Machine Binding a Quilt

I have a photo-filled post showing how I bind quilts completely by machine.
I began using this method years ago when hand-stitching the binding caused my fingers to go numb because of carpal tunnel syndrome. The more I used this technique, the better I got.

I am showing how I put the binding on the Valentine mug rug from yesterday's post.

I had to join 2 strips of fabric for my binding (as we do when binding a large quilt). I use 2.5 inch wide strips for binding.

To join the strips:
Cross the ends of 2 strips at 90 degree angles.  Extending the ends allows me to see the start and end of the stitching line (blue line). Sew a 45 degree seam to join the strips. Trim the excess, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance (green line).

Fold the binding in half lengthwise and press, creating a long strip of binding.
Use a walking foot for the rest of this technique.
On the BACK of the mug rug, line up the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the mug rug (or quilt, etc).
Pin the spot to start stitching (about 5 to 6 inches from the end of the binding strip). Use a ¼ inch seam allowance, sew toward the corner. STOP ¼ inch from the bottom edge, near the corner, with the needle down.
Turn the corner so it is pointing toward your body. Sew at a 45 degree angle to the corner of the mug rug and off the corner. Cut the thread. 
Fold the binding away from you, making a 45 degree angle into the corner. Notice how the edge of the binding flows away from the edge of the quilt? 
Keep the 45 degree fold in place (pin if needed), bring the binding strip down so it covers the folded 45 degree angle. The edge of the binding will align from the corner, along the edge of the mug rug.
The fold of the binding, on the edge just sewn. The fold should not extend past the edge of the mug rug. (There is actually a small red arrow above my thumb pointing to that edge!)
Begin sewing at the fold using a ¼ inch seam.
Before the next corner, stop ¼ inch away and continue in the same manner as the last corner.
Sew all 4 corners in this way. Stop about 6 inches from where you first began stitching the binding on the first edge.
Remove from under needle.
Make sure the two binding ends overlap or lay across each other by 2 or 3 inches.
Square the end of the first binding tail about 4 inches from the beginning stitches, but make sure it still overlaps the other end of the binding.
Lay the other end of the binding over the end just squared. Make sure there is 2.5 inches or more beyond the squared end. With a pin, mark where the squared end lines up (green circle).
From the pin, measure 2.5 inches and trim off the extra from the top tail. I like to use the Creative Grids 6 by 2.5 inch ruler for this. 

Open the two binding ends. The top one is right side down. The lower one is right side up. Turn the end of the top one a quarter turn to the right. The binding is not aligned end to end, but  in the same manner used to join strips to make a long length of binding (first step).
I pin the 4 corners. A 45 degree diagonal stitching line can be drawn; but with practice the seam can be eye-balled.

Sew on the diagonal line, remove pins as you go.
Make sure the binding fits the edge of the quilt it will be stitched to.
Cut off the excess leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance.  Press seam to one side.
Sew to attach to mug rug.
With front of mug rug down, press binding on back toward seam allowance. 
Turn over to see the right side.
Wrap binding around edge to front, covering the stitches that attached the binding. Pin binding if needed.
Align needle and walking foot, so the top-stitching line is about 1/8 inch in from the folded edge of the binding.
2 inches from corner, stop with needle down. Fold up the binding closest to you covering the stitches. Fold the corner section you are sewing at a 45 degree angle. Pin if needed. 
The edge being sewn will lay on top of this next edge and create a mitered corner.
Continue around the entire mug rug. Sew a few final stitches over the first stitches and backstitch to lock in place.The back looks like it has been quilted with an edge line.
Thank you for taking time to read about my technique. Perhaps you will find a time when you can use it in your quilting. 

Happy Valentine's Day!


Needled Mom said...

Great tutorial. It finishes the mug rug off perfectly.

Joni said...

Thank you for the wonderful, well explained tutorial! I am going to link it back to my guild's tutorial page.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

I love this method of machine binding and find pressing the binding around to the front really helps. It's so much faster than binding by hand. However, I'm still trying to work out just the perfect position for my needle and where to align the stitching with the foot. I recently finished two queen sized quilts this way with good results. Then today I bound a throw which turned out just ok because the stitching wasn't as clean on the back. Now I just need to write down the sweet spot for how to align everything.

Marian said...

Heya Nancy, really nice tutorial, I did everything like you do on this tutorial except that it never occurred to me to iron the binding out so it would turn better. That's my issue right there with binding, trying to get the binding to lay straight enough on the front so it doesn't look curled or tight. Thus the corners should also turn out well. I will definitely give this a try, I do think the ironing is what has held me back from getting a good bind. Thank you so much!!! I will give this a try in the next few weeks or so.

June D said...

Great directions - pinned the post so I can refer to it to help me! Thanks for preparing!