Easy ways of binding patchwork quilts for beginners

Written by margaret mills
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Easy ways of binding patchwork quilts for beginners
A patchwork quilt is one type of quilt made of fabric pieces. (patchwork 1 image by Nathalie P from Fotolia.com)

A patchwork quilt is essentially a fabric sandwich with a polyester fiberfill batting between a top of creatively pieced fabric and a backing of whole cloth. The finishing step in assembling a quilt, after it is machine or hand quilted, is to create a binding around the outer edge. A binding creates a neat finish and adds durability. Sew a quarter-inch seam around the quilt edge before applying the binding on most quilts.


Trim the batting to match the quilt top. The backing should be 1 inch larger around than the top. Fold up a half an inch of the backing edge and crease it with a hot iron. Turn the edge again so the fold comes over the quilt top. Sew along the fold by hand or machine. Self-binding is an easy way to coordinate the quilt colours: the backing makes a nice border around the quilt.

Envelope binding

Finish the top and quilt it to the batting, but not the backing fabric. Cut the backing fabric to exactly fit the top and batting. Place the back on the quilt top, right sides together and stitch a quarter-inch seam around three sides. Trim the seams by cutting away any uneven fabric or batting. Clip the corners by trimming off a little triangle. Do not cut through the stitching. Turn the quilt right-side-out, then press so the backing is not visible from the front. Fold and press the open edges inward a quarter of an inch and stitch the opening closed.

Bias Binding with Mitered Corners

Place the binding on the quilt top, raw edges aligned, beginning at 12 inches from a corner. Begin sewing 6 inches from the corner, leaving a 6-inch "tail" free of stitching. Sew the binding to the quilt through all layers with a quarter-inch seam. Mitre the corners by marking the seam one-fourth of an inch from the corner. Sew to the mark, then pivot and sew at an angle to the corner tip. Fold the binding up along the stitching to make a 45-degree angle, then back down to cover the fold. Sew the binding along the next edge. Stop sewing about 12 inches from where you began and connect the two binding ends by sewing them together, right sides together, with a quarter-inch seam at an angle. You will need to trim the material to fit. Turn the binding back and finish sewing it to the quilt edge. Fold the binding over the quilt edge, fold under a quarter of an inch and hand stitch it to the backing.

Straight Grain Binding with Lapped Corners

Cut four binding strips, one for each quilt edge with 2 inches extra at each end. Place the binding for the sides on the quilt top, raw edges together, and sew through all layers. Fold the binding to the back, turning under a quarter-inch and hand stitching it to the backing. Trim the ends even with the quilt top and bottom, then attach the end binding strips in the same manner. Fold them back and stitch, then trim them evenly with the quilt edge.

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