I think it’s safe to say there are two kinds of quilters in the world when it comes time to join the loose ends of a binding strip: those who measure and those who don’t.
In a previous Workshop Wednesday blog post I discussed different techniques for binding a quilt. This final part of making a quilt alone contains a few different steps that require more measuring, cutting and careful stitching right at the point when many of us are ready to just be done working on the darn thing already.
Today’s Workshop Wednesday is an in-depth look at one of these smaller steps, namely, joining the loose ends of a long binding strip after it’s been attached to the quilt.
As for me, I have become a quilter who doesn’t measure. A few years ago, when I was binding a quilt for the first time in a long time, I realized I had forgotten whatever method I’d used before to join binding ends. I looked it up in one of my older quilting books, but the method described just seemed to require too much thinking—I admit to being a quilter who just wants to finish the darn thing on occasion.
So I did what most of us do these days: I Googled it and found a less technical approach that has you figure out a good place to have the two strips meet, align them perpendicular to each other and stitch them diagonally, right sides together, and then trim the excess. This is the method I’ve been using ever since, and it works well, particularly on larger projects where I can leave myself long loose ends and at least 10″–12″ of unbound space to work with.
But for smaller projects or times when I want a more direct approach, I think I’m going to try a different method. I may even (gasp) be willing to use a ruler.
Here are a few resources for you to review to find the technique you prefer. Note that they all demonstrate how to join the ends with a diagonal seam; you can of course join the ends with a straight seam, but the binding will be bulkier in that one spot.
Let’s start with this McCall’s Quilting “Quilting 101” tutorial featuring Sherri Bain Driver, in which Sherri demonstrates the method of measuring and trimming both ends of the binding strips at a 45-degree angle before stitching. Click here for a step-by-step photo tutorial demonstrating this method.
For more on this particular technique, read Lori Baker’s recent blog post about her entire binding method, including how she uses Elmer’s glue and finishes the binding by machine.
In this tutorial, Colleen Tauke demonstrates how to use the Fons & Porter Binding Tool to join binding ends by measuring first.
This “Sew Easy” video tutorial demonstrates how to bind a quilt from beginning to end, with a full demonstration of how to join the ends of the binding that falls into the “marking but not measuring” camp.
The method described in this Quiltmaker blog tutorial is similar and falls into the “no measuring” category. Instead of marking the wrong sides of the strip ends, however, you cut tiny notches into the seam allowances to help you line the ends up properly.
In this episode of “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting”, Liz and Marianne demonstrated their binding technique (apparently a measure-first method). Visit QNNtv.com to view the full “Learn How to Bind Your Quilt Perfectly” episode.
Sara Gallegos devoted a full episode of “My First Quilt” to quilt binding as well. View the full episode for free on QNNtv.com.
So how do you prefer to join your binding strip ends? Do you measure-trim-stitch, or prefer to mark-stitch-trim instead? Don’t be afraid to try a couple of different methods to find the one that works for you. As with so many sewing techniques, the best method is the one that gives you the results you’re looking for.