Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bindings: Love 'em or Hate 'em

I seems to me that feelings around quilt bindings fall into broad 2 categories: people either love them or they hate them, and these deep feelings don't seem to be associated with whether bindings are attached by machine or by hand.
There have been some wonderful polls about how people attach bindings to their quilts. I fall squarely in the Team hand binding. If I'm attaching a binding to my quilt, I sew it to the quilt front by machine and finish it on the back, by hand using a blind hem stitch. I have evolved over time from a simple binding person to someone who gives as much thought to the binding as I do to the quilt design.  I LOVE this part of quilt making; let me tell you why.
I see the binding as the last bit of quilt design, a chance to sum up the totality of my work. It certainly isn't the last hand stitch that will grace my quilt, as the label and the hanging sleeve all require hand-stitching, but bindings allow for a bit of creativity that can have a big impact.
In my quilting career I have worked with both bias and straight of grain bindings, preferring a 2" straight of grain binding to all other. I ventured into traditional faced bindings and "skinny" faced bindings. I have embellished and quilted bindings (by machine and by hand), fussed over 2-sided matched bindings, and spent hours on intricately pieced bindings. The one thing all my bindings have in common is that I wait until I am completely done with my quilt before deciding on what kind of binding I will use. Sometimes the bindings are simple, other times they have taken all day to assemble.
I have been fortunate to received judges comments on the some of my quilt's bindings (always positive), validating, in some small way,  the amount of time I spend on them.
Below is a gallery of some of those bindings. Perhaps you'll find some inspiration in there for your next project.

Example: Color Blocked Binding cut 2" SOG (quilting by Christine Perrigo). In this quilt, this piece of turquoise was the only are of color that would touch the binding so it seemed more than appropriate to continue the color out into the binding. Because my bindings are cut at 2" they do not add to the overall measurements, keeping the proportion of the turquoise square the same.

Example: Inset binging cut 2" SOG, left photo used nano particle retroreflective fabric. These inset strips are less then 1/4" in width.
Inset seams bindings

Example: Pieced binding cut 2" SOG, pieced as I attached the binding for more precise placement)


Example: Quilted Binding (machine). After making the binding and folding it in half, it was heavily quilted using different colored threads. After quilting the binding is attached in the usual manner.

Example: Embellished/ quilted binding (hand). In both instances the hand work occurs after the binding is attached to the quilt. 

Example: 2-sided binding (also quilted). This quilt was a challenge in that the quilt was 2 sided, one side white the other black. It posed a problem for picking a color for the binding. The solution was a 2-sided quilted binding. The thread on the black fabric is metallic and standard cotton on the white side.


  1. Fun post! You know I love my bindings. And you've given me ideas on a couple more techniques to try!

  2. I love binding, but I never would have had any of these great ideas - Thank you for the post!

  3. So interesting! I've never thought of some of the techniques you've used! Particularly like the binding with the machine quilting.

  4. I agree! Love your examples. I've recently done a 2 color/sided binding & can't wait to do another. And now, you've inspired me to try more! 2 Questions: when you are matching a strip in the quilt, is that where you begin sewing on the binding? How do you match up multiple strips without the binding stretching beyond a point?

  5. Love to read your post Stephanie, soooo cool and clever and useful! I use to attach my bindings like you (with a hand blind hem stitch on the back) but I follow a tip that our adorable friend Carol Turznik (Mamacjt on flickr) taught me many years ago: a simple binding, with a strip 1 1/4" , so my bindings are thin and delicate. And as my projects are almost always with rainbow bright colors, I choose tone-on-tone bindings, especially one with colorful tiny dots. This gave my mini quilts a modern touch. (By the way, I miss Carol a lot!!)


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