How to finish quilt binding

Invisible Binding Final Join

I have used various methods to make that final invisible 45 degree join in my binding for years now.  Many of the methods I’ve used seemed difficult and frequently I’d end up sewing the diagonal the wrong direction and have a binding that wasn’t straight and I’d have to rip out stitches.  I devised this method recently to keep from tearing out stitches (and my hair) and have performed it five times in the past several weeks and have not taken out one stitch and all five quilts have beautiful binding and you can’t tell whether it is a final join or a center join.  Please read the entire process before starting.  I hope you find this as easy as I have and enjoy perfect results every time. 

Photo #1

Getting Started

Sew your double binding on leaving tails at the beginning and the end of the quilt using all the normal methods for corners and sizes of bindings.  This instruction is only for the final join. 

Leave approximately 10” long tails at the beginning and the end of the quilt.  Depending on the size of the quilt this length may not be possible as you do want to go around the 4 corners.  This method can be done with relatively short lengths but for the first time try to leave the two tails approximately 10” each.  These two tails should have at least 5” or more of overlap.  For this lesson I wanted to be able to show the two different ends easily and also wanted a scrappy binding for this quilt so the two objectives were a perfect fit.  In photo #1 you can see a tail on the right that is teal blue and on the left a red tail with plenty of overlap.  The binding has been sewn to the quilt other than this last section (approximately 16” or so) and we are ready to start with this blind finish binding technique. 

Cut first 45 degree end

The first thing to do is to cut a 45o angle on one of the tails. In photo #2 you can see the 45o ruler lined up with the edge of the double thickness binding which has been unfolded. Photo #3 shows the tail after a 45o was cut and the other tail still square and folded.

Photo #2 and #3

Sandwich cut end inside

Now take the cut tail and after folding it back with the ironed crease, sandwich it between the layers of the square tail.  See photo #4.  Lay the quilt flat and gently pull the two tails into each other snuggly but not so snug that you gather the quilt edge. 

Photo #4

Mark the uncut tail

Carefully open the outer binding and mark on the inside of the uncut binding tail a small section along the edge of the cut binding tail.  See photos #5&6.  I use a chalk or charcoal pencil but anything temporary that you can see for a few minutes will work. 

Photos #5 & 6

Extend the mark the full width of the binding

Now take the tails apart and unfold the uncut tail and lay it out for marking (do not cut here). Line up the 45o ruler with the markand along the edge of the binding. See photo #7. Mark (not cut) along the ruler’s edge and remove ruler – see photo #8.

Photos #7 & 8

Measure for seam allowance then cut

DO NOT CUT yet!  Use a ruler to measure ½” from that marked line towards the end of the tail (away from the quilt).  See photo #9.  Your marked line will not be cut off but will be left with the quilt edge of the binding.  Now cut along the ruler here.

Photo #9

Mark sewing line

Using the ruler mark ¼” from the edge of the cut line and mark this line with the chalk pencil.  See photo #10.  I mark this ¼” seam because my walking foot which I used to attach the binding is still on my sewing machine and I am too lazy to change feet for a 2” long seam.  Once this seam is sewn I’ll need the walking foot to sew the final edge of binding to the quilt.  Since my walking foot does not have ¼” I can sew along this chalk line as you’ll see in next photos.

Photo #10

Checking, aligning before sewing

Sandwiching the two binding tails you can see how they line up and the ¼” marking will result in a perfect join every time. See photo #11. You do not need to perform this step although it is a good way to make sure you align everything for pinning.

Photo #11

Sew on the 1/4 inch chalk line

Pin the right sides together and the long end of one tail to the short end of the other and have the two edges come together where the sewing line was drawn.  See photo #12.  Sew along the ¼” chalk line.

Photo #12

Check & Press open the seam

Check to see if the binding is the right length.  It should be perfect.   See photo #13.

Press the seam open.  See photo #14.

Photos #13 & 14

Finishing the job

All that is left is to trim the little nibs and stitch the binding to the quilt.  See photo #15.

Photo #16 shows the final blind join.

Here is the final quilt showing the entire binding finished, photo #17.  You cannot tell which of the 4 joins was the final one - works perfect every time.  And don't you just love Laurel Burch?

Photos #15-17

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Comments, suggestions, ideas 12 comments

Janet 6 years ago

Thanks Peg. Very clear instructions. I will try this for sure.

lcbenefield profile image

lcbenefield 6 years ago from Georgia

This is extremely helpful. I've been teaching myself to quilt and the binding has been very puzzling to me. Thank you. Thank you.

Muse Peggy profile image

Muse Peggy 6 years ago Author

Icbenefield - have you seen other bloggers write about the beginning aspects of binding? There are good blogs out there for that and turning the corners etc. Also, check at your local quilt shop for classes and guilds in your area - there are a lot of tricks that will make your projects look fantastic and the camaraderie with other quilters is great. Good luck on your journey.

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

What a great hub! This is the hardest part of quilting for me. Your pictures and instructions are wonderful. This will be so helpful to so many people. Hope you keep sharing more! Thank you :)

Muse Peggy profile image

Muse Peggy 6 years ago Author

Hi Oceansunsets - Thanks. Glad it helped you. I'll try to put more little tips in 2011. I've been busy this year with a home renovation and now am recovering from a wrist injury that is keeping me away from my quilting - darn it anyway.

Gail 6 years ago

Great instructions! Easy, easy, easy -- thanks so much for what is the hardest part of quilting for me.

Muse Peggy profile image

Muse Peggy 6 years ago Author

You're welcome Gail. It makes a nice final join and after doing so much work making a beautiful quilt you want the binding nice and smooth.

Judy 5 years ago

This tutorial was extremely helpful. Your step by step instructions along with photos were wonderful and very easy to follow. Thank-you so much for this tutorial. It is one I am definitely going to bookmark.

Muse Peggy profile image

Muse Peggy 5 years ago Author

Thanks Judy, it's nice to hear that it is helpful!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

This is very helpful. I always have to pull out some directions to figure out how to do the final join on the binding, but your way seems very intuitive. Thanks! And yes, the fabric is gorgeous!

Sharon 4 years ago


Thanks!!! This was greatt!! I followed the directions and my binding is perfect! ...and no reverse sewing required!

Muse Peggy profile image

Muse Peggy 4 years ago Author

So glad you found it helpful Sharon, thanks for the comment.

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