Wednesday, August 01, 2012

one way to make bias binding

Thanks for all the response on the binding choice! It was a very close call between A and F, but in the end I chose A, cut on the bias.

Since I was making bias binding, I thought I would snap a few photos of the process along the way and share them here. This is one way to do it. A few of the photos are a bit less than stellar-sorry!-but you should still get the idea.
First, lay your fabric square on your cutting mat. Trim the left and right sides so the fabric is squared up.
Trim off the selvages as well.
Line up a ruler (or two rulers end to end if one ruler isn't long enough) on the 45 degree angle of your cutting mat. Carefully make your first cut.
Tip: The photo doesn't show this, but in order to maximize your fabric, line up the top left corner of your fabric right on the 45 degree angle line. You will get nice 45 degree angles on the ends of your fabric and no odd bits to trim off those ends.
Move your ruler(s) and either flip up or set aside the triangle (the piece on the top right hand side), but don't discard. It will be used later. Then, line up the ruler on the line that you just cut and measure the width of your binding strips. I cut mine 2.25" wide. Make as many cuts as you can from the fabric. I tend to move my fabric several times throughout this process. I've heard that once you make a cut in your fabric you shouldn't move it from that place on your cutting mat, but I do. I guess I am a rebel that way. I just make sure that the edges are lined up accurately before each cut. Repeat these steps for the triangle that you set aside previously.
Once all your fabric is cut up, take two strips and prepare to join them end to end. The nice thing about bias binding strips is the ends are already mitered for you.
Since you are sewing on an angle, you will need to offset the binding strips just a bit. Pin. When you sew up the seam, if it is lined up correctly, you should be able to sew from notch to notch and get a perfect 1/4" seam. Flip the strip the right, and press. If the binding strip is offset at all (not in a straight line) rip the stitches and sew it again. It takes a bit of practice to get this just right, but it's not too bad, either. A few strips and you should be a pro.
Most of the strips will join together just fine, but when you have two ends that look like this, they won't miter together.
So, you have to line up your ruler as shown above. Use the 45 degree angle line on the ruler and make a cut. Set the triangle aside as a scrap or discard.
 Now the two ends should be ready to miter. Repeat as directed in the steps above.
 Once all the binding strips are joined together, fold in half lengthwise and press well.
Attach the binding as you would normally. (You can see my in depth binding tutorial here.)
When you get to the ends...your strips will probably look something like this.
 Trim one end at a 90 degree angle.
Measure an overlap that equals the binding width. In this case 2.25" wide. 
Trim.
Open up the ends of the binding strips.
On the left hand strip, fold the end and finger press as shown in the photo. This fold will be your sewing line. Mark it with a water soluble marker if desired.
Pin and sew on the line/fold.
Use a scissors to trim off the triangles, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Finger press the seam and line up the binding to the edge of the quilt. Sew into place.
After I attach the binding to the quilt, I like to trim off the excess backing and batting with a pinking shears. I like to leave just a bit of fabric and batting beyond the edge so the binding will be nice and full after hand stitching it down to the back.

If you have any questions about bias binding, I'll try to answer them in the comments.

37 comments:

Di~ said...

Thank you! I actually need to make bias binding today! I'm curious, why do you use pinking shears to trim?

Judith Blinkenberg said...

Thank you so very much. The ends have been my biggest problem so much so that I almost gave up quilting. I will use this tutorial with my next quilt and let you know how it goes. Thank you.

audrey said...

Thank you for your demonstration. That may be the best explanation I've ever seen for bias binding! Now it actually makes sense to me.:)

Kelly said...

Great idea to use pinking shears! I need to go dust mine off :)

I noticed that you must line up your binding with the edge of your top and don't trim until after the binding is on. Does this cause any trouble if your quilt is not square?

I run into the problem of not getting a filled in binding - but I always trim & square up my quilt first before adding the binding.

I enjoy your blog so much and am hoping to join you in Nov at Tara's.

Carol said...

THANK YOU! Your timing is perfect - I'm needing to make some and was so confused!!

Courtney said...

Thanks so much for your tip on connecting the ends. I thought I had a pretty cool tip, but yours seems even better. thanks!

Barb said...

nice tutorial

captainsharmie said...

thanks for sharing! the cutting instructions are most helpful, I'm always so scared to actually cut anything on the bias in case I mess it up! I might try this on one of my many WIPs...

Kimberly said...

Although I voted for "F", "A" is looking pretty good too! The bias was as great call... and thanks for the how-to... I've never biased before. I guess I was a little biased.

Carla said...

Fantastic choice Amanda.

I'm sure it will look absolutely lovely.

Live a Colorful Life said...

Well, A and F were quite similar and A looks fabulous! Great tutorial on your binding too.

Sandi K. said...

Do you have a formula for figuring out how much yardage to sew a bias binding? Does it take about the same material as a straight binding or more?
Glad you went with choice A. Even though I didn't vote, it was my favorite. :D

Molly Lensing said...

