There are many ways to bind a quilt, and every quilter develops a preference.
Your choice may depend on the type of quilt you are making: a quilt that will be used for warmth or on a bed (and that will be washed) will need a sturdy quilt binding, whereas you can get away with whipstitching the binding on a decorative wall quilt.
Aesthetics also play a role on how to bind a quilt. Do you want a squared-off quilt binding with mitered corners or rounded corners? A “pillowcase” edge with topstitching, a hand-sewn finish with invisible stitches, or a machine-stitched binding with matching or contrasting thread? Or maybe you want the clean, contemporary edge of a faced binding—a good choice for unusually shaped wall quilts.
Unless you are entering a quilt show where there are strict rules for binding styles and techniques, the choice is really up to you.
One of the most popular, traditional methods is the double-layer (one-fold) quilt binding.
Directions for double-layer quilt binding
Prepare the strips
1. Cut strips of your binding fabric straight across on the crosswise grain, selvage to selvage, or on the bias, as you prefer.
2. Lay two strips right sides together, at right angles. The area where the strips overlap forms a square. Sew diagonally across the square as shown. Trim the excess fabric ¼” away from the seamline and press the seam allowances open. Repeat to join all the strips, forming one long fabric band.
Fold the binding
3. Fold the strip of fabric you have prepared for the binding in half lengthwise with wrong sides together; press.
4. Open the binding and press ½” to the wrong side at one short end. Refold the binding at the center crease and proceed. Starting with the folded-under end of the binding, place it near the center of the first edge of the project to be bound, matching the raw edges, and hold in place with pins or binding clips.
Sewing the binding
5. Begin sewing at the appropriate distance from the raw edge, leaving several inches of the binding fabric free at the beginning.
6. Stop sewing ¼” before reaching the corner, backstitch, and cut the threads. Rotate the project 90 degrees to position it for sewing the next side.
7. Fold the binding fabric up, away from the project, at a 45-degree angle (1), then fold it back down along the project raw edge (2). This forms a miter at the corner. Stitch the second side, beginning at the project raw edge (2) and ending ¼” from the next corner, as before. Continue as established until you have completed the last corner.
8. Continue stitching until you are a few inches from the beginning edge of the binding fabric. Overlap the pressed beginning edge of the binding by ½” (or overlap more as necessary for security) and trim the working edge to fit.
9. Finish sewing the binding, opening the center fold and tucking the raw edge inside the pressed end of the binding strip.
10. Fold it over the project raw edges to the back, enclosing the raw edges. The folded edge of the binding strip should just cover the stitches visible on the project back.
11. Slipstitch or blindstitch the binding in place, tucking in the corners to complete the miters as you go (3).
Note: Some quilters prefer to stitch the binding to the back of the quilt and fold to the front, where the complete the binding with hand stitching.
Now you have a tried-and-true method for binding a quilt. Be sure to check out all the tools and videos we have to make binding even easier.