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Thread: Tell me about your binding

  1. #1
    Senior Member minibarn's Avatar
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    Tell me about your binding

    I am in the process of hand sewing the binding on the back of a UFO and I never enjoy this part. I am glad to be finished w/the project and I enjoy hand work but I never feel like my binding looks nice, and I struggle w/knotting at the end of a piece of thread. Also, I have had to make repairs to older projects because the stitches break, and I'm never real sure how to fix that.

    So, I was wondering if people would share w/me how they go about attaching their binding so that I might learn something new and enjoy the process more, and have less problems.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I use one strand of good quality thread. I do the lock stitch on the needle (you pierce the thread) so the needle stays threaded and do a quilter's knot on the end. There are YouTube videos on how yo do them.

    When hand stitching my binding to the back, every few inches I put a knot into the sandwich so if the thread breaks, only a small section comes out. I like to sew my corner miters down as I go and I also bury a knot at each corner. With all my starts and stops, I pop the knot through the fabric and end the thread into the sandwich.

  3. #3
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    What kind of thread are you using?

    I use Bottom Line, which is polyester. Do not believe those old yarns that some will spin about poly cutting fabric - it won't. And it's stronger than cotton thread and won't break.

    As Tartan said, there are videos on YouTube that show you how to tie a quilter's knot, and how to thread the needle in a manner that it won't come unthreaded. I made such a video showing both tricks but unfortunately I'm not allowed to post it here.

    Also, another tip - DON'T press your binding in half before sewing it onto the quilt. I quit doing that a long time ago and my bindings look and feel much, much better.

  4. #4
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    I like to use the washable glue stick to hold down the binding before I hand stitch. I hate all those pins biting my hands as I go around. So I use the glue, pinch it with small clamps, clips or hair clips, maybe a few pins until it drys, then I hand stitch with a thread that does not knot. The glue washes out in the first washing.....

  5. #5
    Senior Member sewingitalltogether's Avatar
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    I like to cut the binding at 2 1/2" and fold it over. When I sew the back I use a double thread. Hide the knot inside the binding seam. I make a much bigger stitch than hand applique. Like a nice mitered corner. The binding is a happy part of the quilt. It's the finishing touch. I've been joining the ends by sliding the end into the one already sewn.

  6. #6
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    I’m always impatient when I get to the binding because I feel like the quilt is already done, and yet it’s not.

    Machine sewing is stronger than hand sewing. Having said that, I know people are going to disagree with me, but that’s what I’ve found. I’m not sure from what you wrote if you want to continue hand sewing or would consider machine sewing, but I get my best looking binding when I machine sew the binding to the front and then hand sew the binding to the back (but in order to save time I’ve learned a method where I machine sew the back and then the front, which I’ve gotten to come out almost as good as the other way).

    I like Peckish’s tip about not pressing the binding in half. Never occurred to me, but seems like a good idea now that I see it.

  7. #7
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I had enough hand sewing when growing up and never cared for it, so I always attach my binding by machine. I also think that machine sewn binding is stronger. I mostly use a flanged binding. If you sew carefully, the stitching is all but invisible on the front. I also do not press in half. Here's the tutorial:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...g-t200207.html
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  8. #8
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I sew the binding to the front and then use Sharon Schamber's method of glueing the back down before I hand sew it. You can control exactly how it looks and you don't have to wrestle with trying to hold the fabric in place as you sew. I've had my best bindings since I've started using this method.

    Watson

  9. #9
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    I do similar to what Tartan does re the stitching except that I 'lock' each stitch. If I'm using hand quilting thread to sew down the binding to the back I'll only use one strand of thread. If I'm using a standard 'dual duty' thread, I'll mostly use a doubled strand. I also use Thread Heaven which helps keep the thread from tangling. And try using a shorter length of thread to control the tangling as well. And like Tartan, I sew down my mitered corners on the back as well - sometimes only 1-2 stitches - sometimes more. Depends on how nicely they come out on a given quilt.

  10. #10
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    I no longer am able to sew the binding by hand so Iput it on the back first bring it to the front and use a fancy stitch on my machine to sew it down on the front. My quilts are to be used and not in a show to be judged so it works fine for me

  11. #11
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    I use 2.25" folded, glue and press it on the ironing board before I go to the machine to stitch it down from the front side, then hand stitch it with 1 thread, knotting it within the seam allowance so it doesn't show. When I have to end the thread I put a couple stitches where I'm ending, then add another couple stitches together to knot it within the seam allowance, then start the new thread knotting it within the seam allowance so it doesn't show and then continue. I also tack down my mitered corners as I go along from back to front and back to the back side again. I also with run the needle thru the double layer when I'm ending my thread after I've knotted it witin the seam allowance and then cut it. Similiar to how to hide your thread tails when quilting. The Elmer's glue I use as someone else mentioned washes out in the 1st wash. I also don't use straight pins as I hand sew the binding to the back but those new clips. Just use 4 or 5 and keep moving them along in front as I go. No pins to get pricked by. Its a great way for me to not munch while I watch TV at night.
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  12. #12
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    If I had to hand sew bindings, I would not make quilts. Not becuase I hate hand sewing, but becuase it takes me so long to do it. Probalby becuase I am particular and don't want any thread showing where I've hand stitched if possible.

    The number one thing I changed that turned binding from my most hated part (even machine sewing) into no big deal -is what Peckish said - do not press the binding in half. That one change resulted in eliminating all the problems I was having. I don't even need to pin the binding anymore.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  13. #13
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    I cut 2.5" strips and use the standard French fold binding technique. I do it all by machine. Occasionally I do the wide prefolded satin blanket binding on a project.

