Easy Machine Binding Quilts Tutorial by Sew Em Quilting
Updated: Jun 9
Machine Binding your Quilts made Easy
I have tried a few different ways of doing machine binding and even though none of them are the "wrong way" to do it. This is the way I have learned I like the best. I LOVE that from the front you can't even see the stitching Yet it has the durability that machine stitching gives you for long term use. I will show pictures all along the way so that it all makes sense. Whether this is your first time doing machine binding or you are just wanting to learn a new way to do a professional looking machine binding easy.
Here I am going to show you how to create a beautiful binding while still getting to use your machine to do the stitching instead of your hands if hand binding is just not your style or you need fast results.
Supplies I use:
Sewing machine (I own Bernina's for my sewing machines)
Cutting mat and Rotary Cutter with 6.5" x 24" Ruler
Elmer's Washable Glue
Iron and Ironing surface
How much binding is needed?
Here is how to calculate the yardage needed for binding.
Width + width + length + length + 10" = Total linear inches
(total linear inches) / 42 (or WOF) = Strips needed (always round up)
(strips needed) x 2.5 = Inches of fabric needed
*Example: You have a 67 x 72 quilt.
67 + 67 + 72 + 72 + 10 = 288
288 / 42 = 6.85 (7 strips)
7 x 2.5 = 17.5
So on this example quilt you would need a 1/2 yard of binding fabric.
Making the Binding
You will want to cut your binding fabric into 2.5 inch x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips.
You need to sew all the strips together to make one really long strip of fabric.
I like doing this with a 45 degree angle because it lays a lot flatter. To accomplish that, lay two strips RST (Right Sides Together) in an L shape, as pictured.
Sew from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.
You can now trim off the excess leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
PRO TIP: If you are new to doing this it is a good idea to open your strip and make sure it is going straight now before you trim it.
Repeat until you have all your strips in one long strip.
Now that you have all of your strips sewn together we need to press them WST (Wrong Sides Together). While you are doing that, when you get to a seam you will want to press those seams OPEN. Creating the least amount of bulk possible making it easier to work with later.
Press the whole strip folding in it half WST the entire length.
PRO TIP: If you are doing your binding prep before the quilt is ready then you can roll it up for safe keeping at this point.
Personally I do all my prep and binding at the same time normally so I don't really bother with rolling it up. :)
Attaching it to the Quilt
This is where the method I use gets a little different. PRO TIP: I exclusively use my walking foot every time I do binding. It helps so you don't get bunching with all the bulk of the layers.
You want to start out by leaving a tail of binding, for later. I like to leave about 10 inches on a quilt. If it is a smaller project you can leave less if needed.
Start stitching the binding down to the FRONT of your quilt using a 1/4" seam. Raw edges to the edge of your quilt.
When you get to the corners you will want to stop stitching about a 1/4" away from the edge. Keeping your needle down pivot the quilt so you can start stitching the next side. BUT WAIT. You want to backstitch off the edge of the quilt first.
Fold the binding up creating a 45 degree angle (as pictured). Keeping that angle. Fold the binding down again so it is straight on the edge again and resume stitching it down.
PRO TIP: You can use a pin or a stiletto to hold the fold in place until you can resume stitching.
Remember that tail we left at the beginning?! You want to leave one at the end also. This way you have room to connect the ends without it being a pain.
You will need to measure and overlap your binding ends THE WIDTH OF YOUR BINDING. This means if you are doing a different size then the 2.5" that I normally use then you will need to adjust your overlap accordingly.
A good way of being able to get it accurate every time is to trim a small piece from the end of your binding excess and use it as a measuring tool. See picture.
Measure so that you have an overlap that is the size of the width of your binding. I just use scissors and cut where the overlap marking is. Just cut straight across.
You will then lay the ends together in the same manner we did to get the 45 degree seams at the beginning. If you need to you can fold your quilt so you are not fighting the binding. This is why the longer tails really help.
Sew corner to corner and trim the excess off leaving the 1/4" seam allowance.
I normally just finger press this seam open because its just one seam. :)
It should fit the length you need pretty perfectly. Now it is all connected so just resume sewing it the rest of the way down to the front of the quilt using the same 1/4" seam allowance.
The Flip side
You will need your washable glue for this part. YES GLUE! :) Trust me. You will love this.
I find it easier, so I am not pulling and stretching the binding, to iron the binding away from the front of the quilt so it is more willing to work with when folding it to the back.
You will want to take your glue (I use Elmer's washable school glue) and put a small line dabs along the backing edge.
Make sure when you fold over your binding it is past the stitched line from attaching it to the front. (This is very important for later stitching it.)
Fold your binding to the back and heat set (press) the binding folded. This will dry the glue almost instantly and hold the binding in place.
When you get to the corners make sure you press it all the way to the end creating that angled end. Then fold the next side in creating a mitered corner look. Make sure the corners are glued down well.
PRO TIP: You will want your corners to fold from opposite sides front and back making it so the corner lays flatter!
If you ever put your quilts in a judged show they will look for this. :)
The Final Finishing Touch
To finish off your binding you want to SID (Stitch In the Ditch) on the front catching the binding edge on the backing securing it down. Go all the way around your quilt using the needle down to pivot on the corners.
PRO TIP: SLOW DOWN!! haha. This is not a race and precision is key when doing SID.
Last but not least, check the back of your quilt to make sure your stitching caught the binding on the back that you glued in place. This is why it is so important to overlap that binding edge over the first stitched line during the gluing process.
ADMIRE YOUR GREAT WORK!! You made it!
You will get better with practice! So don't give up if it doesn't look perfect. You have got this!
Leave me a comment below to let me know if this was helpful for you! Thank you for reading. :)