Machine binding your quilt can be as beautiful as it is rewarding! When I’m not big stitch hand binding, I’m machine binding my quilts for a quick finish. Here’s some great tips for stress-free machine binding:
1. Zig-Zag your quilt sandwich:
After trimming your quilt square, even if you’ve performed a Victory Lap, go ahead and zig-zag all the way around your quilt sandwich with a wide zig-zag. This helps keep all those edges together, which makes for a smoother binding application. You won’t have the layers folding over every which way between your binding.
2. Use a walking foot:
Apply your binding with a walking foot to help it feed evenly across the quilt. It also helps to press your binding strips in half lengthwise prior to applying. This ensures that you won’t get any weird puckers in your binding itself. I like to use 2.5″ binding strips in my binding to give myself plenty of room when sewing the binding to the quilt.
3. Getting a crisp mitered corner:
For a really crisp mitered corner, stop stitching 1/4″ away from the end of the quilt, backstitch, and cut your thread. This allows you to position the diagonal fold for the mitered corner accurately. Watch the video below to see this in action.
4. Frustration-free final binding join:
Overlap your two binding edges together by the width of your binding strip. For example, if I’m using 2.5″ binding strips, overlap them by 2.5″. Then use those two ends to sew the final 45 degree seam. See this in action in the video below.
5. Press, press, press!
I press my binding in half lengthwise prior to sewing it to the front of my quilt. Then, I press the binding flat with the quilt top, and press it again to the back of the quilt and secure it with binder clips. You can buy specialty quilting clips for this purpose, but I prefer binder clips from my local office supply store. They’re inexpensive, metal, and sturdy! Plus, they stay put!
6. Stitch your binding on the back of the quilt:
For a machine-bound quilt that looks as precise on the front as it does on the back of the quilt, first apply the binding to the front of the quilt. Press it to the back, and then stitch the binding in place from the back of the quilt. If you try to stitch in the ditch on the front of the quilt, not only is this extremely difficult (you might accidentally veer out of the ditch), but it will also look uneven on the back of the quilt.
By using 2.5″ binding strips and the tips above, you’re able to stitch the binding on the back of the quilt, staying about 1/8″ away from the edge of the binding and get a really even binding application. It also looks really even and beautiful on the front of the quilt! It won’t be in the ditch, it will be near the binding edge but still on the quilt itself. This looks especially good for any straight line quilting, as it blends in with the quilting.