Machine Binding

Binding, it seems, is dreaded by many. I actually don’t mind binding quilts. But as I get older my hands have a field day with pain after I’ve bound a quilt by hand. Joan convinced me to learn to bind both front and back by machine. I wasn’t too keen on that as I’d seen some messes and there is nothing worse (IMO) than ruining a beautiful quilt with bad binding. The key to doing this is having the right feet for your machine. In the above photo there are 3 walking feet for a Janome machine. The one on the left is for quilting, the middle has a quarter inch seam and the right is for stitching in the ditch. I’m a happy camper when I use these feet to apply the binding.


Using the quarter inch foot stitch the binding on the BACK side of the quilt. I usually start in the middle side of the quilt. I find leaving a 10″ gap between the start and finish of the binding gives me lots of ease to join the two ends of the binding.




Bring the two ends together in the middle of the gap and press. Cut one end of the binding on the fold line. On the other end of the binding cut 2 1/2″ from the fold. ( I find using a 2 1/2″ binding easier and cleaner to handle when sewing the binding on by machine.




Fold the quilt and clamp or pin together to allow ease for the next step of joining your binding together. Lay the cut end of the binding on top of the 2 1/2″ extension of your other end, just as you would when making binding. Mark and stitch using your regular walking foot. Cut excess fabric and press open.


There is another tutorial for joining the binding together. Look under Categories for Tutorials and choose “Joining the Ends of your Binding.”

Once you’ve cut and pressed your joined binding, stitch the completed binding down using your quarter inch foot.

From the back of the quilt press the binding away from the quilt all the way around, just as you would when stitching it to the front of the quilt. This makes for a crisp clean binding.



Fold your binding over to the front of the quilt and start stitching with your stitch in the ditch foot. Adjust your needle to the position you need to catch the binding along the edge. I don’t pin the binding down. I just stitch a few inches at a time, adjusting the binding as I go to keep it straight. But I do pin the corners. Stitch right up to the corner and pivot, continuing to stitch along the edge.


<—- Sorry, I neglected to take a photo of the finished binding on the above quilt. This is from one of my Canada Day quilts and it’s been washed and dried and it still looks great.

Hopefully this tutorial works for you. Click on the individual photos and they will appear larger for a closer look should you need one.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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