If you are relatively new to quilting, you may be confused about the final step to finishing your handmade quilt. This final step is the binding of the fabric, which is done by using a continuous strip of material that has been measured appropriately. In order to do this, you have to be able to join the binding strips together.
With such a vital part of the process at your fingertips, you may be nervous and wonder how to sew the binding strips together. We want to help you with this, so we will take a look at everything you need to know about binding strips, including several ways to sew them together.
Binding – What Is It?
Before you get started sewing those binding strips together, it is important to understand what exactly binding is. Binding strips are pieces of fabric that are used to cover the edges of a project. Most often, you will find these in projects like quilts or aprons. The importance of these pieces of fabric is intended to make a finished project with no raw edges visible.
Calculating the Right Length
Before you start sewing your binding strips together, you need to have the correct length cut in order to finish the project. This can be determined by measuring the project’s width and length and then adding those measurements together.
Once you have the sum of those two measurements, you will then take that and multiply it by two. To make sure you have precisely the right amount, once you have that total, you will add 20 inches to it to cover the overlap of the binding strips.
Choosing the Cut: Types of Binding Strips
Besides the measurement of the binding strips, you have to think about a couple of other options before you even get to sewing the binding strips together. One of these is the way you intend to cut the fabric. There are two main types of cuts that you can utilize.
The first is called straight grain. Within this, there are two categories: you have a cross-grain strip as well as a lengthwise grain strip. For the cross-grain, you’re going to cut across the width of the material. Whereas with the lengthwise grain strip, you’re going to cut parallel with the edge of the fabric.
The second cut is a bias cut. This is where the fabric is cut at a 45-degree angle, and this tends to give the project a little more stretch and is better suited for projects with curves. On a side note, you also might wonder how wide you need to cut the binding strips.
This is a preferential thing because you will need to decide whether you want a single-fold or double-fold binding. Typically though, the width is either 2.25″ or 2.5″ when it comes to double folding.
Two Ways To Sew Binding Strips Together
So now that you understand how to choose the cut and why binding is so important, it’s time to get down to answering your question. How exactly do you sew binding strips together? This really depends on how you cut your binding strip, so there are two main ways to utilize it.
If you’re a beginner, maybe the easiest way to do this when dealing with straight grain strips is to utilize straight seams. The downfall of this method is that it will create bulky areas when you actually place the binding on the final project.
If you’re looking to avoid this, you may want us to the strips with a diagonal seam instead. This allows for all that bulk to be placed in opposite directions when the binding is folded. A diagonal seam is an obvious choice when dealing with a bias binding, but this will also prevent stretching.
Here are the two different ways detailed step by step for your ease:
Straight Grain Strips
- You will take two binding strips and put the right sides together. The ends of these binding strips should cross at right angles. You will then want to lay them on a flat surface and pin them so they remain still.
- When looking at the two strips laid over the top of each other, envision it splayed out. Taking a pen, you want to draw a line across the pieces to connect the points exactly where they cross each other; the first sewing will be along this line.
- Once you have finished sewing that, you’ll want to trim off the excess. Make sure to leave about a quarter of an inch for seam allowance. Then you will want to press that allowance open.
- You will continue to do this until you have created enough binding to go around the entirety of your project.
- To start, you will take the two binding strips and place them with their diagonal edges aligned along the right side.
- Make sure to adjust them so that a 1/4 of an inch is left on either side.
- You will then sew a 1/4 of an inch seam across the two cut sides of the fabric.
- Now take the same allowance and open it to trim off any excess as this will reduce the bulk when you’re finished binding your project.
- Follow this process until you have enough binding strips to complete the project.
And there you have it – the step-by-step process of sewing binding strips together. Of course, we’re sure that there are unique ways that you can utilize to sew your binding strips together. However, these are the two most common and the best, especially if you are a beginner. The process is not difficult, but if done wrongly, you will end up with bulky edges and potentially ruin your project.
That is why we hope that our in-depth look at how to sew binding strips together has helped you and that your projects turn out exactly the way you envisioned them. With that being said, we hope you get started straight away with your next project.