If you are ready to attach your binding then you should have your quilt sandwich all quilted. If you need to make binding, check out the tutorial on making bias binding.
For this demo I’ll be binding my quilt block from the quilt sandwich tutorial so it’s easier to photograph.
Optional ~ before trimming the batting / backing and squaring up the quilt top I like to topstitch using a 1/8″ seam around the perimeter of the quilt top. This extra step holds everything together for the binding. Use a walking foot to evenly move the three layers through the machine.
Trim away the excess batting and backing layers. (don’t sweat it if you trim into your top stitched edge a bit)
Lay prepared binding along edge of quilt top (raw edges together).
Note ~ A 1/4″ seam allowance is most common but I will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance in this tutorial. Read making binding for more info on seam allowances.
Leave a 10″ tail when you begin to allow for joining when you finish sewing around perimeter.
Begin sewing (backstitch to secure) and stop 1/4″ from edge of quilt top. Backstitch at stop.
Fold binding to the right, finger press fold and place a pin to secure. It is important that your edges align. If your binding rests higher, you didn’t sew far enough, and if it rests lower, you stitched too far. Adjust now to avoid wonky corners later.
Fold binding to left and align with raw edge of quilt top. Make sure fold on right edge is aligned with side of quilt top.
Turn your quilt and begin sewing at the edge. Remember to backstitch to secure. Repeat this process for each corner.
When you come to the end leave yourself some room to work the two ends together ~ I usually shoot for an aprox 12″ gap. You should have two tail ends now.
In the next picture I’m back to the start. You will notice my starting tail is on the left and ending tail is on the right.
My binding strip is 3.25″ wide when unfolded. I’m measuring that same measurement ( 3.25″) from the edge of my starting tail and I’ve placed a pin there to mark it. (note: if you have a 2.5″ binding, measure in 2.5″ and so forth)
Overlap the starting tail with the end tail from the right and mark a cutting/trim line from where the pin is.
Trim end tail on line. (do NOT cut through starting tail!!!)
Gather your quilt top and clip or pin in place to give yourself some freedom to work the two ends together without tugging.
Note ~ I’m using these wonder clips that are fantastic! Get yourself some, they are well worth the money!
Without twisting, place your two ends right sides together in an “L” shape. Mark outside corner to outside corner and stitch together.
Trim excess leaving 1/4″ below stitch line.
Remove clip holding quilt top and press binding seam open.
Binding should lay flat and fit perfect. Notice diagonal seam distributes bulk nicely. Finish stitching down binding.
Fold binding to back of quilt and notice the corners miter without fussing.
The binding should extend to back of quilt and cover stitches nicely. I’m using those fabulous wonder clips again…
When I adjust the mitered corners on the backside of my quilt I face the little slit ‘opening’ in the opposite direction, which distributes any bulk more evenly. In this next picture the ‘opening’ on the top side faces me.
And here in the next picture the ‘opening’ on the back faces away. Make sense? ok :)
Rather than clip the binding in place around the entire perimeter I usually just use a few clips to hold my binding in place to get going and then I move them ahead of my stitching as I go.
I’m going to hand stitch the binding to the back.
Choose a thread that matches your binding. (mine is dark so you can see my stitches)
I’m using the knotless start method…
Cut a length of thread. Fold it in half and feed the loop through your needle.
Slide needle to other end.
Begin sewing your binding to the back along any side you choose. Insert your needle right next to the binding and into the backing and batting only (not through quilt top) and then on your way up pick up the edge of the binding.
Pull thread through until loop is close. Feed needle (and thread) through loop.
Insert needle (into quilt back and batting only) right next to where thread comes out of binding. Bring needle out aprox 1/4″ away, just catching the edge of the binding.
Continue this same stitch all the way around the perimeter until your finished! Admire your hand work!
Admire your binding from the front too!
And THAT is how you bind your quilt! :)
If you are binding around curved edges you start and end with the same method but you will simply curve your bias binding around the corners, pin in place, and stitch away.
Piece of cake!
If you want to see more of this quilt, here are all the
Want to learn how to make Bias Binding for your quilt?
You might need to grab a cup of tea or coffee for this post. It involves math… need I say more?
