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There's More Than One Way To Bind A Quilt

If you missed it, I've got how to do traditional binding all laid out here. If you're ready for some other great binding tips and methods then you're in the right place. Some of the links in this tutorial helps keep this blog afloat.

#1 Use a walking foot when stitching the binding to the first side of your quilt and you won't need pins. Wait wait wait... What's a walking foot? A walking foot moves fabric from above while the feed dogs move the fabric from below. The result is binding that lays flat, like flat as a pancake. I was in shock the first time I used a walking foot for binding. It was truly AMAZING!!! Here's the one I use, the Bernina brand one was just too expensive and this one works great on my machine. Typically these feet have a quarter inch mark right inside the toe, see that notch? Makes it easy to line up binding! When you put your walking foot on, make sure that the bar on the right of the foot is over the screw holding your needle in. Walking feet are also great for quilting your quilt! The adjustable bar all the way on the right is a guide to keep quilting lines evenly spaced. A walking foot is so worth the investment!

#2 When stitching binding to the first side, pause as you approach a corner, mark 1/4" from the edge of the quilt. When you get to the mark, leave the needle down in the mark, briefly lift the presser foot to rotate the quilt toward the point of the corner. Resume stitching to the point of the corner.

#3 Simpler way to connect binding ends. So you've stitched the binding down almost all the way around your quilt and you're back to where you started. Now there are two loose ends of the binding strip. Lay them one over the other so they overlap. Trim the end on top so the overlap is the same width of the binding. For example, I typically use 2 1/2" wide binding strips so I need an overlap of 2 1/2".

Then unfold and rotate one end 90 degrees. Line up the corners of the unfolded top and unfolded bottom ends and stitch the diagonal. You can pin them first and check that they're right. Another option is to baste the diagonal to check it.

#4 Press the binding from the front before flipping in to the back. Why this step, because it makes the binding so crisp and pretty. It lies so flat with the quilt. I know one more step... I just want this quilt to be done! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

#5 Use binding clips to hold the binding in place when hand stitching the second side. Genius invention and no pins necessary. This is my Exploding Peppermints Quilt, get the pattern here!

#6 When hand stitching, use a needle minder or two magnets to keep track of your needle. I really wish I had come up with this clever idea. Needle minders are simply two magnets, one goes on the inside of your shirt and the other on the outside. When your needle isn't in your hand, stick it on the needle minder, never lose a needle again, well almost never. There are some really cute ones out there! Like this bee from CaffeinatedCatCrafts.

#7 Not a fan of hand stitching? Use a blind hem foot for machine stitching down the binding on the second side or use a binding foot for both sides! Does anyone have either of these feet? What do you think of them?!? I've really been wanting to try both of these methods.

#8 For a full binding, trim your quilt top leaving 1/4" of batting all the way around but clip a little of the extra batting off the corners. Attach the binding as usual, lining it up with the raw edge of the quilt top. When you flip it to the other side, the binding will be full of that extra batting. I just tried this on my Exploding Peppermints quilt and had no issue hand stitching the binding to the back. At first glance, it looks like other binding but upon a closer look, it does look more full. The big difference comes in how it feels. It's so solid, no empty space! Why not use that little bit of batting? It's already there!

I'd love to hear about the tricks you use to bind your quilts!

Happy Quilting!

- Jen




Hi! I'm Jen, a quilt pattern designer and teacher. I founded Snapdragon Quilting in the spring of 2022 in memory of my beloved Grandma Louise, a skilled seamstress and crafter who grew beautiful snapdragons in her garden. I've been sewing for as long as I can remember and began passionately crafting quilts of my own creation in 2006. My quilt patterns bring bold and vibrant designs that blend traditional piecing methods with contemporary techniques. I love to play with color and contrast so you'll find lots of layout and color options in my patterns. Whether you're new to quilting or making your 100th quilt, you're in the right place, because here at Snapdragon Quilting, quilt patterns make sense. 

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