  14. #14
    Senior Member minibarn's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone. I would like to know what not pressing the binding helps, but am fully willing to try. I am not opposed to machine binding it's just that I don't like the looks of some of the types I have seen, however I need to investigate further (such as the flanged binding) to see some other options. I have thought of sewing to the back and the doing a decorative stitch on the front, my quilts are never show quality so that would be OK.

    One of the things I don't like about the hand stitching it on the back is often you can see these tiny bites (not the thread just where the stitch is) and then a hump, bite hump, bite hump, and it just looks strange/bad to me. Maybe I'm not making sense or I'm stressing over something that only I see.

    Well, thank you everyone for sharing how you do your binding, I always enjoy reading these things so that I have other ideas to try.

  15. #15
    Super Member Onebyone's Avatar
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    If I have a non pieced border I use wide binding turned to the front. If I have a pieced border I turn the wide binding to the back. I love how wide binding looks like a narrow border and not look like binding. And I discovered with wide binding the corners always have excellent miters on both sides.
    I love my life!

  16. #16
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I want to try a machine flanged binding soon, but have not been impressed with machine binding up to this point. So I attach to the top and hand stitch to the back side much like Tartan explained. One of the things that has really helped me is to switch to a poly thread that doesn't tangle or shred like the all cotton seemed to do. And from your description of the stitch/hump I'm wondering if your bindings are "thin" or not filled with bat/materials. I make sure when I'm trimming the quilt in prep for binding that I leave about 1/8" of bat overhanging where I plan to place the binding edge for sewing with my 1/4" seam. That way, when I roll the binding to the back there's a little bat to fill the binding roll. This seems to make the whole binding much smoother. If I cut a little to close, I'll tuck in a short string of bat as I bind that spot. I use those snap hair clips to hold the binding folded over and it makes the binding lay flat when I'm sewing.

  17. #17
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    I use a single thread and the ladder stitch when hand sewing my binding on. That is the most peaceful part of the quilt. It gives me a chance to look at the whole project and think about the person I'm giving to. Only takes a couple of evenings to finish a quilt. Have one in that stage right now!

  18. #18
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minibarn View Post
    Thank you everyone. I would like to know what not pressing the binding helps
    Hard to describe. Think about taking a magazine and roll it starting at the bound edge. The cut edge of the pages don't line up, they fan. When you sew the binding on the first side of the quilt, then roll it over, the side of the binding that's closest to the quilt rolls ever so slightly less than the half that's away from the quilt (like the fanning magazine edge). If you don't press the crease, it allows the binding to find the place that it naturally creases resulting in a smoother laying binding. It's subtle, but I find it makes a difference, plus you save time (and burnt fingers) by not pressing it in first.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  19. #19
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Paper Princess is correct.

    Another way I describe it to people is think about the track at your local high school. The outer lane is longer than the inner lane, right? So now think of your binding as a track. As the fabric curves from the top to the bottom, you have 2 layers of binding going around the raw edge of the quilt - you have an inner lane and an outer lane. If you don't press it, the fabric is free to adjust itself and make the inner lane shorter and the outer lane longer, and the binding will lay nice and flat. If you press it, the inner lane is forced to stay where it's at, and it bunches up in its "lane" (the inside layer of binding).

    Try it out - make placemats or mug rugs, do one pressed and one unpressed, see which one you like better. It seems like such a small, unimportant thing, but it really does make a difference.

  20. #20
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    I also have been machine sewing my bindings lately. I sew them to the back first and then sew them down to the front, stitching right on the edge of the binding. If the quilt is for a child or for charity it may be washed frequently, so this will hold it together nicely. I sometimes make a self binding, cutting the backing fabric about an inch all the way around, turning it under, and machine sewing it to the front, mitering as I go.

  21. #21
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I only hand sew binding on very special quilts. For quilts that will get many washings, I use the machine to sew my bindings and I am very pleased at how they hold up. I sew to the back and then flip to the front to sew it down and it works pretty good, I'm not a pro at it yet. When I do hand sew bindings, I use hair clips from the Dollar store to keep the binding in it's place, no more straight pins for me. Good Luck.

  22. #22
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    A fellow guild member told me about not pressing your binding in half (like Paper Princess suggested). I started doing it that way and found it was easier to get a nice miter on my corners without the pressed fold.
    People will see your quilts long after you're gone - NOT your housework!

  23. #23
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I machine sew mine. I press a 2.5" strip in half lengthwise and then sew it on the front of my quilt, mitering the corners. Then I take the time to turn it and (from the front) pin in the ditch, checking every few pins that I'm catching enough of the binding on the back. I use a lot of pins and pin close. Then, I can sew in the ditch from the top side, removing about two pins at a time as I work around. When I'm done I look to see if my stitching missed any of the binding edge and fix those spots if it did. With good pinning that doesn't usually happen.
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  24. #24
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    I respect and totally admire those who hand sew their bindings. I have never enjoyed it and prefer to machine sew my bindings. When making a child's quilt, I like to use a decorative stitch that is large and often use a coordinating thread. I do this because I want it to be very strong and can be thrown, pulled, tugged and generally abused without the worry of a binding coming loose. When I teach quilting, I do teach my students how to hand bind along with how I do it. I believe that everyone should figure out what they prefer and make their quilts as they want, without the worry of the 'quilt police' coming after them.

  25. #25
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I can't hand sew binding any more, I sew it all by machine. I sew it to the back of the quilt first and turn over to the front and stitch it down. I cut the binding strips 2 3/8" or 2 1/2" wide.
    Sharon in Texas

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