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New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Welcome to my world where I try to figure out what I'm going to do next! These days, it is mostly quilting, but you never know what it might be... come find out with me!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tips for Machine Applying your Binding

I said I would put this up some time ago, after talking about how I do my machine bindings at the April meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. The following post describes some of the methods I use when applying my bindings by machine.  I am by no means an expert, adn I strongly believe that you should do what works best for you.  These are just some of the things I have learned as I have gone along, and they work for me!

Tips for Machine Applied Bindings
Sometimes I hand stitch my bindings down, but sometimes I will machine stitch them on.  The factors I think about when deciding how I will finish the binding are:
  • ·         If it is going to be well used and heavily washed, I prefer to use a machine stitched binding to ensure it does not come undone.
  • ·         How much time do I have?  Short on time - I will machine stitch.
  • ·         Is it an “heirloom” quilt?  Can’t say as I have ever set out to make an heirloom – don’t know that I would have the right to say one of quilts was an heirloom quilt, but if it is a look I am after, and keeping things traditional, then I will probably hand stitch the binding down.
Regardless of how I finish the binding, I always prepare my binding using the method I describe here.  I like working with a 2 ¼” wide binding.
When machine stitching binding down, you can apply the binding to the front, wrap it to the back and stitch it down from the front, in the ditch or using a decorative stitch from your machine.  Or, you can apply the binding to the back wrap it to the front and then stitch it down from the front - this is my preferred method as I can then see exactly where I am stitching and keep the front looking nice and neat.  Using this method, I also think the back looks better, but that is just my opinion!

Here are some of my favourite tips for both applying and sewing down the binding by machine.
When sewing with a ¼” seam, when you get ¼” from the corner of your quilt, needle down and pivot and stitch off the corner on a 45° diagonal, going right through the corner.

This allows you to get a nice sharp mitre at the corner when pulling up and then folding your binding back down.

When all the edges are lined up, start stitching your next side, starting right at the edge of the fabric, using your ¼” seam.

Continue in this method, all the way round the quilt, joining your binding with your preferred method.  When finished press to set your seam allowance, then press the binding away from the quilt
from the front
from the back
Wrap the binding to the front, mitring your corners as you go.  I prefer to only pin my corners, but do what works best for you.

When mitring your corners, try to have the fold of fabric going in opposite directions on the back and front of the corner. This reduces the bulk in the corner and allows for easier stitching. You can feel the difference with your fingers – try folding under one side first and then the other, and see if you can tell.

My Ultimate secret weapon – my “Stitch in the Ditch” or “Topstitch” foot

I would think that this foot, or something similar, is available for most machines. The blade in the centre allows you to run the edge of the binding against it to keep your stitching nice and straight.  See how the blade runs along the edge of the binding?  On my machine the normal needle position is directly behind the blade – this allows you to more easily do your in the ditch stitching.  To use it when attaching a binding, offset your needle a couple of positions, and the needle is now approximately 1/16” from the edge of the binding, and the blade is running along the edge of the binding.

Go slowly at the corners, as your blade might want to catch on your folded binding or any pins you are using.  Gently guide it up and over the edge of the fold in the binding, needle down and pivot, and let your blade run along the edge of the binding to the next corner.  I use my fingers to fold the binding in as I go, keeping it nice and tight.  If you use pins or clips, make sure you pull them out before you get to them.

The finish – a nice tight binding with nice even stitches.

If you have any questions, please let me know, and I'll do my best to help you out!

Happy quilting!


Monika said...

Ooh, I am always in for making things faster, I'll give this one a go! All other methods I have tried have always had questionable results (maybe it's just my lack of patience, practice and persistence though!)

sherry said...

i'll give this a go on the next baby quilt i make....thx for the tip

elle said...

Excellent. I never thought to offset the bulk in the corners. duh! lol And my edge stitch foot. another duh! Thank you! My deadlines also thank you! LOL

Peggy said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for the tips!

Lisa said...

oh ... I will SO be back here in about a week to use this!!!

M-R Charbonneau said...

Great tips, Janet! I'm definitely going to give them a try.

PatchworkPottery said...

Hey I have one of those feet! Maybe I'll give it a go!

momiji said...

I just started binding my striped quilt, and I tried your little trick of pivoting at the corner and stitching off at the 45 degree diagonal. What a great tip--my mitred corners are the sharpest they've ever been! Thanks!

Janette said...

Thank you for this. Have been looking for a way to finish my binding by machine and will definitely use this foot next time. I was wondering if your stitches catch the binding on the back as well as the front with this method or does the back of these stitches look like a quilting line on the back?

Laurie B said...

I can't believe someone else does binding the way I do! Thanks for the tips and great blog.