You may call me crazy but the binding is really a favorite part of the quilt making process for me… It’s the home stretch after all, and you get to see everything come together… I just love it!!! And I want you to love it too!
Although bias binding is stronger (wears better) than straight grain binding, you really only need to use bias binding if your quilt (or other project) has curved edges. Bias binding strips are cut on the 45 degree angle of the fabric, and therefore stretch easily around curves. There are several methods of making bias binding and I’m going to show you how I make it. I typically purchase my binding fabric right off the bolt so I like to calculate how much I will need based on a yardage cut rather than a square cut of fabric as some tutorials demonstrate. We will assume that your standard off the bolt fabric is aprox 42″ wide with selvages removed. So, let’s get started…
I’m using my Sampler quilt as the ‘math’ demo, and since it has rounded corners I needed to make bias binding. You will need to know your quilt top dimensions and the desired width of your binding strips before you begin.
BINDING WIDTH The key to how wide to cut your binding strips is in your desired binding width or binding seam allowance. The following chart helps to demonstrate what strip width to cut based on the binding seam allowance you are using. When piecing your quilt top the standard seam allowance is 1/4″, therefore if your pattern extends to the edge of the quilt or you have points on the edge (no border) then you may need to go with a 1/4″ binding seam. This ensures that your finished results (quilt top) will be correct (and you won’t sew into your points). Still with me? Here is a chart showing typical seam allowances and possible strip widths:
Cut binding strip width to:
2”, 2 ¼” or 2 ½”
2 ¼” or 2 ½”
2 ½”, 3” or 3 ¼”
You might be wondering… Why the variations in widths? If your using a low loft batting and quilting cotton (like my example) then you will go with a narrower width. But if you are using a high loft batting and perhaps flannel or a heavier weight fabric then go with a wider width strip even though you are using the same seam allowance. This will give you a little extra binding to accommodate the thickness of your quilt.
Another thing to think about (as if that wasn’t enough) is if you like your binding tight, so when you fold it over to the back side it just covers your stitches or maybe you like it a little looser so it extends beyond your back stitches more. If you’re a beginner, go with a wider binding that corresponds to your desired seam allowance, it might be the easiest option. All these things factor into your width choice. Make sense?
Math for a 60″ x 74″ quilt top.
I want to use a 1/2″ seam allowance
My batting is low loft but I have lots of seams along the edge of my quilt top so I’m going a little wider than usual to accommodate a little more bulk ~ 3 1/4″ binding strips.
60 + 60 + 74 + 74 = 268″ perimeter
add 12″ extra (for piecing the strips, corners, finishing etc) = 280″ adjusted perimeter#
Now divide 280″ by 42 (useable width of fabric) = 6.6 and round this number up to 7 (next whole number)
Multiply 7 x the 3.25 (width of binding strips) = 22.75″
I WILL NEED 22.75″ OF FABRIC OFF THE BOLT FOR MY BINDING!
Does your head hurt now? I don’t want your head to hurt, so to make this easier, print off this EASY binding yardage worksheet to figure it out ~ just write in your numbers! :)
Phew! Ok, so how do you cut your bias strips? I’m starting with my 22.75 width of fabric off the bolt and first I like to cut my selvages off ~ and I always cut 1″ off my selvage edge.
As a side note I save all my selvages for a future project… so throw them in a vase or other fun container in your sewing space… you never know when you may want to make a fun selvage project…
Now that your fabric selvages are trimmed off, open your fabric up.
Fold down top left corner to meet bottom edge.
Remove the cut triangle without turning.
Important ~ rotate the cut triangle counter clockwise so the bottom edge of the triangle (shown in picture above) is now the right edge of the triangle (see picture below). Move the rotated triangle over to the right.
Slide the triangle under the larger cut of fabric so they are right sides together and align the right side edges. Pin and sew the right edge.
Open seamed unit and you should have a parallelogram. Press seam open.
Bias strips will now be cut along bias (45 degree) edge.
If your ruler isn’t long enough to cover length of the bias edge, you can move it as you cut or you can fold your fabric keeping the bias edge aligned.
Place your ruler along the bias edge and cut your desired strip width ~ for the example I’m cutting 3.25″ strips.
The ends of your strips will be ready to piece together to form your continuous bias binding.
Place two ends right sides together ~ notice ends are offset slightly ~ sew 1/4″ seam.
