Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Machine Binding = Finished!

I've had the question posed on how I do machine bindings. I bound these two coordinating quilts this past weekend, and I can't show them yet because they are going to be patterns (soon), so here are some sneak peeks combined with some machine binding tips.

A little note: I prepare my bindings the same whether I'm doing them all by machine, or just applying by machine and hand stitching them down on the back. I normally cut my binding strips 2 3/8" wide because I generally use a thin batting, and on the cross wise grain (from selvage to selvage). This neat binding fabric just looks like it's cut on the bias because the stripe on the fabric is set on the diagonal. I generally only use bias binding if I'm going around a curved or scalloped edge.

Next, the main difference with machine binding is that instead of applying it to the front and turning it around the edge and whip stitching it down to the back, I sew the binding to the back of the quilt as shown in the first picture using about a 1/4" seam allowance. This allows me to do the machine top stitching on the front of the quilt where I want it to look the best. (My friend Mary Nielsen of Keep Me In Quilts long arm quilted these, and in some of the pictures you can see her fun free motion flowers)

The next step is to wrap the binding over to the front of the quilt, and top stitch it down. (I do use my walking foot for all the steps in attaching binding, it just helps with all the layers that are be passed under the presser foot.)

The only place I pin in this process is at the corner. As I approach the corner, I stop and turn up the bottom and pin it, then I turn over the remainder of the side that I am sewing on. Then I just sew to the corner (removing the pin slowly as I approach the point of it), and (with needle down) I pivot at the fold in the corner, then continue to sew down the next side.

On this quilt I top stitched the binding with a simple straight stitch because the binding and border are pretty busy, but a blanket stitch or other decorative machine stitch can be used on the edge of the binding for a fun effect. (You can click on any of the pictures for a more close up view.)

This is actually the second of the two coordinating quilts (they both had the same border and binding, but they did have different backing fabrics). Here you can see the top stitch on the front and where it fell on the back. For this reason I used a thread color in the top that coordinates with the binding, but in the bobbin I use a color that works well with the backing fabric.

I don't always do my bindings completely by machine, but there is a place for it. It's so much faster than stitching it down by hand, and allows for more quilts to get finished ~ and finished is a good goal too :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn


Pat said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I've never done one by machine as I'm afraid it will look "messy" on the back with the stitching not being in a consistent location on the back. I guess I should try it on a small piece that is being kept by me sometime soon.

Kathleen said...

I have to try my corners that way. I usually fold over the side I'm working on and fold the new side over on top. The way you do it makes more sense. Pretty fabrics.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

I agree. I also have used a decorative stitch on my binding. Finished is good!

Bethany said...

Love the binding on this quilt. The diagonal stripes really set it off.

Sandra said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I have just started doing some machine binding. Had not thought to stitch to the back first, but that makes a lot of sense. Thanks again,

Kim's Crafty Apple said...

Looks fantastic! I haven't had much luck with machine binding but I may have to try again :)

SheilaC said...

LOVE that binding!

I have tried machine stitching the binding, and I think it looks okay. At least I get the quilt done this way!
Plus I wasn't always happy with my hand stitching either....


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Great tips Dawn! I do some of my bindings all by machine (but a different method) especially for baby and child quilts and table toppers that will be washed often.