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Thread: Sewing Binding On Quilts Without Getting Puckers

  1. #1
    Super Member sinceresissy's Avatar
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    Sewing Binding On Quilts Without Getting Puckers

    I have been quilting for several years and I didn't have this problem in the early days but now I keep getting puckers in the quilt edge when I sew the binding on. I have always just laid the binding on the right side of the quilt and sewed it on with 1/4 seam. Lately I have taken to ironing the edge of the quilt to flatten it down and I thought that helped but with this last quilt I still had two little puckers. I hand quilt and I thought it might be because I was quilting all the way to the edge so on the last two quilts I left an 1-1/2" inch area with not stitches. I am so lazy I don't want to stay stitch but I will if it will help. I don't know if starching the edge would help either. I am alway excited to finish up and maybe I am rushing too much. Any suggestions?

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    First thought.....are you using a walking foot? Is your top tension maybe too right? When I use my walking foot I lower the top tension--- recommendation of mfgr.........that's all I can think of now

  3. #3
    Senior Member cindi's Avatar
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    I agree with the walking foot, for sure. You can try putting the binding on the opposite way - if you're getting puckers with the binding on top when you sew, try applying with the binding on the bottom instead. Are you measuring your top when doing the binding? If your binding is too long for the top it will pucker as you try to work it in. I never trust the pattern for the measurements. If my final product is even a little off, it can affect the binding length. I always measure the quilt for my binding length.
    Last edited by cindi; 05-21-2015 at 05:39 AM.
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  4. #4
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I find that stay stitching the edge before attaching the binding really solves many issues with binding. It does not take long and you will get back that time in the next steps. I use a longer stitch about a 3.0 - 3.5 when I stay stitch the edge. Its also a good opportunity to use up odd bobbins.

  5. #5
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I agree with Lori S. I would do a stay stitch on the edge of the quilt and would probably solve your problem.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  6. #6
    RST
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    After quilting and trimming but before binding, I do a long and wide zigzag stitch right along the edge. It really helps with the pucker issue, and it makes the binding process go much quicker for me. Any issues with waves or uneven edges are pretty much addressed in the zigzag step, so your binding goes on flawlessly.

  7. #7
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    I use bias cut binding - I baste the edges of it together (my machine) - and stay stitch the edges of the quilt sandwich about 1/8 inch from the edge -

    That way I only have to deal with trying to keep two things lined up instead of trying to keep track of five edges.

    For me - it's a few more minutes "up front" in the process - but it has saved me hours of redoing later.

  8. #8
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I think we get puckers when we try to stretch the binding. I find pinning
    then glue basting helps. I do one side at a time. I also stay stitch the edge
    like others have mentioned.

  9. #9
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    I lengthen my stitch length and stay stitch my quilt edge before machine stitching the binding on with my walking foot. If there are any problems with the quilt edge, they can be corrected before adding the binding. I use straight grain binding for all my quilts unless I am doing curves or scalloped edge.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Maybe try lessening the pressure a tad bit on the presser foot. Use a bit longer stitch. Make sure the quilt edge is laying out flat and the binding is too. Walking foot an absolute must also. I sometimes stay stitch, not always. I never starch anything. I hope this helps.
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  11. #11
    Super Member Maureen NJ's Avatar
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    Walking foot, bindong on bias, and stay stitching - perfect bindings!

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I sew the binding on *before* trimming the quilt edge. I use a long T-square and Sharpie permanent marker to mark a "virtual" edge on the quilt, sew the binding on with the binding's raw edge aligned with that virtual line, and only after that do I trim the edge to match the binding edge. This really helps me.

    If using a straight stitch or zigzag to staystitch the edge before binding (and I agree this should help), again I would first mark the edge and then do this type of stitching *before* trimming the edge.

  13. #13
    Super Member Sync's Avatar
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    Ever since I discovered Sharon Schamber's glue basting method for bindings, I have had no problems with puckers. Check out her videos on youtube.