Press the seam open and trim off ‘dog ears’.
Note: If you are piecing together straight grain binding or bias binding with a straight end on your strip, overlap your ends an sew on a diagonal from outside edge to outside edge. Trim excess and press seam open
Sew all strips together and press all seams open. Take this long piece to the ironing board, fold and press in half on the length to finish making your binding. I like to use best press, which is a starch alternative, to make my binding nice and crisp. I’m addicted to the Caribbean Beach scent, but it also comes in other scents or scent free.
Now Your DONE with making your bias binding!!!
If you want to see more of this quilt, here are all the
We all have our favorite part of putting together a quilt. For some it’s the piecing, or maybe you love the binding (I do!) or perhaps it’s the quilting? Free motion quilting is definitely fun but if you don’t have all the right equipment, getting a large quilt through a domestic machine can be daunting!
When I was deciding on how to quilt my sampler I changed my mind more than once (shocker!) I debated, and thought, and finally decided to hand quilt. After all, I had the time… (right?)
I have hand quilted smaller projects but this was my first large hand quilting project. I loved the freedom of being able to quilt one block at a time. It was fun to finish one block and then move to the next one and decide on how to quilt just that block. I could multi task, watch Netflix (who got me hooked on fringe and mad men?) and quilt at the same time! And I don’t think I used my seam ripper once! BONUS!
Spooky thought it was a good idea too… she’s such a big help…
I used DMC Perle Cotton #8 for my quilting~ SO YUMMY! It comes in tons of colors, is easy to work with and shows off your hard work with it’s pretty shine.
Here are the colors I used:
purple 554, blue 519, yellow 725, green 3348, ecru, orange 947
I have this great DMC Color chart for choosing colors!
If you’re looking for a color chart you can also download this DMC Thread Color Card PDF or purchase a DMC Thread Printed Color Card.
Gather your Supplies:
Here are some general supplies you’ll want before you get started.
Quilters Hoop ~ I’m using a 14″ Dritz 14-Inch Quilting No-Slip Hoop
Thimble ~ I use this one Clover Metal Open-Sided Thimble
Perle Cotton #8
Scissors ~ small pair
Needle ~ recommendations from DMC here
Needle Threader ~ optional but I couldn’t have done without one
Painters Tape ~ for help keeping stitches straight
Basted Quilt Sandwich
This is the type of needle threader I used. It has a hook on each end that slides through needle eye to grab the floss and pull through. Made threading SO much easier! This needle threader from DMC would also work. You’ll just need to be sure your needle eye can accommodate the hook.
It’s best to work from the quilt center out toward the edges, so position your hoop closest to the center of your quilt and secure. I started my quilting on the center block of my quilt and worked my way around and out to the sides. It worked out beautifully. It’s a little more cumbersome when you’re working in the middle of the quilt, since there’s more quilt to wrap your arms around, but just adjust everything until you’ve got a comfortable set up.
Cut yourself a piece of perle cotton no longer than 30″ (manageable length). Any longer and it will be awkward to work with and it will get fuzzy when you pull it through the quilt sandwich too many times.
Thread your needle and tie a simple overhand knot in the end of the cotton.
Start by inserting the needle aprox 1/2 inch from where you wish to begin quilting. Push your needle through the top and batting only and travel through quilt. Bring your needle up at your starting point.
Pull the thread until the knot reaches the quilt top and give it a sharp tug ~ it will pop through the quilt top and embed itself in the batting. You will get the hang of this after a few tries.
Let’s get quilting. I quilt toward myself at a slight diagonal, (rather than right to left) and I find it the easiest way for me. Do what feels comfortable for you. Start a stitch with the needle sticking straight down through the quilt. I’m right handed and I have my right hand on top of the quilt making the stitch, and my left hand guiding the needle on the back of my quilt. In the next picture my left hand is under the quilt sandwich and the needle is just poking through the other side resting on my finger tip. (yes, this finger tip will get a little sore… occupational hazzard)
When I feel the point of the needle come through the back of the quilt with my finger tip, I tilt the needle backward away from me. Now, push that back finger up, creating a small bump on the quilt top where your needle is. With your right hand thumb, push down on the quilt top in front of the needle, making the bump more defined, and now you can push the needle through that bump.
needle straight up and down just through quilt sandwich touching left hand finger tip
tilt needle back
push up with left finger from under quilt
push down with right thumb in front of needle to make the defined bump
push needle through bump
Your thimble may feel unnatural on your finger, and you may struggle through the first several stitches but it will quickly get easier. Stick with it! Your left finger tips will get sore and there are some products you can use like another thimble or little ‘dots’ to stick on your finger to protect it but I couldn’t get the same results using anything on those left hand fingers. I needed to be able to feel the needle.
