Friday, March 30, 2012

Machine Binding Technique

I had a chance to try out a new machine binding technique when I finished my placemat for the March Free Motion Challenge.

But first, I guess I should tell you which technique I have been using.  There are a lot of tutorials out there, including one at Pat Sloan's site, and even videos at You Tube. Basically, you trim the backing and batting (cutting from the front, approximately 1/8 inch from the edge of your top) before you sew the binding onto the BACK of your quilt (with a 1/4 inch seam).  You then flip the binding over onto your front and sew it into place using a decorative stitch making sure you cover the stitch line that is there from sewing the binding onto the back.  I used this technique to bind the peacock quilt at the beginning of the year.
this is the view of the binding from the front of the quilt
I liked this technique for speed, and can see how the decorative stitching adds another element to some quilts.  But, I sometimes miss the nice crisp edge that you get from hand sewing the binding in place.  Enter new technique, which I have searched my browser history for over an hour trying to find out where it was I read it one night.

In this technique, you machine stitch your binding onto the front of the quilt as usual, trim the edges as usual (3/8 inch from the stitch line), and then press the heck out of it.  The tutorial I read, said to then wrap the binding around to the back side, using your fingers to hold it in place, and stitch in-the-ditch from the front, making sure you caught the binding on the backside of your backing.  I thought that sounded pretty hard, so I pinned mine in place about every 4 or 5 inches, and especially around the corners.  The result is a nice clean look from the front, and the stitching on the back is no worse than the first technique (for some reason mine is a little wavy in places).  Although....even pinning, I did manage to miss a few spots and had to go back and re-stitch them.  Here are the pics.
In-the-ditch stitching, but see that nice crisp edge!

This is one of the spots I missed even with pinning

I think all in all, I liked this machine binding technique better than the old.  However, I will need to continue to pin the binding in place, and should probably pin closer together in the future.  I just don't see how you could do this with just your hands unless you trimmed closer to the edge and really stretched the binding into place.


  1. Hi Jen, Good to see you are trying out different ways to bind your quilts.
    I machine stitch my binding in place all the time. Recently I found an excellent tutorial posted by Dara on her blog here

    I stitched my binding in place on the back side of my quilt and then folded it in half and machine stitched the top side in place using invisible thread in my the bobbin. I was quite pleased with the results posted on my blog here

    Hope this helps.. happy stitching.


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