Joining the ends of Double-fold binding, version 2

directions and photos by Shelley Rodgers, Walnut Creek, CA

Email: pirate_sr@hotmail.com

January 2008

The directions are also available in a PDF file format.

You've successfully completed the first step in binding your quilt with a separate binding ... you've sewn it onto one side, either the back or front, as is your preference. Now you need to figure out how to get the two ends sewn together so that the finished result is smooth, professional and most importantly ... it fits the space!

This is an absolute fool-proof technique to ensure that no one, not even the persnicketiest competition judge, will be able to fault you on how your binding strip is joined.

For this sample, the green fabric is the binding strip I start sewing with ("green is for go"); the red fabric is the end of the strip ("red is for stop"). I used bias binding, cut at 2" wide, only because they were available in the colors I wanted. You may cut your binding strip on the crosswise, lengthwise or bias direction. Cut the binding strip as wide as you need to in order to achieve the final width you want. Make note of how wide you cut your binding strip!

I've also used contrasting thread for sewing, just so you can see it. In reality, you will be using a matching thread.

I also strongly urge you to make a sample yourself BEFORE you assault your quilt. You will become familiar with the technique and, more importantly, make your mistakes on the sample instead of your quilt!

1. Lay the binding strip on your quilt and mark with a pin EXACTLY where the end of the strip is. You are not pinning the starting strip to the quilt with this pin, you are just marking where the beginning of the strip is. This pin is IMPORTANT; don't remove it! Start your stitching about 8"-10" away from this pin. The 8"-10" isn't an exact amount; it's "ease room" for you to do the final stitching, so whatever distance you feel comfortable with is fine. Sew the rest of the binding to the quilt. Read the next step because you are going to stop sewing a little bit after you've done the fourth corner. Do NOT remove the pin!
2. When you sew the final corner and approach the beginning, STOP stitching about 2"-3" BEFORE the pin. Again, the distance you leave before the pin isn't an exact amount; it's "ease room" for you in the final stitching. The two tails of the binding strip should overlap. In this picture, I've deliberately separated the two tails so you can see that there really are two.
3. Remember how wide you cut your binding strip? If not, re-measure. That's an important figure. You want to draw a line on the ending strip exactly that far from the pin.
4. Then, courage in hand, cut the ending strip only on that line.
5. Move the ending strip out of the way . Since this is double-fold binding, open up the starting strip so you have a single layer of fabric. Take the top left corner and fold it down so you have a diagonal fold. Press or crease firmly. Usually just the warmth and pressure of your finger is sufficient, but if you want to press it, go right ahead. What you want to end up with is a crease line you can see.
6. Here comes the tricky part .. you're going to match up the two ends: Unfold the ending strip so it is a single layer. You want the right side of the ending strip facing up.

Unfold the starting strip's corner. You want the wrong side of the starting strip facing up.

7. With right sides together and at right angles to each other, put the starting strip on top of the ending strip, aligning raw edges. Pin.
8. Stitch on the crease line.
9. Trim the seam allowance.
10. Press the seam open.
11. Fold binding together, wrong sides together and align with raw edge of quilt. Press. Please note that the length of the binding between the stitching end points is EXACTLY the correct amount needed for that space! Since the seam was a diagonal one, there is no bulk at the seam line where the two ends are joined. Woo Hoo!! You did it! Give yourself a big hug! Dang, you are sooooo clever!
12. Stitch the remaining seamline to attach the binding to the quilt, shown here in white thread for contrast. Flip the binding to the other side of the quilt and sew the folded edge as is your preference.

Feedback, comments, chocolate, etc can be sent to Shelley Rodgers at pirate_sr@hotmail.com.