05 February 2012

Favorite Tutorials: Quilt Binding

I hope to be able to share more of my own tutorials here, but there are p l e n t y of amazing tutorials already out there that really have really helped me, not only to learn the basics, but also to experiment with different variations and ways to do the same thing, such as how to bind a quilt.

My very favorite part of making a quilt is hand-stitching the binding on-- the last step! I love seeing a finished, framed quilt emerge from a slightly bedraggled, stringy, unfinished rectangle. I think it's totally underrated, and there are lots of different ways to do it, with different effects.

Here are some of the best quilt binding tutorials that I've used along the way.

How much binding fabric do you need? This post at Crazy Mom Quilts explains with non-scary math.  This is the first binding tutorial I ever used, and also the method I've stuck with! It takes you all the way through, from cutting to hand-stitching the binding on.

You can also attach binding completely by machine, but it's not my thing.  I'd miss out on too much snugly couch time. Err, also, you have to measure and sew a little more carefully.  

Bias binding can be scary-- fabric is cut diagonally across the grain, which supposedly yields a more durable binding, as the threads are going in different directions and resist wear. It also looks cool, especially with stripes. There are many ways to do it, but my favorite is continuous bias binding, illustrated well in this post at Stop Staring... and Start Sewing!. Note that it instructs you to mark the fabric with lines 1 3/4 inches apart-- you'll want more like 2 1/2 or 2 1/4 inches for quilt binding, like in this tutorial from Quilting Nanny.

This nifty page will tell you how much fabric you'll need to start with based on the size of your quilt. Other pages I've found only give you calculations for starting with a square, and I like how this allows you to use the entire width of fabric.

In case you have a scrap to use, though, here's a rule of thumb  for starting with a square, and how much that square will yield.

Right now my favorite width to cut my binding is 2.25 inches-- I like the narrow and snug result.

If you had a priceless photo, wouldn't you add some matting when you framed it? Julie at Jaybird Quilts tells you how to add a flange to your quilt binding!

To make adorable rounded corners, just use a plate (or any other round object you like) to trace and cut a curve.  This tutorial from That Girl... That Quilt shows it nicely.  Rounded corners require bias-cut binding, be warned.  It's nice and stretchy and won't wrinkle up when you sew around the curves.

You can make a quilt or quilted project without binding at all, that's just fine.  It requires a little planning and coordinating with your quilting-- you finish the edges before sewing your quilting stitches.

Any way you do it, you'll end up with a nice, finished project when you're done!

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