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hutch farm 12-22-2011 08:18 PM

Joining the ends of the binding strip on a 9 inch square potholder - help please
I am making potholders and I always have trouble joining the binding strips (diagonal) . No matter how long I leave the tails on my binding, it is never long enough to sew together. I especially have a hard time sewing diagonally and figuring out which binding tail goes on top and which goes on the bottom. Sewing them right sides together is like a wrestling match. I leave the tails unsewn almost all the way across the bottom of the square (just sewn at the corners), but still it seems like they are always too short. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

EmbQuilt 12-22-2011 08:21 PM

I purchased the Fons and porter binding tool... It's a small squarish thingamajig that has markings to help with it but when I wasn't home and without my tool, I googled the instructions on this and it helped. How wide is your binding?

hutch farm 12-22-2011 08:23 PM

2 1/2 inches, double fold. Is it the wrong size?

Lori S 12-22-2011 08:28 PM

One rule that helps me remember which goes which way ... just say "bottoms up" ! The binding layer thats on the bottom goes up the other ( the top) stays in line with the quilt. For me it always works out the the start of the binding is the one that goes up perpendicular to the quilt.

EmbQuilt 12-22-2011 08:32 PM

There isn't a wrong size. I usually do the 2 1/2. My open space is usually 8" (but can be wider). My left hanging piece is 6". My right flap is 5". I keep a sm sample to help remind me of what to do.

My left piece lays open with right side facing up. Then my right piece is wrong side up with the upper piece laying ontop of the left but forming an upside down L. Hard to describe without a pic.

There are many tutorials showing this with pics. HTH

hutch farm 12-22-2011 08:33 PM

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to write that down so I can remember it :)

hutch farm 12-22-2011 08:42 PM

What if your total square is only 9 inches? How long should your tails be and how much open space do you leave?

Havplenty 12-22-2011 09:43 PM

i make potholders all the time and i am having a bit of fog here trying to understand exactly what you are describing. do your potholders have a hanging loop? are you binding them without leaving a hanging loop and asking how to join the two binding strips together to enclose your squares?

i make my bias binding 2 inches, fold in half, iron, sew a 1/4" seam. i miter the corners. once sewn, i press the seam outward, fold over the potholder, add some glue stick to the binding, iron over the seam and stitch in the ditch.

if you want to join the two tails together i would say you need about a 3" tail left on each end. here is a tute excerpt that i am thinking of. i hope this is what you were asking.

I join the ends together with a diagonal seam:


I like to leave quite a large gap between the start and the end of the stitching, say 12 inches.

You will have two lengthy tails leftover.


Overlap the two tail ends smoothly along the quilt edge.

Trim back the binding tails so that they overlap by the width of the original binding strip plus 1/4 inch

In this case the tails overlap by 2.25 inches plus .25 - a total of 2.5 inches.

Be sure to use a ruler and mark the binding for the correct measurement.


To join the two ends with a diagonal seam unfold the binding.

Place the two ends right sides together, perpendicular to each other.

Allow the ends to overlap by a generous 1/8th of an inch as pictured . Secure strips with a pin.

Mark a diagonal line as shown.

Stitch along the marked line (which can be cumbersome with the entire quilt in tow)

You can now test to see if the binding fits along the quilt edge.


Trim back the excess fabric, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance.

Press open the seam.

Stitch the remaining binding onto the quilt as before.

This method of joining the binding ends works for me each and every time. It leaves a much less bulky seam, and is just like all the other joins in the binding.

EmbQuilt 12-23-2011 02:00 AM

Havplenty - you perfectly described with words and pics what I was trying to say - except I can somehow never handle working with the 3" tails - I struggle so much with that tiny bit to work with.

Spice 12-23-2011 03:57 AM

Overlap ends the width of the binding when it is open. trim to that size. open ends and have left side face up and right side face down as shown by Haveplenty. Sew across. I was told to think waist not crotch to be sure sewing correctly. Since I have used this method my binding have been great.

hutch farm 12-23-2011 05:06 AM

Havplenty --Wow! Thanks so much for that wonderful tute! It was just what I was looking for. I shall not be defeated on joining my binding ends, thanks to you! Merry Christmas and thanks again. This could possibly be my best Christmas present ever :)

alleyoop1 12-23-2011 05:27 AM

Thanks for the tutorial. I am making pot holders and wondered how to close the binding. Usually I just stick one end into the other end (which I have folded the edge inside when I started) and stitch 1/4" till it's attached. But I know this is the proper way to close up a binding - just needed pictures to see how to do it. YouTube is great but you don't have it printed out to follow when you need it - you just need to remember - so this is going to be printed out and kept near my sewing machine. Merry Christmas and thanks again!

sweet 12-23-2011 05:30 AM

Thanks for asking the question. I never tire of seeing the tutorial for doing this.

coldquilter 12-23-2011 05:33 AM

The explanation and pictures by Havplenty was the same way that I do it. I recently purchased a tool from Sewing with Nancy maybe and it was around $20 and I have used it multiple times already and every time the binding has been perfect. I would highly recommend it if you do many binding projects. I have been quilting for years and always struggled with the binding connection.

