tutorial ~ making a fitted binding

MarveLes Art StudiosBlogs, Tutorial 4 Comments

hi everyone ~   

i’ve known for a while now, that there was a so-called, “easy” way to join the binding ends so they fit perfectly on the quilt, but also to stitch that seam diagonally. a diagonal seam reduces the bulk of butted binding strip ends.  but ~ i never quite understood the directions i’d read….?

until now! recently i was visiting with a student of mine about that very thing, and she pulled out a fabric sample she’d saved when learning this technique. and bam ~ it finally made sense to me!  once that visual was in my head… i found out  it really was  {very} easy!  

very simply, it’s just the width of your strips.  in this instance, my binding strips are cut 2.25″ wide.  just overlap the ends that exact same width, {2.25″}, and sew on the 45 degree diagonal, and there you have it!   …done!

although the photos show a bias cut binding, i also do the same thing with “regular” strips cut on the cross grain of fabric.

in the photo below, the binding has been stitched around the perimeter of the quilt, except for the remaining 6-8 inches or so.  the two strip ends are seen below:

now, overlap of binding strips is 2.25 {see the red mark below}.

they are both marked below just so you can see the overlap.  usually i just place the ruler next to the strips and cut the one on top {only}, at the 2.25″ mark. 

one strip will overlap the other for 2.25″, and you will cut only one end off, which in this case will be the strip on the bottom {see photo above}. cut the excess fabric of that bottom strip from the left side, and then open up the strips, and with wrong sides together, pin. {once opened up your strip width is 2.25″}

prior to stitching the seam, it’s really helpful to pin the extra bulk of the quilted piece out of your way before sewing the strips together:

mark the diagonal line on the strips if you need to, and pin. i’ve marked it below, so you can see what the diagonal seam should look like.  now just match raw edges from both bindings, crossing them like a “+” shape, but  match the edges on top and right. {like below} 

to choose the correct diagonal, generally it will be east to west {not north to south}. i marked this line in red, below:

you can see in the photo below where i matched the diagonal wrong… and as i have learned, test how it looks before you trim the strip! {you can see my unsewing below, too!}  🙂

the raw edges are together, and the fold matches from both strips… now ~ it’s safe to trim!

{when i begin} i like to have approximately seven inches as the opening, which leaves you enough room to manipulate the strip ends, and stitch them together.  leave too little of space, and you will find it difficult to maneuver. {ask me how i know}… now that the strips are stitched together, press the seam open, and stitch the rest of that binding onto the quilt:

and the process again, in a different project, where i pin the excess fabric out of my way…

the ends are cut to the width of your binding strips, and also overlap in that same measurement…

cross them diagonally, wrong sides together {match the ends, end to end}:

be careful not to TWIST the ends.  keep the folds of the bindings facing the same direction, as well as the raw edges, and stitch diagonally east to west:

before trimming audition the placement of the binding on the quilt edge.  if the fold and raw edges fit the space remaining then it’s time to trim that corner off:

i press open the seams after trimming:

place raw edges together, stitch all layers together!

simple and easy!  diagonal seams mean less bulk in your strips, and i piece all of my binding strips together using a 45 degree angle, not a straight line. 

when cutting binding strips for any curved quilt, it’s mandatory that the strips are cut on the stretchy grain of the fabric. i accomplish this using the 45 degree angle mark on my ruler. 

it’s important to remember to be gentle as you cut, handle press, and piece these strips, as they are cut on the bias and stretch so very easily.

this is my “new” process, so perhaps you found a hint or two you can use also?  

have a great weekend!  i’m off to help plan some creative decorations for a beautiful young woman’s wedding {at the lake!} ~ yay!

soli deo gloria!

Comments 4

  1. Leslie, Thanks for the great tutorial. My story is the same as yours — I also just recently learned how to finish the binding ends with a diagonal seam. It seems like one of those magical math puzzles where the formula gets you to the correct answer every time! Thanks also to Sheila for the spray starch tip.

  2. I have been doing it this way for a while and agree once you get unto it it is the best way . At first I would get mixed up with the direction but your explanation is great . If I could give you a hint when doing the binding cut on the bias , if you spray your fabric with spray starch first it makes a huge difference in the stretching when you cut .

  3. Thank you for this tutorial. I know, how to sew it, but always had to think about the diagonal. Thinking of east to west ist a realy easy and great idea – and to cut the strips to the right length. Until now, I was always afraid of cutting to much away. 😉
    greetings, Rike

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