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Thread: How I machine bind

  1. #1
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    How I machine bind

    We are too impatient to finish binding by hand. I have watched several videos, taken a couple of classes, and even bought gadgets, but I was never totally happy with how they turned out. Recently I decided to take all the things about bindings that I had learned, put the parts together that made sense to me, and see if I could do a better binding. After only a couple of quilts, I was finally happy with how the binding turned out.

    If any of these techniques look familiar, it's because there is nothing new under the sun. I have taken snippets from Patrick Lose, Red Pepper Quilts, Martelli Notions, Emerald Meadows, Creative Grids, and probably some others. I take no credit for the techniques; I just put them all together.

    I will probably have to break this up into several posts, and I may even do it over a period of time.

    I hope it helps someone.

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    First step - I use 2.5" binding strips. I got tired of the wonky way the strips went together when I just sewed the imaginary line from corner to corner. I had this ruler for cutting small pieces and found a video on YouTube that showed how you could use it to make 45* joins. It's called the "Quick Trim and Circle" ruler and I love it. Check out the YouTube video.

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    After the strips are joined, I fold it wrong sides together and press it closed. I start sewing it onto the back of the quilt about 2 feet from the bottom corner, leaving about a 12" tail. I use a seam allowance of just under 3/8" and a stitch length of 3.0.

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    While you're sewing, make sure your quilt has good support and there is NO "pull" at the needle. This requires a lot of maneuvering, but it is worth it.

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    When you come to the first corner, measure up from the end just less than 3/8" and place a pin. Sew to the pin. You can reduce your stitch length here if you need to so you can stop at the pin.

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    Stop at the pin with your needle down, raise your presser foot, and pivot the quilt so you are sewing at 45*, and sew off the corner of the quilt.

  2. #2
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I should have gone another stitch or two here, but you get the idea. A perfect 45* stitch is best here, but it is somewhat forgiving.

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    This pic is upside down, but you see that when you sew that 45*, it gives you a guide for your fold.

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    Fold your binding at the 45* angle, then back down the edge of the quilt. Go all the way around the quilt in the same way, stopping about 18" from where you started.

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    You now have a gap of 18" or so, and 2 tails.

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    Make sure you have enough tails to start trimming before you cut anything! When you have confirmed you do, trim one tail straight near the center of the gap. Make sure your quilt is flat and smooth on your surface. Lay the other tail over the first one and measure an overlap of 2.5" plus 3 or 4 threads. Cut the second tail.

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    Fold the right tail upward at 45*.

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    Leaving the bottom half of the left tail in place, open the left tail and lay the top corner onto the top corner of the right tail.

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    Pin the tails together, keeping the corners lined up. You will be sewing from the upper left corner to the lower right corner of the join.

  3. #3
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Sew from corner to corner (I know I just told you I hate doing that, but I haven't been brave enough to try trimming it first!). I use a 2.5 stitch length and my needle is in the center position.

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    Finger press the join open and lay your quilt out flat. Make sure the binding is not too short or too long.
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    When you're happy with the join, finish sewing the binding onto the back.
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  4. #4
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I should have mentioned this at the beginning, but it's a good idea to make a practice piece before you start on a real quilt. Two pieces of fabric with a scrap of your batting in the middle make a great practice piece. Mine was about 4" by 12" and then I wrote down all of my machine settings right on the fabric with a Sharpie. I have one for my machine and one for my wife's.

    I forgot to take pictures of sewing down the binding on the front. There are just a couple of important things to remember. I start sewing on the front in the same area I did on the back. When you fold your binding over, it should just cover your stitching from the back. I used a stitch length of 3.0 and set my needle a couple of clicks smaller than the 3/8" seam allowance I used on the back. Again, make sure there is NO drag on the quilt. My wife actually held the quilt up for me and kept it moving at the same speed as the feed dogs. When you get to the corners, make sure your miters go in opposite directions. I think of it sort of like nesting seams. You have to sort of estimate where to stop the needle using your almost 3/8" allowance. I like to take an extra stitch or two, then reverse to make sure the corner is tacked down good.

    I think that is everything. You can see a finished binding on this post: http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...r-t286389.html

    I welcome your comments or suggestions.

    Darren

  5. #5
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial
    Nancy in western NY
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  6. #6
    Super Member helou's Avatar
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    very nice tutorial thank you for taking the time to take and post all those pictures and very clear explanations.

  7. #7
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    A well done tut. on binding. Thank you.

  8. #8
    Super Member fivepaws's Avatar
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    Thank you. I will have to do a practice joining to make sure I follow you. The rest is pretty straight forward.
    All my grand-children have paws.

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    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Putting all the best ideas that work in one place. Thanks so much for doing this.
    peace
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  10. #10
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    I've never heard of sewing off the corner at 45 degrees to use as a guide for the mitre. Going to try that!
    Barbara

    Samuel Johnson - Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed, not by strength but by perseverance.

