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Thread: Binding Woes

  1. #1
    Junior Member yweinst's Avatar
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    Binding Woes

    So I have been sewing now since August and during that time I have made 5 quilts. Each one I feel that I am getting better and better but I am finding binding really difficult. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

    I have watched the Sharon Schamber method of using glue this time and it seems to have helped but I'm still having issues.

    I found making my strips 2 and 1/4 inch doing a single fold and than using a 3/8 seam allowance is making the turning under of the binding very difficult. It seems it takes everything I have to turn it under and than the whole thing didn't seem the same width around the entire border.


    On top of all of that I have found that the stitch in the ditch technique (yes I know by hand would be better but I have a bad wrist so it isn't an option) is not coming out even all around.

    I'm sure this is one of those practice makes perfect situations but is there anything I can do to help my binding along.

    I just feel I might be missing something.

    Thanks,
    Yael

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    If you cut your strip at 2 1/4 ", fold and place it even with the edge of the fabric, and sew a 3/8" seam allowance, the fold will just meet the seam after you fold it over the edge of the quilt sandwich. You aren't allowing anything for the thickness of the quilt (batting and two layers of fabric) or for the fold to cover the seam. You could make the seam allowance a little smaller, or cut the strip a little wider, and it will be easier to turn.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with the binding. I use a 2 and 1/2 inch piece when I am binding. It gives a little more fabric to work with and that helps me out especially if the quilt/batting is thick. Also, when doing the binding by machine, I use a zig zag stitch to finish. It hides a lot of mistakes and if it is a little uneven it does not show as much. Don't agonize over it too much. My philosophy is: If a man on a galloping horse can't see it, it is good enough. Enjoy what you are doing. Have fun. It does not have to be perfect. But, definitely try a wider strip for the binding. Good luck.

  4. #4
    MTS
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    First thoughts - is your quilted top trimmed straight, and are the corners trimmed to perfect 90 angles?
    Not being the quilt police, but it's hard to get nice straight bindings if this isn't the case.

    Try cutting your binding strips 2.5" - if you need an extra little amount of fabric, then give it to yourself.
    Or 2-3/8".

    Practice on a small quilt sandwich so you can find the correct combination of strip width and seam allowance that works for YOU, and will allow you to comfortably machine sew down the second side as well.

    I cut 2" and sew with a 1/4" seam, and that works for me.
    My QBFF cuts 2-1/4 because she's happier with the way that looks.
    Some people adore Sharon's method and get great results (I'm one of them), and others have found better results with NOT pressing the binding strips in half before sewing to the sandwich.

    To each his/her own. ;-)
    Last edited by MTS; 02-04-2013 at 02:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    Great advice from the others...I especially love dcamarote and her "man on a galloping horse" analogy.....Though I must be honest and say I have been known to take things out that no one would consider re-doing..my dh has joked with me that he thinks I like taking things out more than making them!
    I always cut my binding strip a tad larger, I can always cut more off, can't add it back. I also leave my backing fabric a little larger when I use it as the binding...
    Kif
    Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest~Mark Twain

  6. #6
    Super Member CarolinePaj's Avatar
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    Go to Sharon Schambers site and view her video binding the angel.... she is an amazing teacher.

    Hugs

    Caroline
    Caroline

  7. #7
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    Sometimes, I press the edge of the quilt sandwich just before I sew the binding on. Also, if I'm having a problem I zigzag the very outside edge before attaching the binding. I don't have any luck turning and then machine stitching. I don't really mind the hand stitching. Just don't like to sew the binding onto the sandwuch. It sure would be faster to machine stittch it. Hope your hand gets better.

  8. #8
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    Don't feel bad - I have made tons of quilts and finally on the last one I did I feel happy with my binding (I do hand sew to the back - just wait for days my hands will cooperate!). I followed Sharon's method religiously and it worked!

    I echo everyone else - give yourself more fabric - either sew a 1/4" seam or cut bindings wider. I still have a project that I cannot turn the bindings on - one day will take it out and do it right.

  9. #9
    Super Member Belfrybat's Avatar
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    Are you bringing the binding over to the front or back? The quilt shop here sews theirs on the back and brings it to the front to sew on. Comes out perfect every time. Mine doesn't yet, but I'm improving. I can't imagine sewing the traditional method where the binding goes to the back (unless hand sewing). I think my stitches would be all over the place. I truly hate binding, and when possible, just make the back larger and fold it to the front. But understand that isn't considered acceptable by the quilting police.

  10. #10
    Junior Member yweinst's Avatar
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    So I watched the Susan Schamber's method three times before binding this one which is why I used the 2 1/4" strip. I square the quilt and it looked great and then came the binding debacle.

    I'm going to used more fabric and practice on a small quilt sandwich to perfect the binding.

    Thank you for all the fantastic advice!!!

    Yael

  11. #11
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I use 2.5" strips for my binding and use 3/8" seam allowance but sometimes I still
    have trouble when I bring it to the back. I think it depends on the thickness of
    the quilt. Different fabrics can create different thicknesses. Piano keys were the
    worst for me. I have to remember to cut wider bindings for such borders.
    Making a practice sandwich like MTS said is an excellent suggestion.
    When I make a practice sandwich (with the same fabrics/batting that's in
    the quilt) I get much better results. Just have to remember to do it and
    not rush to get that binding done...that is my problem. LOL

  12. #12
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    anyone you ask, will tell you to cut the binding anywhere from 2.25 - 3 inc in width, then fold in half. it's whatever works good for you. for me, since i sew with 1/4 inc seams 2.75 works best for me.

