How To Bind A Quilt

This is the next post in the “How To Make A Quilt” tutorial series.

You should have your quilt pieced and quilted.
Almost finished! We just need to finish it off with binding! 🙂

How To Bind A Quilt - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

The binding tutorial I am about to show you is just one way to bind a quilt.
I believe that it is very easy to understand and gives you the best result, especially for a beginner.

The first thing that you need to do is find out how much fabric you will need for your binding.

To do this you need to know the perimeter of your quilt.
Measure all the edges and then add 8 inches.

You will be making strips 2 1/2″ wide for your binding.

Most fabric is 44″ wide. We take this into consideration when deciding how much fabric we need.

Take the perimeter of your quilt and add 8″. For our example, our quilt perimeter will be 80″. We add 8″, making it 88″. Now since our strips are 2 1/2″ wide, we multiply the 88″ by 2 1/2″ to get 220″. Because fabric is 44″ wide, divide the 220″ by 44″. You would get 5″. A 1/4 yard of fabric is 9″, therefore if you order 1/4 yard of fabric, you will have plenty of fabric for your binding.

Make sure your fabric is free of wrinkles and lay it out.

Now you will cut the fabric into 2 1/2″ strips.

After your strips are cut, we will sew them together to make one long strip.

This long strip will be the perimeter of your quilt plus 8″. You can definitely have more than that.
In fact, I always overestimate because I’d rather cut off excess than not have enough.

After all the pieces are sewn together, press the seams.

Now we will fold the strip in half and press.

Next we will pin the folded strip down to our quilt.
Lay your strip down with the raw edge side along the edge of the quilt.

Start in the center of one side, NOT on a corner.
You will leave a bit of fabric unpinned, about 4″.
We’ll call this a tail.

Continue pinning until you get to the corner.
Pinning and sewing the corner is a little different.

It is really hard to explain in words, so hopefully the pictures will be enough.
Basically, you get to the end of the side and pin. You will not be pinning on the end, but about an inch before.

Then you will bring the strip of fabric back and fold it so it ends up in a 90 degree angle.
Then pin about 1″ from the other edge.

The end result should look like these pictures below.

Finish pinning all around the quilt.
When you get to the end, make sure to leave another tail.

Now we are going to start sewing around the quilt.
Start at the first pin.
Sew around the quilt using about a 1/4″ seam.
Make sure to backstitch.

Now the stitching on the corners is just a little tricky.
What you will do is stitch until ALMOST the end.
*Make sure to not stitch the fabric under the fold. It needs to be free to fold over when we’re done.*
When you almost get to the end, stop and lift up your pressure foot and needle. Carefully move the fabric over and turn your quilt.
Then bring your needle and pressure foot down and continue sewing until the next corner and repeat.

Continue stitching until you get to the last pin before the tail.
Stop there and backstitch.

Now put down the first tail along the edge.
Pin the end down, leaving just a little bit of fabric.

Bring the other tail over and pin it about 1/2″ before the first pin.

Now we will cut the excess fabric on the tail.
Cut about 1/4″ after the first pin.

Unpin and take the two tails and open them up, right sides together.

Sew the fabric together using a 1/4″ seam.

Then you will use your fingers to press the seam open.

Fold the strip in half once again.

Finish stitching the edge of the binding down.
Start a little before where you ended and end where you started first stitching the binding.
Make sure to backstitch.

Now we will cut off the excess batting and backing fabric.
Cut it to leave about 1/4″ of batting.
We can always cut more when we sew the binding down.

Next we’re going to finish the binding!
You can do this on the machine, but it can be difficult and not look that great, especially for beginners.

I like to hand-stitch the edge down.
It takes a few hours, but if you do it while you’re watching a good movie, you’ll never miss the time! 🙂

Start in the center of a side, fold over the binding, and pin down part of the binding.
I use only 4-5 pins at a time.
Pin the edge so it covers the stitching from when we sewed the binding on.

Now get your needle and thread out.
You will want a pretty long piece of thread.
Tie a knot in one end and just leave the other end hanging.

Put your first stitch under the binding on the back fabric.

Pull it through and then stitch a little over on the binding.
Do it on the inside fabric; you don’t want to poke through the entire thing.
Then pull it down.

Now you will do two stitches, one on the bottom and one on the top, for each time you pull the thread.
The bottom stitch will be directly below your previous stitch you did on the top.
The next stitch, on the top, will be a little bit over.

Then you’ll pull it through and keep stitching until you get to the end. 🙂

The corners are a little different. You will stick the quilt inside the binding and then fold the corner to how you’d like. Stitch it down.

As you stitch, you’ll have to repin as you go.
It may come loose as you stitch, so continue to pull and tighten your thread every few stitches.

When you get to the end, just take a couple stitches under the binding and tie a knot.

You’re all finished!
Now you have a beautiful quilt that is completely done.
It’s a wonderful feeling!!

And if you’re like me, you can’t wait to do another one! 🙂

If you have any questions, suggestions (especially if you caught a mistake! :)), or comments, you can leave a comment or email me at

Good luck!

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  1. amanda at every crea
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I love this quilt! I want to make one for each of my kids! I love the name on the quilt the most. I have been thinking about binding a quilt so this tute is perfect! Thank you so much!

  2. Audrey
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Love this tutorial! I’ve been so scared to make a quilt because of the binding. I think I can actually make one now, thanks!

  3. jessica collins
    Posted June 7, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Is the binding done from one piece for the front and one for the back or do you lay the layers of the quilt in between the folded edge then sew it? I want to learn to quilt but its intimidating and may as well be in latin.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 24, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Hi Jessica! Thank you for your questions. Shirley suggests lining up the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the layers of the quilt. You sew, and then fold over the folded edge and sew that by hand or with the machine. It can definitely be intimidating, but just like most things once you start doing it and practicing, it starts to make more sense and it’s one of the best feelings to finish a quilt! Good luck! I hope this helps. Have fun and thank you again! Michelle 🙂

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