 45-degree fold at the corner.

7. Fold the binding down over the top of the 45-degree fold, mimicking the corner exactly.  Place your needle a scant 3/8-inch from the top edge and directly on the edge of the fold beneath the top layer of the binding.  Sew a couple of stitches forward then backstitch or secure the stitching. Continue sewing along the edge of the quilt until you reach the next corner.

I think folding the binding exactly at a 45-degree angle and exactly along the edge is what contributes to a well made or poorly made mitered corner. It takes a little practice to get it just right.

8. When you have gone around all 4 corners and edges, you will find yourself back at the beginning where you started.  Trim the binding so that it is just a bit longer that the triangular opening. Then stuff it in the middle to hide away all the raw edges.  Continue sewing  the rest of the binding to the quilt until you’ve sewn over the first few stitches at the beginning. Cut your thread and remove the quilt from under the presser foot.

9. Now, turn your quilt over so that the top side is showing. Bring the binding over the edge enough so that the folded edge covers the stitching by an 1/8-inch.  Place under the presser foot and insert the needle approximately a scant 1/8″  from the folded edge to be sure that the top-stitching covers the stitching underneath.   I like to start at the same place that I tucked in the raw edges so that everything is secure from the beginning.  Continue sewing until you are near the first corner and stop with your needle down.

10.  Carefully fold the bulk at the corner to create that 45-degree mitered corner on the back side.

11. Gently pull the binding over the top and smooth it flat. Place a pin right along the edge to hold in place while you are pulling up the bottom edge up and over to meet at the corner.

12. Once the corner is pulled up, use the pin to secure all of the binding layers.  Here is where I stitch slowly, carefully hold the binding in place and often using the pin as a quilting awl to make sure that nothing slides and that I sew 1 stitch over the edge to secure the binding in place at the corner. Stop with your needle down.

13. Raise your presser foot and pivot around the corner, carefully holding the binding in place. Continue sewing along each edge of the quilt until you reach the beginning again.  Back stitch a couple of stitches to secure everything with the thread.

If everything comes out okay, there should be 1 stitch over the edge of the corner fold.

And, on the back side, most of the stitching should fall on the quilt along the edge of the binding.  As you can see, mine doesn’t always  come out perfectly either!  There were 2 or 3 spots where the stitching ran over the binding.  But, for the most part, it looks pretty good.

Now you!  Go sew some binding.  🙂

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