I've adopted this fast method of machine stitching the binding that looks just about as good as the traditional method. It's not that I mind hand-sewing, but with this method in a fraction of the time I can be on to making more quilts. There is a difference in how it looks but it's minor and not worthy of the quilt police writing you up. Check it out and I think you will agree.
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Step 1: Measurements
I'm using some bias-cut fabric that is 3 3/4 " wide. The finished binding will only measure a bit less than half an inch.
This 'ible assumes you have an almost finished quilt, and some fabric that you want to use for the binding. It does not need to be bias-cut since there are no curves to be following where the binding needs to give a little. In this case, well in all cases, I double (fold in half) the binding fabric and machine sew it onto the edge of the quilt's front side. The reason to have a binding at all is that's where the quilt takes the most use and abuse. The binding is there to protect the quilt's edges which is why it is doubled in half.
Step 2: Step 1
I like to fold my binding in half lengthwise and iron it to start. I think you should do this too. So, making sure any seams in the binding are going to be hidden when it's folded in half, line the unfolded edges up with the edge of your quilt and sew. I never pin here - if you have squared and trimmed your quilt nicely there is no need to. Leave a 10 inch tail and then just sew all around and when you get near the end stop 10 inches or so before you do and go look up a good way to make this joining up of ends as pretty and invisible as possible. Another 'ible on this subject may follow if I have time.
Step 3: Step 2
So now you have a quilt with the binding all sewn onto the top and at this point you want to fold it over to the other side. I like these little clips in the photos, but you can use pins too. Pins take longer but they are more accurate. In this step you absolutely must use something to hold the binding in place as you machine sew - yes! I said machine sew. And you are going to be sewing from the very same side - the top side of the quilt, that you just were sewing on.
Step 4: Step 3
Now, from the top side of your quilt, keeping your needle as close to the edge of the binding as you can, sew all around the quilt. You want to be watching every so often to be sure you are not missing the folded-over binding on the back side and also that you are not creating too large of a seam away from the edge.
Step 5: Mistakes
This technique takes a bit of practice and a little finesse. Mistakes will happen if you don't check periodically to make sure it's all staying lined up. When that happens just carefully pin it back in place - check where your pins go in on the front - along the edge of the binding, and where they come out on the back. Where the pin comes out in the back will be exactly where your stitches will be. Adjust the fold of the fabric to make everything line up perfectly.
Step 6: How Good It Looks From the Back Side
If you pick a top thread color that matches the top of the quilt, you can also pick a thread color for the bobbin that will match the binding - isn't that clever?
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