Now that you've created your binding tape for your quilt, it's time to sew your binding to the quilt. This is a two-step process: First, you sew the binding to the edges of the quilt, and second, you fold the binding over around the edges and sew it down.
So now you have a decision to make - attach the binding to the front or to the back of the quilt. How you plan to finish the binding, by hand or by machine, along with personal preference, will determine to which side you’ll attach your quilt. Let’s quickly look at both options -
Finishing the binding by hand sewing is often seen as the "right" way to finish a quilt. This is because it results in a cleaner look since the finishing stitches are nearly invisible on the back of the quilt.
Machine sewing the binding means the stitches are visible and don't look as "nice" or seamless as hand sewing, but it is much faster and, with a little practice, can be made to look very clean.
Usually, if you finish the binding by hand sewing, you will attach it to the front and fold it to the back. With machine binding, you can take your pick on which side to attach your binding. When binding a quilt by machine, I prefer to sew to the back and fold to the front.
Regardless of which side you decide to attach your binding to, the process for doing so is the same.
Sewing Binding to a Quilt
Pin and sew the binding to the quilt
Starting in the middle of one side of the quilt, align the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the quilt. Leave 8”-10” of extra binding loose, and pin down the binding.
Start sewing the binding to the quilt using a ¼” seam allowance. I recommend using a walking foot or dual feed foot and backstitch a couple of stitches to make sure the binding is firmly attached. Stop stitching ¼” from the corner, backstitch, and cut your thread.
Miter the corners
Fold the binding up at a 45-degree angle to create a neat mitered corner. Then, fold the binding back down over itself, aligning the raw edges with the next side of the quilt. Pin in place, if desired, and start sewing again from the edge of the quilt. You will repeat this for all four corners.
Join the binding ends
When you make it to the side you started on, stop about 8”-12” from where you started sewing. Take your quilt to the cutting table and lay it down flat.
Lay the loose ends flat on the quilt. Trim the binding so that it overlaps by the same width as your binding strips. So if you cut 2½” strips, your ends should overlap 2½”. The easiest way to do this is by cutting off the very end of your binding and using it as a guide.
Next, place the two ends right sides together, similarly to how you did when creating your binding. Make sure your binding isn’t twisted and lays flat. Sew a 45-degree angle seam, and trim off the excess. Press the seam open.
Finish sewing the binding
Go back to where you stopped and continue sewing so that all parts of the binding are attached to your quilt!
And that’s it! Your binding is now attached to your quilt, and you are very nearly done. The only thing left to do is to sew it down, which you can do either by hand sewing or by machine.
Quilt Binding Series
This was Part 2 of my quilt binding series. Click the links below for the full series :)
- Quilt Binding - Part 1: Making the quilt binding
- Quilt Binding - Part 2: Attaching the binding to the quilt
- Quilt Binding - Part 3: Finish the binding by machine
- Quilt Binding - Part 4: Finish the binding by hand ~ coming soon