I love your blog! I start my first quilting class this Saturday, and my fingers are itching to get at the fabric. Thank you for all the posts and tutorials you've put up, and for the snippets of your daily life. We're just starting our family and it's inspiring/relieving to see a mom who finds (makes) time to sew. Keep up the good work!

Toni Selman said...

Love the fabric that you've chosen, especially on the bias.
Toni
www.lifeinapinkbunnysuit.com

Random Thoughts Tracy said...

Amanda Jean, I love you! Seriously I think I have a quilters crush on you!! (does that sound creepy from someone you don't know?) You've taught me so much and are still teaching... you have such a knack for putting words into pictures my head can see and actually do and your little tips..perfection! I'm dying to see this quilt all finished up! Do you square your quilt tops up before quilting them? I feel like I have to square them up before adding the binding.

Cherie said...

I probably should have used this method for the binding I make. I'll remember for next time =D

Schulz Family said...

Fantastic. Am going to bind a flannel quilt next week. Will put it on my blog. Thanks for the very clear instructions. Karen. www.madewithmytwohands.blogspot.com

Mama Pea said...

The binding looks great! Of course I voted for A or F, so I'm happy! :-)

quiltyknitwit said...

Very good choice of binding fabric.

I use bias binding only for binding quilts with curved edges. For straight edged quilts I used French binding - much easier!

Linda Kay said...

Both tutorials are great - thank you so much! How do you decide when to use bias binding versus straight cut binding? What are the advantages or disadvantages of each?

Mihaela said...

PERFECT TUTORIAL!
It is the first time that I understand ALL the steps, particularly the ends, because you gave us those dimensional details (I have never found them anywhere else!) and the really most important pictures to illustrate them!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

April said...

Thank you for the step-by-step tutorial! I also wasn't sure how to handle the ends, so this is perfect!

amandajean said...

Di,

I like to use pinking shears just in case I don't cut at the exact width that I need to. The pinked edge gives me a bit of wiggle room. I want the binding to be full (with no gaps) after it is handstitched to the back. Hope that makes sense!

amandajean

amandajean said...

Kelly,

No, I haven't run into the problem of my quilt not being square...or at least not enough to bother me. :) I do like to attach the binding first, then trim, because the edges of the quilt seem a bit more stable with the extra backing and batting in tact. Hope to see you in November! That would be awesome!

amandajean

amandajean said...

Sandi K,

No, I don't have a formula for figuring that out. I wish I did! If I knew ahead of time that I was going to use the fabric for bias binding, I'd buy a little extra just in case.

In this instance I was able to use only 1/2 yard binding fabric for a 70" x 90" quilt. I was surprised that I didn't run out! But that's part of the reason that I cut my strips at 2.25" rather than my usual 2.5". It helped me stretch my fabric a little farther.

Hope that helps!

amandajean

amandajean said...

Random Thoughts Tracy,

you are so funny and no, not creepy. :) I'm so glad you are learning so much! That's great to hear.

No, I generally don't square up my tops. Or my quilts, usually, unless it's a special case (for instance with improv piecing once in a while). My quilts are usually square enough for me to not worry about it. :)

amandajean

amandajean said...

Linda Kay,

I use straight (crosscut) binding in almost all circumstances because it's easier and quicker to put together and it gets the job done. The only time I use bias binding is when the print looks better cut on the bias...like this print shown, and ginghams, just to give a few examples. Also, when a quilt has rounded corners or scallops, that requires bias binding. The bias stretches and gives more than crosscut binding and will follow the curves nicely. Hope that helps!

amandajean

Lisa H. said...

I love your tutorials. You make everything so clear. Sometimes things like making biased-cut binding must seem so basic to those of you accomplished quilters! This was really helpful to me, a realtive newbie. Maybe Random Thoughts Tracy and I will start an official non-stalkerish fan club. I love your quilting, your blog, and your book. Don't ever stop!

julie c. said...

That was an excellent binding tutorial. You really simplified the process of joining the binding ends. I teach basic binding and I'm always looking for easier ways - your process is very similar to mine. Thanks for sharing!

SarahZ said...

Yay! You went with the first red! :) Love it!

Renee said...

Love your tutorial !

Sandra said...

Thanks for all that info. I hate ending the binding and you made it straightforward; I will be taking "you" down to my quilt room this afternoon to practise finishing my binding on yet another UFO!!

Kari said...

Trim AFTER you put on the binding. Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that? It's these little bits and pieces that add up to better quilts--thank you for sharing.

Chara Michele said...

I always use straight of grain binding, because bias binding scares me :) However, you made it look so easy! I might actually have to try this! Thanks Amandajean! :)

Carla said...

Thanks for the demonstation! Very helpful.

furniture said...

wow, amazing.. I never know putting on the binding is this easy.. brilliant..

Pecora Nera said...

Thank you so much fron Italy :-)
Emanuela