When you are ready for another length of perle cotton or done your quilting, you will need to tie off and embed the end in the batting. Start by tying another overhand knot in the end of your perle cotton.
Pull the end of the perle cotton, sliding the knot down near the quilt top.
Knot should be right at the top of the quilt.
Insert needle back into hole that the perle cotton is coming out of and travel through the batting only, then back out of top about a 1/2″ away.
Pull needle through and give perle cotton a tug to embed knot in batting and carefully snip off the tail.
If you are quilting a long straight line and need a ‘guide’ try using painters tape and just stitch along side of it! It helps and the tape pulls right off and you can use it a couple more times before the ‘stick’ is worn out.
That’s it! If your new to hand quilting start on small projects like I did, then when your comfortable, move your way up to a large project…
Sampler Quilt – details and quilted blocks
Find the Scrap Happy Sampler Quilt pattern
I also hand quilted Modern Love if you want to go check out that quilt… And Warm Wishes is also hand quilted and includes a pdf pattern download.
I have a
if you want to give it a go!
I found these video tutorials very helpful:
This is another EXCELLENT free video tutorial if you want to get into hand quilting feathers: how to hand quilt feathers video tutorial
If you are hard core into quilting ~ this looks FUN! hand quilting motifs video tutorial
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If you want to see more of this quilt, here are all the
After your quilt top layout is pieced and you’ve added a border (if you choose to) it’s time to plan out your quilt back and make your ‘Quilt Sandwich’. My quilt top is scrappy, and I’m determined to use up ‘stash’ (even the big pieces) so I decided to go with a scrappy back as well.
Remember that your backing will always need to be larger than the top (add 6″ to width and length.) If your going to make it scrappy, you need to plan where your seams fall. You don’t want them close to the edges of the final quilt. The excess backing that extends beyond the quilt top is cut away after quilting so your seams will need to be well inside the ‘quilt top’ parameters.
QUILT SANDWICH Supplies:
batting ~ I’m using warm and natural cotton batting (love cotton!)
painters tape ~ if your pin basting on a surface or floor
quilting pins ~ the bent ones
Your ‘Quilt Sandwich’ consists of three parts:
BATTING ~ I want my batting to extend 2″ all the way around my quilt so I will add 4″ to the length and width of the quilt top.
BACKING ~ I want my backing to be just slightly larger than my batting. I want it to extend 1″ beyond my batting. To accomplish this I will add 2 inches to my batting length and width.
Why do you need to extend the batting and backing? During quilting there can be some shifting of the layers. Extending the batting and backing will ensure this isn’t a problem, your quilt back will be large enough and you’re not quilting tiny bits lined up at the edge. Some quilters are more generous with their extended measurements, so do what suits you and your quilting needs. If you are sending your quilt to a longarmer they may have specific requirements so be sure to check in advance.
Making a Quilt Sandwich
(I’m cheating and using a quilt block for my demo so it’s easier to photograph!)
Lay out your batting on a large surface or the floor. Layer your quilt top over the batting so batting extends at least two inches around. Trim batting to size.
Roll up batting and quilt top together and set aside while you lay out backing. Press quilt back and smooth out on floor/surface with right side down. Using painters tape (girls best friend) generously tape backing to surface. Move your quilt top / batting ‘roll’ on top of quilt back. Center, unroll and smooth out batting / quilt top. This is your quilt sandwich. Now, pin the heck out of it! Be sure to put a few pins the batting area that isn’t covered by the quilt top. Also be sure to fill the pins up. If they are not ‘full’ they will slide and all that work will be for nothing! (boo)
There are other methods of basting your quilt sandwich ~ if you try spray basting be sure to spray outside.
Now Your Ready to Quilt!
Find the Scrap Happy Sampler Quilt pattern