  14. #14
    Super Member sinceresissy's Avatar
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    Thank you all. I am so ignorant about sewing machines that I do not know if this is a walking foot or not. It is a machine that was given to me and I don't think it is a really good one but does the basics. Anyway, thank you all for your suggestions and I will try stay stitching and I might try the glueing thing. I will also check about walking foot. I think what is on the machine is the only foot. Thanks again.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinceresissy View Post
    Thank you all. I am so ignorant about sewing machines that I do not know if this is a walking foot or not. It is a machine that was given to me and I don't think it is a really good one but does the basics. Anyway, thank you all for your suggestions and I will try stay stitching and I might try the glueing thing. I will also check about walking foot. I think what is on the machine is the only foot. Thanks again.
    If you going to continue using the machine you have your best best would be to talk/visit a shop that sells machines and find out what you have/have not and/or need. At this point you are frustrating yourself because of not knowing what/ how to do.......

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I sew the binding on *before* trimming the quilt edge. I use a long T-square and Sharpie permanent marker to mark a "virtual" edge on the quilt, sew the binding on with the binding's raw edge aligned with that virtual line, and only after that do I trim the edge to match the binding edge. This really helps me.

    If using a straight stitch or zigzag to staystitch the edge before binding (and I agree this should help), again I would first mark the edge and then do this type of stitching *before* trimming the edge.
    I like to leave a little to trim after the binding is sewn on, but not too many inches. It gets in the way. So I trim close to what will be the finished edge, but not quite up to it. I need that extra on there to finish the corners. When I turn corners when putting on binding, I sew up to 1/4 inch from the edge of the top, stop with needle in, turn quilt to sew into the tip of the corner, stopping just where the needle goes off the top and is into the batt and back fabric only. I do not take the quilt out of the machine at this point. Leave the needle in and turn quilt to sew down the other side. Bring binding down where it will be sewn, pinch excess binding in that corner and lay it down. You know what it is supposed to look like. Wiggle it around a little until the folds match up perfectly. Now lift the needle and move the quilt that 1/4 inch to the stitching line and begin sewing. No thread to cut and bunch up when you start sewing.

    One more thing: When trimming the seam, I once cut into the binding as I was trimming at a corner. DON'T DO THAT!
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  17. #17
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    Another vote for stay-stitching the edge before binding. I actually do my stay-stitching before I trim the backing and I think that helps me keep things laying flatter also.
    Linda Wedge White

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I sew the binding on *before* trimming the quilt edge. I use a long T-square and Sharpie permanent marker to mark a "virtual" edge on the quilt, sew the binding on with the binding's raw edge aligned with that virtual line, and only after that do I trim the edge to match the binding edge. This really helps me.

    If using a straight stitch or zigzag to staystitch the edge before binding (and I agree this should help), again I would first mark the edge and then do this type of stitching *before* trimming the edge.
    Shows to go that there is more than one way to do this.

    I always trim the batting and backing after quilting and before putting the binding on. I don't like fighting with that extra bulk - and it's easier for me to see what I'm trying to do.

    I do, however, spend a lot of time getting the layers lined up as well as I can when layering them. After quilting, I lay the quilt out on the table and also spend "enough" time on it to make sure the edges are straight and the corners have 90 degree angles before I start cutting.

  19. #19
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    I concur that stay-stitching 1/4" from the edge solves many problems before you attempt to add the binding.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildyard View Post
    Another vote for stay-stitching the edge before binding. I actually do my stay-stitching before I trim the backing and I think that helps me keep things laying flatter also.
    I have a serger. Do you think tha would work as well? It would be fast and easy.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mengler View Post
    I have a serger. Do you think tha would work as well? It would be fast and easy.
    I used a serger on the edge of a few quilts years ago. Didn't like it because it added a lot of extra bulk to the edge. Also, I had difficulty keeping the edge perfectly straight while feeding the quilt into the serger.

  22. #22
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    I know nothing about sergers so I can't help you with whether or not it would work.
    Linda Wedge White

    I believe UFOs are like scraps, ferns and dust bunnies. Once you get two, they send spores out into the air and more just happen anywhere the spores meet.

  23. #23
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    Ever since I do glue binding, never any flaws. Like the other one who recommended it. Binding the Angel by Sharon Schamber on youtube. Changed my quilting life. Really.

  24. #24
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    where are you getting the puckers? on the binding or on the quilt top, or quilt back? on older machines or less expensive ones a walking foot is a different foot that is attached to the needle uptake shaft. and it is usually a bigger, bulky atttachment. newer machines have an extra foot, that just drops down from the back, and attaches to one of the extra feet that came with your machine. yes, it really helps with the feeding in all the layers evenly, but i have still gotten puckers. usually you can just take out several stitches, and work it in. make sure you use safety pins, and pin your borders well. this helps cut down on puckers.

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