Binding is typically the last step in quilting, but it's one of the most important steps. Binding puts the finishing touches on any quilting project.
Binding for a quilt may be made from strips of fabric that match or coordinate with the fabrics used in the quilt. These strips may be cut on the straight grain or on the bias. Straight binding is easier to cut and apply. Quilts that have curved edges require bias binding. Also, bias binding is stronger and tends to last longer. You can also purchase quilt binding and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
To make straight binding, cut strips of fabric 31/4 inches wide (or follow directions listed with an individual quilt pattern) on the lengthwise or crosswise grain. For each side of the quilt you will need a strip the length of that side plus two inches. For example, if the side measures 40 inches long, cut your strips 42 inches long.
Baste around the quilt 1/4 inch from the outer edge. Make sure all corners are square, and trim any excess batting or fabric. Prepare each strip of binding by folding it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Find the center of each strip. Also find the center of each side of the quilt.
Place the binding strip on top of the quilt, aligning the raw edges of the strip and of the quilt and matching the centers. Stitch a 1/2-inch seam from one end of the quilt to the other. If you use an even-feed walking foot instead of the regular presser foot, it will be easier to keep the binding and the quilt smooth.
Trim excess binding from each end. Fold the binding to the back of the quilt, and slip-stitch it in place. Repeat for the opposite side of the quilt. Attach the binding to the other two sides of the quilt using the same procedure, but do not trim the ends of the binding. Instead, fold the excess binding over the end of the quilt. Holding the end in place, fold the binding to the back of the quilt and slip-stitch in place.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Remember not to trim the ends of the binding when attaching it to the ends of the quilt.