You've just finished quilting and squaring up your quilt sandwich, and now you are ready for the final step of the quilt-making process: the binding.
This step is one of my favorites in a quilt project, and I'm excited to show you how to make a quilt binding in this post.
The binding not only affects the look of the quilt, but it also has the important job of securing and concealing the raw edges of the quilt sandwich.
The binding is crucial to ensure the edges don't fray or unravel over time.
How Wide Should Quilt Binding Be?
Before diving into the tutorial, let's go over quilt binding width and why it is important.
For the most part, the width of the binding is your personal preference and how you want your quilts to look.
Some quilters love the look of a wide binding around ½” or wider, but the most common binding width is ¼”.
To be sure you conceal and properly secure the raw edges, I wouldn't recommend a binding less than ¼” wide, just like a seam allowance.
If you use a narrower binding width, the binding fabric may come undone in the wash or over time and use.
Supplies Needed to Make Binding for a Quilt
- Cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine and thread
- Marking pen (optional)
How to Cut Binding for a Quilt
There are three different techniques for cutting binding depending on how much stretch you want in your binding.
- Bias Binding Strips: This option gives you the most stretch for your binding. Bias binding is best used for curved corners or circular quilt projects. To cut strips, you will cut on a bias at a 45° angle.
- Crossgrain Binding Strips: This is the most popular choice for cutting a binding strip. To cut strips, you will cut from selvage to selvage. The strips will have some stretch, but not as much as the bias strips.
- Lengthwise Binding Strips: To cut lengthwise strips, you will cut parallel to the selvage. These strips will have virtually no stretch, so keep that in mind when choosing the cut that works best for your project.
How to Make Quilt Binding: A Step-by-Step Tutorial
Wondering, “How do I make continuous binding for a quilt?” I'll show you how to create binding for your next quilt project by answering this common question in the steps below.
Step 1: Figure out how many strips to cut.
For this demonstration, I make binding for a baby quilt that measures 40″ x50″. To figure out how many strips you need to cut, follow these simple instructions:
- Add the length of each side of the quilt for the perimeter total.
Example: My quilt is 40″ x50″ so I will add 40+40+50+50= 180″.
- Add 10″ to the perimeter total.
- Divide perimeter total +10″ by the width of your fabric (usually between 40″-44″.) This equation gives you the number of strips you need to cut.
Tip: I always round up the number of strips I need. In this case, cut five strips.
Step 2: Cut the strips.
For this demonstration, I cut five 2 ½” cross-grain strips. With my fabric neatly folded in half selvage to selvage, I line up the bottom edge of my fabric with the 2 ½” mark of my ruler and cut along the top edge of my ruler.
Make sure your ruler doesn't shift while you are cutting and that your rotary cutter blade glides right up against the ruler's edge to ensure perfectly straight lines.
Step 3: Sew strips together.
Take two strips and lay them perpendicular right sides together like the image below.
Use your marking pen and make a 45° angle line. You can skip this step if you can eyeball a straight line. I like perfectly straight lines for my binding seams, so I always draw a line.
Following the line you marked, stitch the strips together. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end of the line to hold those stitches in place.
Repeat this step until you sew all your strips together.
Step 4: Trim the excess fabric.
Take your continuous binding strip back to your cutting mat and trim off the excess fabric from all those seams you just made. Leave a ¼” seam allowance.
Step 5: Iron seams open.
Ironing ensures your seams lay completely flat, and you won't have extra bulk when you are adding your binding to your quilt.
Step 6: Fold and press the binding strip.
Fold the binding strip in half with the wrong side of the strip on the inside of the binding. Press a crease down the middle.
Run your iron down the middle of the strip, and iron the entire binding strip until you have about 3″ left at the end.
Step 7: Fold in the raw edge of the strip, tuck, and press.
Folding the edge in about ¼” will conceal the raw edge of the strip and ensure there will be no fraying.
Ready to Make Your Quilt Binding?
Now your binding is ready to be added to your quilt. You may be wondering, “What is the easiest way to bind a quilt?” I have detailed my simple instructions on how to bind a quilt in another recent post.
Use these simple steps to create binding for your next quilt project. I'm confident you'll create some gorgeous binding options and have fun doing it.
I've heard some quilters say that making binding and adding it to a quilt are tedious tasks, but I beg to differ! These are some of my favorite aspects of the entire quilting process because it's the final step of a quilt project. Have fun creating your own binding and happy stitching!