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.
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.
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.
Omnigrid 45 degree triangle ruler
- Prym Consumer USA Inc.
Of course you can use the 45 degree line on any of the rulers but this little ruler comes in very handy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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