I think this is the first time I haven’t hand stitched a quilt binding in a very long time.
Quilt binding is something I’ve been playing around with recently (see the fringe binding here) and I’m convinced binding is the most underrated part of the quilting process.
Binding is fun way to finish off a quilt, or even add a touch of creativity. That’s why I chose to finish off my binding with a stitch from my Bernina.
And thankfully my Bernina had a ton of cool stitches to choose from! Adding decorative stitches to quilt binding was surprisingly easy, so let’s get started!
- An unbound quilt (already quilted, I used my new pattern: Petra!)
- Binding strips (mine are 2.25” x WOF)
- A sewing machine capable of decorative stitches
Preparing the Quilt for Binding
When I was learning to quilt as a child, there were some steps that I constantly forgot to do (or just skipped out of impatience) and preparing my quilt for binding was one of them.
There are some simple steps to ensuring an easy and seamless binding experience.
The first is to make sure your quilt is properly squared. This can be hard in smaller spaces, even in larger spaces!
Some quilters like to use lasers, but I generally stack rulers starting at the corners (you can see this technique here).
Squaring your quilt is going to make decorative stitching much easier.
After squaring, I usually iron my quilt (very lightly) to make sure there are not hidden wrinkles or anything like that.
Making Binding Strips
I generally use 2.25” wide strips for binding. Start by taking one strip end and laying it perpendicular on another strip end.
Sew a diagonal line corner to corner. Trim off the bits and iron it open.
Repeat until you have a very long strip with seam allowances on the same side.
Iron your strip in half lengthwise. I usually wrap my binding around a piece of cardboard or something stiff nearby.
That’s it! This giant strip is ready to become beautiful binding.
Attaching the Binding to the Quilt
Clip the binding to the front of your quilt with the fold of the binding strip facing the inner part of the quilt (the two loose sides will be sewn onto the perimeter edge).
Sew your binding on as you would normally, leaving a tail at the beginning and end to join at the end.
There should be a quilt with a long folded binding strip around the entire perimeter.
Lastly iron the binding flat so that it’s easier to fold over for the next steps.
Pick out a Decorative Stitch
Now the fun part! Before we commit, let’s spend some time exploring all of the fun stitches your machine has.
This step is vital because it shows you how long and wide your stitches are before you sew on your binding.
After trying out several stitches, pick your favorite and make note of the width, height and stitch name.
Using the Decorative Stitch
Fold your binding over and clip. Usually I would sew binding with the back up (it’s easier that way) but I liked the look of the decorative stitch top more than the bottom, so I folded the binding under.
This method meant that the top of the stitch showed on the front of the quilt rather than the back of the stitch.
Start sewing slowly, making sure to stitch close to the bottom of the binding. This ensures there won’t be flaring up fabric after washing.
Continue folding under and sewing until you reach a corner.
Stop about 4” from each quilt corner and fold the corners over, creating a miter. Clip the corner.
Continue stitching until you reach the corner, stitch almost to the edge, lower your needle, raise your foot, and turn the quilt.
Lower your foot and continue stitching. And that is how you add beautiful decorative stitches to your quilt binding!
So easy and it adds a super fun touch to all of your quilts!