Yay! Your latest quilt top is finished.
The design is stellar, the piecing precise, and the quilting is to die for. So why is your quilt still not bound? Many quilters avoid this last step, saving it for the last minute. I’ve been known to stay up all night (yes, all night) before a quilt was due for a show because, as my mom would say, I “put off for tomorrow what could have been done today”. And she’d be right. Because although most of us know very well how to bind a quilt, binding can be tedious and time consuming. It is often considered a thankless job or an afterthought that has little merit other than completing the quilt. It is a chore.
But hold on! Binding not only is an important component that makes a quilt useful and useable, it is also the last chance you have to make a design decision and impact the entire look of the quilt! Just think: you can add color and pattern; you can frame your piece with contrast; you can match the colors in the quilt top and make a color-changing binding; or you can face your quilt and ditch the binding all together.
Most of us know how to make a French fold binding but there are so many other options. Read on to learn how Kristine Lundblad, Associate Editor of Modern Patchwork magazine, uses the technique of creating a scrappy pieced binding for the cover project in the September/October 2018 issue.
Kristine’s Pieced Binding Instructions
1. To create the pieced binding as shown on the “Woven Lightning” quilt, sew 3 blue binding strips together with diagonal seams, creating one continuous piece. Repeat with orange binding strips. The blue binding will cover the lower right half of the quilt and the orange will cover the upper left.
2. Working with the orange, start at the bottom left corner with the blue and orange blocks meet. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and lightly pin along the F and E blocks. Sew the binding, starting after this pinned portion and continuing up and along the upper left half, mitering the corners until near the end of the blue blocks. Stop sewing 8″ from the orange blue junction.
3. Measure from where the sewing stopped to the orange/blue junction, adding ¼” for seam allowance and trim the orange binding strip to this length. Sew end-to-end with the blue binding strip. Press the seam open and pin to the quilt top, aligning the seam at the orange/blue junction.
4. Sew from the stopping point down and along the lower right half, mitering both corners. Backstitch 1: beyond the final corner.
5. Complete this end-to-end seam as described in step 3 at the orange/blue junction. Tip: hand sew this seam.
6. Press the seam open and pin to the quilt top, aligning the seam at the orange/blue junction. Finish sewing the binding
7. Fold the binding over and sew by hand to the back of the quilt.
Want to learn more about how to bind a quilt with a bit of pizzazz?
Check out Modern Patchwork September/October 2018 for not one, not two, but three great methods. Before you know it, you’ll be binding like a pro! And if three are not enough, you’ll find seven additional expert and artful ways to bind a quilt with Susan Brubaker Knapp’s informative video, Fabulous Finishes.