Preparing a Quilt for Binding by Machine - Beginner Quilting Tutorial

How to bind a quilt by machineYou have just finished quilting a beautiful new quilt and you're dying to throw it on the bed or snuggle with it on the couch, but wait...there's one more step. Binding!

Quilt binding is usually the "uggh" part of quilting. It's the step many quilters forget about and most beginning quilters aren't even aware of until they reach this stage of the process. Binding a quilt is the process of surrounding the raw edges of fabric and batting of your quilt with a long strip of fabric called binding.

Binding secures any quilting threads you stitched off the edge of the quilt. It also finishes the edges of your quilt and makes it usable. You can wash a quilt that's been bound and finished properly and never have to worry about the edges fraying or batting leaking out the sides.

Quilt binding is also the area that gets the most wear and tear on your quilt. If you compete with a quilt, judges will typically check this area to make sure the binding is plump and round, a sign the quilt edge will wear well over time.

Binding a quilt is really a three step process and yes, you can complete all three steps on your home sewing machine. If you want to stitch it up a notch and do a perfect job, there are some steps that could be completed by hand, but for most quilts that will be used on beds, drug around the house, and used to build tents and forts with by your grandkids, machine binding will work just fine and likely be faster and easier for you to complete.

How to bind a quilt | binding tutorialThe steps to quilt binding by machine:

1. Preparing a Quilt for Binding by Machine

2. Create the Binding and Stitch it to the Quilt

3. Wrap the Binding Around the Quilt Edge and Stitch in Place

Let's begin by learning how to prepare the quilt for binding. After quilting, the edges of your quilt could be unstable and depending on your quilting design, quite challenging to stitch evenly to a long strip of binding fabric.

Watch this video to learn how to prepare your quilted quilt so it's easy to attach the binding by machine:

In this video, you learned how to stitch a Victory Lap around your quilt which will stabilize the edge of your quilt and make it much easier to bind by machine.

After stitching the Victory Lap, the next step is cutting the edge of your quilt square and straight. Yes, you may cut off some of the victory lap stitching in this stage. That's just fine! We stitch around the quilt multiple times so the edge is secure even if some of the stitching gets cut after it's squared.

preparing a quilt for binding

If preparing your quilt for binding feels like a monumental chore, it might have less to do with this step of the quilting process and more to do with the way your sewing machine is set up. Click Here to find a tutorial on setting up your sewing machine so it's easy to move the quilt around, even if you have a small machine.

Note: If your quilt is super special and designed to be hung on a wall or you plan to compete with your quilt, you might also want to block your quilt before binding. This is another extra step to the binding process, but it can make a huge difference in how your quilt looks and hangs after it's finished. Learn how to block a quilt step-by-step in the Heart and Feather Wholecloth Workshop.

Now with the edges of your quilt stitched and stable, and the quilt itself cut with beautiful 90 degree corners it will be much easier to bind your quilt by machine.

Click the links below to find the other tutorials on binding your quilt by machine:

Prepare a quilt for binding

Prepare the Quilt for Binding

Binding quilt by machine tutorial

Make Binding and Stitch to the Quilt

Finishing quilt binding by machine 

Finishing the Binding

Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day

Would you like to learn more about walking foot quilting? Be sure to check out my book Explore Walking Foot Quilting.

This book will guide you through all the basics to walking foot quilting and how to quilt real quilts on your home machine. I share instructions for quilting 30 walking foot quilting designs, plus seven beautiful quilt projects, including the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt that was used to demonstrate in this machine binding tutorial.

Click Here to read more about Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day.