Basics Tutorial: Hand-stitching a Binding
After binding a dozen quilts in a month, I thought I would not want to bind quilts by hand anymore, but I LOVE it still! Here’s how I get it done:
This is my collection of quality hand quilting threads, thimbles and a sharp needle. I have a warm and cool neutral, and the yellow I had purchased for actual hand-quilting, but it’s come in handy a few times :) I’ve used less than high quality threads – don’t waste your money – they tend to break and knot. And I never used a thimble, until I had a few holes in my finger from the back of the needle :( I’ve wanted to try the stick on type thimble but haven’t had a chance yet.
I keep my supplies with scissors, and the binding clips all in an empty quart yogurt container. It has a lid, so I hopefully don’t loose things.
After I iron my binding, away from the quilt top, I turn it under and clip from the front. The clips are not necessary, but if you have any trouble with your hands I highly recommend them. Less fatigue and aches with the binding clips. They help to train the fabric before you tack it down.
Pull out about 18″ of thread, or the length you are comfortable with – if it’s too long your arm will tire quickly. Knot off one end and find a spot to start! I like to start about 12″ away from a corner, that way my homestretch doesn’t include a corner. (my own little mind trick!)
Hide your knot in the raw edges, and pull your needle out just below the stitch line.
Now carefully put your needle in the fold, about 1/4″ distance and bring it out again. Pull tight, and snug your binding down over the stitch line.
Put your needle in the backing fabric in the same manner, (backing fabric only) and pull tight again, and snug the binding down again.
Continue in the same manner, until you get to the corner.
At the corner, draw your needle up past the stitch line.
Then draw it up, again past the stitch line, in the binding fabric as shown. This secures the binding edge.
Fold the next edge over to form a miter. Slowly thread the needle between the two layers of binding fabric, usually up, down, up, to secure the miter.
Then push the needle back down, catching the backing fabric in the corner, and pull the thread tight.
Make a small stitch in the binding to secure, and continue around the quilt in the same manner.
Here you can “see” my stitches.
Your finished quilt!
I’ve gotten to the point where a 60″ square quilt takes me about 2, maybe 3 hours depending on the interruptions, but my first few quilts took days! I hope that you enjoy snuggling with quilt while you finish your quilt – still one of my favorite parts of quilting.
This is how I’ve learned to bind and developed my methods as I went – I hope you share your tips in the comments if you’ve found something that works well for you!
If you have questions I will answer in the comments~
ps - The quilt pictured is available as a tutorial here.
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