How (not) to bind a quilt

I’m not a consistent blogger. Or a consistent quilter. But circumstances in my life have led me back to my sewing room. I’ve been working on a baby quilt for a friend. It’s all quilted and trimmed and ready for binding.

I just couldn’t get anything to work.

Making the binding went well enough, and I got the first two sides stitched down. Then, no matter how I plan, I always end with a seam on the corner. Oh, if only that was all of my trouble. When I backed up at that corner, I forgot to put my presser foot back down after I pivoted the corner, so my machine started skipping stitches. I thought I got it figured out when I realized there was a birds nest of thread growing on the back.

Finally, I got everything to work and got to the joining ends stage. Now, for the record, I used to work at a quilt shop. I’ve actually taught classes on binding. I used to get paid to teach how to do this very thing.

I could not get the ends to join properly. The measuring part went easily enough. It’s always a bit tricky to wrangle the bulk of the quilt and get that last seam sewn. I kept ending up with a twist. I ripped 3 or 4 times. Finally, I stepped away from the machine and just stood at my table looking at it. “Let’s think about this logically,” I said to myself. “This part has to attach to this part, so I need to move this here, pin that there.” And at long last, it worked!

To prevent this from happening to you, I’ve compiled my favorite binding tips and tricks.

      1. Don’t use a batik fabric for binding.
      2. If you must use a batik, remember that though they’re identical, there is a right and a wrong side of the fabric.
      3. Stop trying to sew the right side to the wrong side of fabric.
      4. When you sew the right side to the wrong side for the third or fourth time, take a break, and don’t be surprised that the binding is all twisted up.

In the end, I got it together, and now I’m happily hand stitching the binding to the back.

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