Sandra in Minnesota 12-23-2011 12:30 PM

On such a small area, I just gave up, and did it the old way.

deemail 12-23-2011 01:19 PM

i don't join at all.... i begin the binding strip with the end (2--3" extra) folded over itself perpendicularly...making a 45 deg fold with the end pointing at the center of the potholder/quilt....stitch all round and when you get back to the fold, move binding strip to the outside about 1/16th of an inch.... so the raw edges are a bit off the edge.... now seam down for about 2", cut off on diagonal (to prevent more bulk) and then fold the first end over, clip off extra and top stitch...looks perfect every time and the tiny 3/8--1/2" diagonal cannot come undone as it is sewn 2" inside... no wrestling, no wrong guesses.... it's easy, fast and looks perfect every time as the original 45 deg fold is all you see...

AliKat 12-23-2011 01:47 PM

Leave long enough tails at the ends of the binding. When you put the right sides together at the 90 degree angle just look and see where the outside tails go and that will show you where to sew. Wish I had my camera here to do a pic.

I know there are lots of tutes here on QB and on YouTube.


lfstamper 12-23-2011 01:52 PM

The trick to measuring how long is to allow the same amount as the width of your binding. For example, if binding is 2 1/2 inches add that to the length required to go around the object. Hope that helps. Spice is saying the same thing.

Havplenty 12-23-2011 03:28 PM

here is another tute excerpt showing how to enclose the tail end into the other tail end without sewing the two together at an angle. looks easy enough. i havent tried this method because i always make a hanging loop. this is how i miter my corners though. i just gave out the 18 pairs of potholders i made for christmas gifts or i could show you mine.

Step 2: Now we need to machine sew the binding to the potholder. You can follow our tutorial or use your own preferred method (be sure to compensate for the extra thickness of the potholder when choosing a binding width).

Trim one end of your binding strip to a 45 angle, place along the edge of the potholder (right side down) and fold over the edge ” (I like to press it with the iron to get a nice crease).


Fold your binding strip in half and pin ” away from the edge.


Start sewing at the pin and sew approximately 3/8” away from the side.


Continue until about 3/8” from the end of the potholder. Cut threads and remove from machine.


At the corner, pull back the binding perpendicular to the binding you just sewed down:


Then, fold the binding strip back over itself at the edge of the potholder. Hold in place:


And pin to secure your fold:


Begin sewing from the edge and keep 3/8” away from the side.


Repeat this process for the next three corners. Before you sew the last corner, trim the binding strip at an angle. Make sure it overlaps the beginning of the strip by about ”.


Tuck the edge under the folded edge and pin in place.


Sew until your stitches overlap and trim off the little triangle to reduce bulk:


I like to trim the corners a bit to prevent the binding from getting too bulky. If you want to do this, trim off a sliver of batting…but make sure to do it in exactly the same place I did in the picture. If you trim the other side of the corner, you’ll cut a hole in your binding.


Press your binding away from the center (I use an iron to get a sharp edge)


Tartan 12-23-2011 04:33 PM

Havplenty, beautiful instructions on doing diagonal binding join! Must be because you're from show me state? On something that small (please don't call the quilt police) I just do a straight join. I make sure the 1/4 seam is well sewed and press the seam allowances open and finish sewing the binding down.

hutch farm 12-23-2011 08:10 PM

Thanks so much! These pictures are great, as I am working on small squares like the one in the picture. This is an immense help to me. I'm excited :)

paulettepoe 12-24-2011 01:48 AM

Missouri Quilt COmpany, Jennie has a great tut for this. watch it, makes so much sense, as she usually does.

Tartan 12-24-2011 06:27 AM

Havplenty, do you mind sharing how you did your pictures? They are very clear and the numerous pictures up-loaded to my dial-up very quickly. (camera, file size and format etc.)

matraina 12-24-2011 06:31 AM

Missouri Star Quilt has many tutorials - all wonderful. See: http://www.youtube.com/missouriquilt...69/ex2PajesRvU

I think this will answer your question.

LindaR 12-24-2011 08:10 AM

there was a tutorial on the board that was so easy....using pins to mark where to join....I'll see if I can find it...it really made it easier for me to join...

skjquiltnut 12-24-2011 01:15 PM

Waist not Crotch? I don't get it....is it exactly like the above method or is it different? Thanks for your help.

Havplenty 12-25-2011 08:42 PM

Originally Posted by Tartan (Post 4807430)
Havplenty, do you mind sharing how you did your pictures? They are very clear and the numerous pictures up-loaded to my dial-up very quickly. (camera, file size and format etc.)

these tutorials were ones i had saved in a word document. everything is copied and saved in word instead of uploaded. it makes it easier to deal with loading, processing time, etc. try it sometimes, you will see what i mean.

Havplenty 12-25-2011 08:56 PM

there are several ways to join the tails and various tutorials to show one how. i have made at least 50 sets of potholders this year and i practice various techniques on them such as seam joining, fmq, gluing binding, mitered corners, quilting stitching, etc. i have had plenty of practice so i am perfecting that skill. i would say research the various seam joining techniques and find one that works best for you. my mitered corners are turning out just about perfect (one may get outta whack every so often). practice makes perfect.

hutch farm find something small that you can work on (such as potholders, mug rugs) to help you find the technique that works best for you. then keep making them until you feel comfortable with your skill. browse online and find a few tutorials for information and to help you practice. you will be a pro in no time at all.

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