Straight of Gain Binding Strip
Once you have calculated the amount of fabric it is time to begin the measuring and slicing process.
The goal is to create a single length of fabric, made from multiple widths of fabric, joined diagonally to reduce seam bulk.
This tutorial covers standard strips and joins to achieve a clean line for your binding.
The total length should be twice the height plus twice the width of your quilt plus 12 inches to allow for corners and joining. Trust me you do not want to have too little binding fabric once you start sewing it onto your quilt. Too much is a far better option.
Slice Your Fabric
Create your strips by cutting across the width of your fabric, this way you will have far fewer joins to create. Simply cut strips of 2 1/2 inches deep for the full width of the fabric, as per your calculations see example below.
The number of strips would be the total length of binding divided by the width of your fabric.
For our example of a 50×70 inch quilt cut from a block of fabric 40 inches wide this would take:
So I would cut 7 strips, lots of excess wiggle room is better than not enough fabric.
Iron in Half
A clean edge will be useful when hand stitching for a professional finish to you quilt. Not only will this create a neat edge but it also ensure you can quickly and easily tell which is the right side of the fabric. Not such an easy job when you are under an eight foot square quilt at the sewing machine!
- Fold the fabric strips in half along the length with wrong sides together and press.
Begin to attach the strips
This is now the time to concentrate on angles. We are not using complicated geometry; just a simple 90 degree right angle. You can manage that right?
- Place one strip unfolded with the right side up horizontally. *Quick Tip* If using plain fabric the ironed fold will point up on the right side of the fabric.
- Place a second strip with wrong side down, ironed fold pointing down, vertically on top.
- Mark a line from top left to lower right, this will become your sew line.
- Pin the fabric together to check the alignment.
- Fold the fabric back right side out. If all is well the ironed lines should match up nicely when turned right sides out. If not the adjust until they do.
- Turn back to the wrong side and sew along the hem line, removing pins before sewing over them with your machine.
- Check by turning right side out again to ensure your ironed edges line up, they should do but if not don’t panic.
Simply unpick the two or so inches of stitches and go through these steps again until it aligns ever so nicely.
- Rinse and repeat for all strips until a single continuous piece has been created. You will be making lots of these joins and it will become much easier and quicker as chain stitching once you get going.
- Now you can remove all the unwanted triangles from the joins. These can be cut using either scissors or rotary cutter, but be very careful you are cutting on the correct side of the sewn seam! Do not slice on the strip side.
- Double check you are cutting about a quarter of an inch into the triangle side of the seam.
Now you have a very long single piece of fabric ready to be attached to your quilt.
Well Done to you!
An alternate method of ‘tube sewing’ is described in a separate tutorial to create a single length of ready attached strips for binding. The method for creating bias binding is in yet another tutorial.