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Binding Instructions

Photography: Anna Williams

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2007


The following text is excerpted from "Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson.

Binding How-To

1. Attach Binding
Fold the pieced binding strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, but do not press the strip. Beginning in the middle of one long side on the quilt front, align and pin together the binding's doubled raw edges and the quilt's raw edges to within 1/4 inch of the corner Start sewing the binding to the quilt with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, beginning 5 inches from the starting edge of the pinned binding (so when you return to your starting point, you'll have enough extra unattached binding fabric to finish the binding nicely). Stop sewing the binding when you're 1/4 inch from the corner. Take a couple of backstitches, and remove the quilt and binding form the machine. Trim the thread tails.

2. Make Mitered Corners
Turn the quilt so the edge with the sewn binding runs horizontally across the top. Fold the binding strip perpendicular to the sewn section and away from blanket (straight up); then fold the binding strip perpendicular again, this time toward the quilt (straight down). The second fold should be even with the upper edge of the quilt. Pin the corner in place; then align, pin, and sew the binding's raw edges along the quilt's second side, again stopping 1/4 inch from next corner. Backstitch at the end of this seam, and remove the quilt from the machine. Trim the thread tails. Repeat the process of mitering and pinning the binding at corners and sewing it to the remaining sides, stopping when you get 10 inches from where you began attaching the binding on the first side.

3. Finish Ends
Unfold the loose ends of the binding strips. Fold under the end of the first strip 1/2 inch to the wrong side, and finger-press the fold in place. Lay the second strip on top of the first, and trim the second strip about 1 1/2 inches longer than the first strip (trim the second strip's end diagonally to reduce bulk inside the seam). Fold the second strip back in half lengthwise, and fold the first strip around the second strip, so it covers the second strip's raw end. Align, pin, and sew the four edges of the two strips folded together with the edge of the blanket. Backstitch at the end of the seam, and remove the quilt from the machine. Trim the thread tails.

4. Hand-Stitch Back of Binding
You'll finish the binding by folding it to the other side of the quilt and hand-stitching it in place. The mitered corners should automatically fold into place nicely. Thread a hand-sewing needle with a length of thread about 18 inches (or no longer than your arm). Make a quilter's knot at the thread's end. Draw the needle down through the seam allowance on the back of the quilt, and then back up just a few threads outside of this seam allowance. Fold the binding to the back of the quilt, and secure it by blindstitching its folded edge every 1/8 inch around the quilt and picking up no more than two threads of the quilt back beyond the seam allowance with each stitch. Use an extra stitch at the mitered corners to anchor them securely. While sewing around the quilt, as you come to the end of your thread, knot and tie off the thread ends inside the seam allowance. Then anchor the knot of your new thread length in the seam allowance as well.

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