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Thread: Binding width?

  1. #1
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    I have been admiring some older quilts, probably made around 1950 and see that the binding is about 2 inches wide - looks like the bindings I see on blankets. I usually make my bindings - cut bias fabric 21/2 inches, fold in half, stitch on and fold over the quilt edge and stitch down again; ending up with about a 5/8 inch finished binding. Does anyone know what is the perferred width?

  2. #2
    Senior Member laureneberhard's Avatar
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    I believe it's whatever you prefer. I usually cut mine 2 1/4" on straight of grain (unless I have to go around curves). It also depends on the batting you are using. Thicker batts will take up more of the binding when you turn it over the edge of the quilt. I like the look of a narrow binding, but it's only my preference.

  3. #3
    Senior Member quiltingaz's Avatar
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    I is your choice. Most quilts now are like you said ,cut 2 1/2. I some times cut 2 1/4 inches, depending on project. I have done some wider if I want it more like a border, but ususally use narrow esp. if matching outer border. I do have an old quilt from GGM, but she folded back to front since it matched sashing on quilt. I think the important part of binding is that it is even on both sides and filled with batting to edge.
    GGM's quilt binding was about 1 1/2 inches wide

  4. #4
    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    I like to cut mine 2 1/4" also. I learned that this helps ensure the width (of the binding)on the back of the quilt more closely matches the width on the front of the quilt when it's finished.

    I also learned that quilt judges (at shows) look for bindings to be completely filled by the batting.
    But it's definitely a matter of preference.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think even back in the '50s the narrower binding was preferred. Almost all the old quilts I have seen have the narrower binding, I think because it wears so much better.

  6. #6
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I'm a pretty firm believer in there's more than one way to do most things. But, that being said, "most" vintage and antique quilts (especially prior to 1920) had narrow bindings of straight-grain fabric often of a different print/color from the rest of the quilt. Indeed, Barbara Brackman, quilt historian, once said she had seen only one out of literally hundreds and hundreds of pre-1900 quilts with a bias-grain binding. Curved edges came into vogue in the 1920s and 30s and needed bias grain for those curves.

    Oddly enough, quilting as a craft/art was a bit "lost" in the mid-1900s, after the heyday years of the late 1920s into 1930s. Many quilters of very late 1970s and early 1980s were either newbies or "rememberers" of their grandmother's work. Many who had mothers who were young women in the 1940s had to virtually reinvent the wheel to quilt.

    Most of us at that time remember template piecing, not strip piecing, and turning the binding from the backing fabric to the front for binding. Many of the quilts had "modern" polyester batting that was thicker than nearly any generation before us had used and therefore had 'fatter' bindings.

    It wasn't until 1980 that the rotary cutter, which had been recently invented in Japan, became available in this country for the garment industry, for instance. Quilters quickly found the new invention and it sold better in the US than anywhere else in the world!

    Personally I'm SO glad I was fortunate enough to begin quilting with the forerunners of the "speed-piecing" method of quilting like Mary Ellen Hopkins. Because, even though there were few decent quilting books available in 1981-83, she wrote a magnificent primer for the new generation of quilters/fabric artists that truly set us free to think outside the original box and do things a different/better?/ faster way.

    We can do most anything we please these days! We've come a long, long way, Baby!!!

    Jan in VA

  7. #7
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    In one of the guilds I belonged to they had two different instructors one right after the other. The first one says she cuts her bindings at 3 inches because she likes them as the final framing and if you're going to go to all that trouble they should be seen. So then the next month the instructor says to cut your bindings at 1 1/2 inches so they're very narrow and not as noticeable. But both of them did say they use straight grain binding unless the quilt has a curved edge.

    I think you can do pretty much what suits you and what suits the quilt.

  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbielinks
    I have been admiring some older quilts, probably made around 1950 and see that the binding is about 2 inches wide - looks like the bindings I see on blankets. I usually make my bindings - cut bias fabric 21/2 inches, fold in half, stitch on and fold over the quilt edge and stitch down again; ending up with about a 5/8 inch finished binding. Does anyone know what is the perferred width?
    Not sure how you get a 5/8" finished double fold binding from a 2" cut strip (the math doesn't add up), but that's a fairly common cut width.

    I always cut 3" strips and wind up with a finished 5/8" on front and back. I like wider bindings and they are easy to make full by leaving extra batting/backing beyond the quilt top. I trim 5/8" from the binding seam, then fold it to the back and hand stitch. The binding can be whatever width you like, but it should be proportionate to the quilt size and style...at least that's what judges have said.

  9. #9
    Super Member canmitch1971's Avatar
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    I cut mine 2 3/4 inches and fold it in half. I would not want it any narrower than that.

  10. #10
    Honey's Avatar
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    I was taught that the binding should be cut at 2 1/4" then doubled unless you are using a loftier batting then you should cut at 2 1/2". But like so many things in quilting, it is really up to you and the look you are going for. Remember, no quilt police!

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