Saturday, July 4, 2015

Binding 2.0 , Please Hold Math Against Me

Normally I don't fuss much with math while I'm quilting. It gets me into trouble more times than not. I'm not afraid of math, I just like to use it when I need it, not any more or any less.

But there is one time when, to me math makes a whole lot of sense.

Tight, neat, just right, binding.

One of my friends (Thank you Hillary for asking the important questions)  recently asked the "how wide do you cut  your binding" on Instagram and I was surprised at the variety of answers.

So here is my take on Math and Binding.
Simple binding in progress, clover clips in place, ready to go

99.9% of the time, I cut my binding strips at 2", straight of grain. Some times I cut them on the bias, but I still cut them 2" wide.

Sometime I get "fancy" and piece/ embellish my binding,
hand stitched binding

binding with inset seam (retroreflective fabric)

Binding with double inset seam

Embellished binding

pieced/matched binding

inset seaming and binding

pieced binding, tiny inset fabric pieces can be used with ease. It's a great way to use scraps.
BUT, I still cut them 2" wide.

Let me tell you why: AKA the "math".

If you cut fabric strips 2" wide x WOF, fold in half, length wise, wrong sides together, raw edges matching and press, you'll have a folded binding strip 1" in width.
Then sew your binding strip to quilt top, matching raw edges, using a 1/4" seam.
When you bring the binding to the back, you've doubled the binding over the sewn 1/4" seam (on the top) leaving you about 1/2" of binding to fold over the raw edge of the quilt (which is about 1/8" thick) and cover your machine stitching on the back, which is (ha) 1/4" from the raw edge.
Neat, small hand stitching (with blind hem stitch, makes the application tot he back nearly invisible).

If you've done this, you end up with a beautiful 1/4" binding on the front, and just over a 1/4" binding strip on the back.  The binding is snug to the quilt  ( I guess judges LOVE this).  And your binding on the front and the back are essentially the same width give or take a millimeter or 2.
Quilt front at top, quilt back middle, quilt top, bottom.
The binding is Kona snow. The binding width, same, front and back.

Since I often piece my backs, I like to treat the composition of the back as an alternate front. I like my binding to be the same on the front and the back.

 I'm not saying this is the ONLY way to do binding. Or even the right way to do binding, it's just my way…... binding, tight, neat and just right.

To read more about the quilts featured here, click on the My Quilts tab at the top of my blog!


  1. Love seeing all your bindings. I cut 2" for years and years and for some reason switched to 2 1/4". I think I'll switch back....

  2. Your bindings are beautiful! I completely agree with cutting at 2" wide, although I usually cut on the bias and occasionally on the straight grain.

  3. Thanks for this - I was always surprised when I saw that 2 1/2 inch strips seems to be the normal instruction - because using the same quilt math as you, 2" is most logical. Do those who use 2 1/2 strips trim their batting and backing 1/4 inch wider than the top to maintain the 'full' binding that judges love?

  4. Love your explanation! Thanks for explaining your way. Must try it next time. Xo



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