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How many ways can you bind a quilt?

Binding just might be the most controversial topic in the quilting world.

For some, it’s the frame that finishes off the quilt. For others, it’s an annoying afterthought. Some quilters insist that there’s only one right way to bind a quilt.

colorful scrappy binding on the Glitch quilt by Geeky Bobbin
Pattern: Glitch

I’m not going to weigh in on the debate. Instead, I’m going to share a an epic list of tutorials to help you choose your favourite technique to bind your next quilt. Feel free to debate in the comments!

First Things First: How much fabric and how many strips do you need?

If you’re following a pattern, it probably tells you the yardage for binding and many strips to cut. If you modified the pattern, made an improv quilt, or aren’t following a pattern, my Magical Rainbow of Binding™ will save you from having to pull out a calculator.

The Magical Rainbow of Binding is a free printable quick reference that gives you the length of binding, number of WOF strips, and yardage needed for any size of quilt, without using a calculator

NEW!! Making Binding

Ever messed up by joining the wrong side of your binding together? I sure have! Save yourself some seam ripping with these tips:

Attaching the Binding

striped quilt binding attached on a 120 degree corner. tula pink fabrics. quilt by geeky bobbin

I first learned how to attach binding by machine from a 3-part episode of Quilty. The first 3 or 4 quilts that I made, I watched, paused, rewound, repeated these videos a dozen times.

Machine Finishing

Finishing machine binding by stitching in the ditch from the front on the Retro Tetro quilt by Geeky Bobbin. Fabrics by Libs Elliott

When I finish my binding by machine, I press A LOT, and glue baste to keep everything nice and crisp and well lined up. Shelly from Ma Tante Quilting has a great step by step video that shows her process, which is nearly identical to mine. Watch it here, then catch the difference (mitred corners) here.

Pattern: Retro Tetro

Back of mitred corner on quilt binding attached and finished by machine. The Fortress quilt by Libs Elliott, quilted and bound by Geeky Bobbin

Big Stitch

Big stitch binding.

I love the look and stability of the big stitches that Erica uses in her tutorial for big stitch binding with perle cotton.

(Sorry for the awful picture. That’s my crappy stitching, and apparently I didn’t save the picture before posting it to my Instagram stories.)

Pattern: Intersectional

Attaching on a Longarm

roll of binding about to be attached on a longarm. Intersectional quilt by geeky bobbin. fabrics by Mister Domestic.

I love my longarm like my cats love destroying my sofa. I’ll use it any time I can get away with it, and that includes attaching binding to a quilt. The quilt is already stretched out, I have channel locks that make a straight line quick and easy. If you have a longarm, you should check out this tutorial and give it a try.

Pattern: Intersectional

Pieced and Matched

Pieced and matched binding on the Moonrise quilt by geeky bobbin

Before Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop posted about lining up bindings it had never occurred to me that I could piece my binding at right angles. I always piece my binding on a 45 degree angle and press open to avoid bulk. I used Andrea’s technique on my Moonrise quilt, and the effect was great!

Pattern: Moonrise

Facing

Faced binding on the Daybreak quilt by geeky bobbin

For a modern wall hanging, a faced binding gives a very crisp, minimal look when a traditional binding would distract from the piece. Audrey of Cotton and Bourbon has an excellent tutorial on faced binding.

Pattern: Daybreak

Bonus: Flanged binding

This one looks fancy and has been on my to-try list for a while. It seems like an excellent way to finish binding by machine without having to worry about how the stitches will look. Check out the faux-flanged binding tutorial by Becca of Pretty Piney. Note that you can still use the total binding length calculation, but this won’t match up with the yardage calculations on the Magical Rainbow of Binding™.

Bonus: Scrappy Binding

Whether you have leftover yardage, extra blocks, or corners that were trimmed off from on-point blocks, you can stitch together leftover crumbs, then cut them down to make strips of crazy binding. Keep adding on until you have the length indicated on the Magical Rainbow of Binding™.

Bonus: Cutting continuous bias binding

If you want to cut your binding on the bias, whether you need it to go around curves or just like the look of a diagonal stripe, here’s a tutorial for cutting continuous bias binding. Again, this doesn’t necessarily match up with the yardage calculations on the Magical Rainbow of Binding™, just the total length needed.

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