Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rounding the Corners

As I mentioned yesterday, I shot some pix of the blue & white table runner as I put the binding on.  There are all kinds of great tutorials on the web about how to cut, piece and sew on your binding and a bunch of different approaches.  Do a web search, try out some different techniques, then settle on the approach you like best.  Here are random thoughts on binding:

Binding/corner on a quilt I made for my mom

I never cut bias bindings.  Never.  OK, I did it once in Korea, when I co-taught a class with a friend of mine.  She was demo-ing how to do it, so I tried it out.  I just didn't care for the stretchiness and that it seemed to waste fabric.  Personal opinion only.  I like nice sharp, crispy corners ... so I avoid bias.  But I did try it - which is good!

Next thought - I cut my bindings anywhere between 1 3/4" to 2 1/2" wide, depending on the project.  I used to do a lot of mini work, hence the thinner binding.  I wouldn't be surprised if I went smaller than that a time or two, but it's nothing I recommend.  LOL!  My "go-to" size is 2 1/4".  Once that's folded in half, stitched to the front, then folded and hand-stitched to the back, you've got a nice little accent.  That's all I'm looking for.  Well, that and finishing off those raw edges.

I did a video for a friend on how to start and stop your binding.  It was really, really bad; filming yourself and explaining as you go isn't as easy as you'd think.  I insert the end of my binding into the beginning - and hand-stitch.  (OK, fine... for comic relief, click here.  It's not my finest hour, but Donna knew what I meant!!!  ...and I swear, my voice isn't like that!)

Now about those corners! They are NOT hard! And though I avoid mitering borders and "block parts", you can get lovely miters like this...

You're sewing the binding on, humming down that first side. Stop 1/4" before the corner. Take the quilt out of your machine and turn it to come down the next side. Flip the binding away from you, making sure the raw edge is in perfect alignment with the edge of the quilt. Like so:

IMG_2403 Binding 90° angle

I don't cut away excess batting and backing until I have my binding on.  I'm not sure why.

Bring the binding straight down toward you, making a sweet fold right along the raw edge of the side you just sewed -- 

IMG_2404 Binding 90° angle
See that beautiful 45 degree angle under the ruler?  Gorgeous!

See where the ruler is? Fold the fab right over that!

IMG_2405 Binding 90° angle

Perfect! Take the ruler out - then stitch straight down this side!

IMG_2406 Binding 90° angle

So that's the 90-degree corners.  But what about those pesky greater-than-90-degree corners!?!

DSCN1317 Blue and White Table Runner
Greater-than-90-degree corner

Just as easy - honest!!!  (Check this tute!)  For these corners, I do make a mark 1/4" before the edge I'm sewing toward.

IMG_2407 Binding Larger Than 90° angle
Can you see the blue chalk mark in there?

Sew until you hit that, then stop. Or do a backstitch and then stop. That's probably a better idea. Then - it's the same thing! Remover the project from your machine, turn it with that next stretch of non-bound side is coming at you, and lay the binding out away from you -- line up those raw edges!

IMG_2408 Binding Larger Than 90° angle

It looks a little different. Just take your time, don't stretch anything, just let it lay nice and easy. Grab that ruler again!

Line that up perpendicular to the edge you're about to sew and fold the binding over the ruler:

IMG_2409 Binding Larger Than 90° angle

Again, remove the ruler, don't make anything "tight", just let it lay easy, and stitch on down.  Piece of cake - honest.

I happen to enjoy the process of turning it to the back and hand-stitching it on.  I use hair clips (exact same product they sell in quilt shops as "binding clips" only MUCH cheaper!) to hold my binding on as I sew.  I'll shoot a pic and share next time.  I'll also field a couple of the great questions you all have left as comments!  

Until then - thanks for reading!


  1. Since I don't even know how to sew this was Greek to me! It seems so complicated but you do such a beautiful job! Love the corner on the quilt you made for your mom!

  2. You lost me at selvedge :) Your voice sounded fine to me!

  3. Your video is the bestest ever, Miss Karen! Mom watches it every time she needs to bind and it gives her the courage that she needs again and again. Thank you!


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