Learn how to Bind a Quilt by Machine
Let's face it, who has the time to hand stitch binding on every single quilt they make? Not only is this time consuming, it's totally unnecessary when you consider how securely the quilt can be stitched by machine. In this video you will learn how to attach the binding to a quilt entirely by machine:
This video comes from the Building Blocks Quilt Pattern, a fun beginner level sampler quilt pattern designed to teach you all the basics of piecing AND free motion quilting.
Note: one extra step you may want to take before binding your quilt is to block it so the sides hang straight and square. This is especially important for wall hanging quilts and show quilts where it's essential for the quilt to hang beautifully. Click Here to learn how to block your quilt before binding.
How to Prepare your Quilt Binding
You first need to prepare your binding strips. Starch and press your binding fabric two times to ensure the fabric is stiff and stable and easy to cut accurately.
Next, slice enough 2 inch strips to cover the entire edge of your quilt. You'll want to be sure you have more than enough binding prepared so when it doubt, slice an extra strip!
Once the strips are cut, you need to sew them together. Check out the image to the right to see how to sew each piece together with a diagonal seam. This diagonal seam will reduce the bulk of the seam allowance within the binding.
Go to your iron and press each seam open, and then fold the binding in half (right side out) and iron flat. If I'm on a role with several quilts of the same binding color (most often black), I'll just sew all the binding together in one extremely long strip and bind all the quilts with it at once. It saves time as well as fabric to finish as many quilts as possible this way.
Once the binding is ready to go, place the quilt right side down on a table and lay the strip around the edge of the quilt and check to see that it will fit. You don't have to pin it or get all picky, just lay it around the quilt and eyeball it. Make sure that none of the seams hit a corner and that you have plenty of binding to work with.
How to Attach Binding to a Quilt by Machine
Starting along one edge of the quilt, make sure you leave a 12-inch tail of binding so you can easily connect the ends together. With the wrong side of the quilt face up and the raw edges of the binding aligned with the edges of the quilt, begin stitching the binding to the quilt with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Make sure to keep the raw edges of the binding perfectly aligned with the raw edges of the quilt. Try not to pull on the binding strip or the edge of your quilt as you stitch. It's very easy to unconsciously pull the edges, which can create a distorted wave effect on the edges of your quilt.
Follow the instructions in the video to turn the corners of the binding to create a perfect miter in each corner of your quilt. As you near the side where you began binding, stop with at least 12 inches between where you began and stopped binding. Use this space to connect the ends of your binding using the method described in the video.
How to Finish the Binding by Machine
Flip your quilt over so the right side faces up and fold the binding up to the front of the quilt so the fold in the binding reaches the stitching line 1/4-inch from the edge.
Select a stitch to secure your binding. Make sure that the stitch is wide enough to catch your binding edge and hold it securely to the front of your quilt. The most common stitches to use are blanket stitch and zigzag stitch. You can also use a straight stitch too, which has an added benefit of being much faster to stitch around the quilt.
Preparing the Corners - The easiest way to secure the mitered fold in the corners of your quilt is to fold and stitch them securely by hand. Using small stitches you can quickly secure the four corners and jump right into securing your binding edge.
When you get to the end, leave long thread tails, tie them in a knot and bury in the middle of your quilt.