  11. #11
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    Yep, that is really good. and the way i do the end of the bindings too. works every time.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    Darren,
    This is such a great tutorial. Thank you for perfecting this. I HATE binding and I can't wait to try it your way. You have likely just changed my life!
    THANK YOU!
    Holli
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  13. #13
    Super Member tlpa's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this tutorial! And the pictures are terrific! My bindings are always sub-par, so can't wait to try your tips!

  14. #14
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    Kaye Wood shows how to do binding that way. She has a Youtube video showing how. I sew the binding to the back of the quilt first and then turn it over to the front and top stitch it down.
    Sharon in Texas

  15. #15
    Super Member Teddybear Lady's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing your technique with the pictures. I do my binding like this but have to look up how to finish the ends every time. haha

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Thanks for the share and blessings for all the frustrations you have prevented.

  17. #17
    Senior Member minibarn's Avatar
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    Great tutorial. I especially like the corner trick and the ending trick, yup will be trying both of those on my next quilt.

  18. #18
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    That is exactly the way I've always added my bindings to One side- it's then folded over to the other side and hand stitched down; that's the part I wish for tutorials- it is becoming difficult to hand stitch around a king sized quilt- fingers/ thumb cramp. Machine stitching that second side always looks terrible, ruins a beautiful quilt, or takes 10 times as long since I have to remove it all & hand stitch like I should have in the first place. Good tutorial for the first steps to binding.
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  19. #19
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    Very nice tutorial and the pictures are very helpful. I essentially do it the same way. After I stitch on the binding I press the binding very carefully, especially into the corners before turning it to the front side to stitch down. That really helps a lot so that the stitching is straight and in the proper place. Your discussion about mitering the corners is most clear and helpful. Thank you for your teaching on this area that seems to give lots of people lots of problems.

  20. #20
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    The only thing I have to add - for any "first" stitching of the binding -

    ALWAYS stop the seam width distance away from the end.

    Many books say "stop 1/4 inch from the corner" - which is fine and dandy if your seam width is 1/4 inch.

    I am happy to note that you stated your seam width is 3/8 inch and that you say to stop "just shy" of 3/8 inch.



    My finished bindings are close to 1/2 inch wide - so I stop "a hair or so" more than 1/2 inch from the corner.

  21. #21
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    Your clear photo of folding the right binding strip up 45 degrees when joining the ends is a life changer for me! On every quilt I wrestle and wrestle to align them correctly and half the time I sew them twisted. Thank you!

  22. #22
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LavenderBlue View Post
    Your clear photo of folding the right binding strip up 45 degrees when joining the ends is a life changer for me! On every quilt I wrestle and wrestle to align them correctly and half the time I sew them twisted. Thank you!
    Glad it's not just me that struggled with that. That piece of advice came from Emerald Meadows on YouTube and it has made my life much less stressful also!

  23. #23
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    Very interesting.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesing View Post
    You have to sort of estimate where to stop the needle using your almost 3/8" allowance. I like to take an extra stitch or two, then reverse to make sure the corner is tacked down good.
    I welcome your comments or suggestions. Darren
    No need to tack down anything. This is not going anywhere and the corner will be bulky enough without adding more thread.

    Thanks Darren for the wonderful tutorial. This is the best one I have seen on the subject. I have a few comments.
    At the beginning, you do not need any kind of "tool". Lay the binding strip ends at right angles to each other, RST. The sewing line can be marked so you don't have to eye-ball it. Fold the top over to form a triangle there. Finger pressing will show you where to sew. Or you can draw a line with a marker. Both ways make it easier to keep that line rather straight.

    When you start sewing down the binding, first fold the top edge of the binding strip so that the raw edge of the end of the strip is even with the raw edge of the length of the strip. Press this very well. Use pins, ironing, starch or whatever will keep that crease visible until you are finished sewing on the binding.

    You don't really need a 12 inch tail. I've done it with eight or even six. After you have made a few stitches, put a pin in the quilt above where you started. If you have an eight inch tail, put the pin in at sixteen inches above the beginning stitching. This is where you will stop sewing on the binding and take the quilt out of the machine to finish the last seam.

    No need to measure anything at the end. Lay the beginning tail onto the quilt as you will want it sewn. Pin it down two or three inches from the tip of the triangle. Put a pin at the base of the triangle. This is where the strip end has been folded over. The base will be the width of the binding strip, no matter what width you make your binding strip.

    Lay the ending tail over the triangle, giving it a little tug to keep it snug. Pin a few inches from the end.

    Now comes the important part. Cut off that end at the base of the triangle. That's where you should have a pin.

    After it is cut, you can finish it as you have pictured. Very good pictures. BUT! Now there is a crease in the top piece, and that is where you will do the sewing. Easy peasy!

    After you have tested it to find out if you did it right and it will work, you need to press that seam open and then trim out those little triangles. This is the part you missed in the tutorial.

    You did a good job. Keep up the good work.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  25. #25
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    I do all my baby quilts and charity quilt bindings by machine, but my stitching on the front does not stay on the back binding. I've pressed, pinned, clipped and still go off on the backside. I usually use 2-1/2" bindings as well. Suggestions?
    Thanks. Love all you have done. Thanks.

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