  13. #13
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    First, let yourself off the hook for binding by machine. I do that on every quilt I make. Sometimes the bindings turn out better than other times. I, too, have hand problems, so the quilts would never be bound if that were the only way to do it. To be honest, they wouldn't get bound by hand even if I had no hand problems! I am one of the worst hand sewers in the world....

    I use small binder clips to put the binding around the quilt edges. I tried gluing; the results were not wonderful, but ok. The binder clips are a great alternative to pins because they don't stab me! And they hold the binding in place while I sew.

    One of the things that I have discovered is that binding by machine requires constant adjustment of the quilt itself during the process so that your quilt top does not hang to the right or the left of the needle. ****The weight of the quilt pulls the quilt to the side and makes it very difficult to sew a straight line.**** Make sure you have plenty of room on your sewing table to put the weight of the quilt on, and pay attention to maintaining its' presence on the table as you bind.

    Mitering the corners takes practice. Make a few square or rectangular place mats for yourself and bind them. Each place mat gives you four chances to practice mitering corners without taking up too much time.

    When I cut my first binding, I cut it 3" wide. That helped me get it over both sides. Now I can use a strip as small as 1.75" for binding, but it ain't easy! 2.5" works very well.

    Most of the time I sew the binding on the back first, making sure that I can fold the binding over the sew line that creates on the front of the quilt. Then, when I am sewing the binding to the front, I make sure the TOP THREAD matches (or is close to) the color of the binding, and the bobbin thread blends well with the backing. Yes, that means I often have different colors in the top thread and bobbin. It's a little extra work, but the payoff is that my mistakes are not very obvious, which means less re-work!

    Good luck, and don't give up!

  14. #14
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yweinst View Post
    So I watched the Susan Schamber's method three times before binding this one which is why I used the 2 1/4" strip. I square the quilt and it looked great and then came the binding debacle.
    Yael
    You may be using a different batting than Sharon Schamber. Different battings have different thicknesses, and this affects how wide you cut your binding strips.

  15. #15
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I use 2.5 and it seems to work well for me. I think any smaller would be a little tight for me, hang in ther you will get it!!!

  16. #16
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    belfrybat: We Texans must stick together - I also pull the backing over whenever possible. Sometimes that just doesn't work, but when it does - easy peasy! I have one right now that's in Time Out until I get brave enough to tackle it - a baby quilt with Minky on the back that will have satin binding. I've done it before so I know I can do it again, but oh I'm dreading it!
    So many quilts, so little time.

  17. #17
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I'm not from Texas but I sometimes use the backing wrapped to the front as binding too. It all depends on the quilt. If I'm making a very scrappy, drag around get washed often quilt, this method of binding is fast and works perfectly. If I'm cutting binding (I use Shelley Rodgers continuous bias binding method, which is the best easiest method ever), I cut my binding at least 2.5" and up to 3" if the quilt is flannel. I always machine stitch my bindings, so I sew them to the back first and bring them to the front and top stitch them. Sometimes I use a fancy stitch. I think bindings done this way look good and wear well. No one that I have ever made a quilt for complained that my bindings were machine quilted.My bindings done this way end up being a little wider on the front than the back but that doesn't bother me or any of the quilt users.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  18. #18
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    I had issues with quilt binding until I took a look at Marci Baker's method - you can view it online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot7Trk6J2Vw - this is the easiest method that I have had found and the results are super. On one of the quilt trips that I took there was a quilt instructor and she said that Marci Baker's method is the only one that she uses. Good luck - it is well worth the time to view the video.

  19. #19
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    I use 2 1/4 " binding strips and sew with 1/4" seam and then bind by hand

  20. #20
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    never thought about it. but for sure, the type of batting you use is the reason we make our bindings different sizes. and i often do my binding on the sewing machine very carefully. a lot of times with a decorative stitch.

  21. #21
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I have a method (kind of unusual) where I use flannel to make a raggedy binding. It's on my blog...
    People who start projects and never finish them are cooler
    than people who never start projects at all.


    http://quiltingquick.weebly.com/blog.html

  22. #22
    Senior Member craftygal63's Avatar
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    I cut my backing larger so I can fold it over. That way the backing is my binding and I mitre fold the corners.

  23. #23
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    2 1/4" does not leave much leeway. Have you considered sewing the binding down with a basting stitch (machine stitch length set to as long as it goes)? Then you could turn it over and see where you missed. It would be easy enough to adjust in those areas and the basting stitch would be easy to pull out.

    I use a decorative stitch when I sew mine on by machine (mostly I sew it down by hand - wearing braces). The decorative stitch gives it another feature and detracts from where things are not perfect.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  24. #24
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    I also use Sharon Schaumber's method, and use 2.5" binding strips folded in half sewn with an almost 3/8" seam...works perfect every time. If I use thicker or thinner batting I make. Test strip a few inches long to test it.

  25. #25
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    Here is a link to help you with binding. http://quilting.about.com/od/binding...ed_binding.htm Hope you learn to love it like I do.

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