The overall beauty of mitered corners makes a perfect ending to a quilt.
To learn about our top secret read on!
Two Simple Measurements will minimize the guess work when applying a quilt binding with mitered corners.
You will quickly see this quilting technique is not the place for guessing.
No matter how much time you spent piecing a quilt top or how pretty the colors come together or how unique the pattern is or how skillfully it is quilted, the overall beauty will be influenced by how skillfully the edges are finished. The judges will think so too.
Sewing the binding to the edge of the quilt is relatively easy. Learning how to start and end the binding strip is also relatively easy.
But mitered corners will take a little practice when binding a quilt. For me the secret is simply taking two key measurements at each corner.
When the quilting stitches do not go to the edges of the quilt there is no cohesive anchor for holding things together. But basting will secure the quilt layers...
Basting helps when there is minimal quilting and it will prevent the top from being pulled out of shape when you apply the binding.
Basting will also help solve the problem of rippled edges. So make sure you baste all the way around the quilt before adding the binding.
Make sure all four corners form a 90-degree angle. Sometimes it is difficult to correct this problem but at least get as close as you can by using a 90-degree ruler and trim, if needed. The more care taken at this point, the better the mitered corners will be.
This quilting instructions guide can be printed. It clarifies how to calculate the width of the binding based on any finished width desired.
Total binding length is distance plus 12-inches; and it calculates the number of cross grain strips you can get from any size piece of fabric.
If you are using a single fold binding your cut will be a little less. Here is another good resource on how wide to cut a Quilt Binding.
Place the quilt to the left of the sewing needle. About a fourth of the way down the quilt edge place a pin.
Next line up the starting edge of the lead binding strip with this pin. Move down 12-inches on the binding and insert the quilting needle on the sewing machine and lower the presser foot.
You are ready to start sewing the binding to the quilt top edge. Advance toward the corner.
With the sewing needle still down, stop sewing about 3-inches before you reach the corner.
Using a metal measuring gauge or a 6-inch metal seam ruler, place a mark at the corner exactly 1/4-inch from the corner's edge.
Transfer this same mark to the binding at exactly the same stop on the binding. You can use a pin to align the two points. This mark will be Point A.
Next, proceed toward the corner and stitch the binding to the quilt stopping exactly at Point A. and do a few backstitches to secure the seam.
Stop; clip the threads and remove the quilt from under the presser foot.
Once the quilt is free from the sewing needle, double check for accuracy to make sure you stopped exactly at Point A. and that the binding mark and the quilt top mark align with each other.
Now place the 6-inch metal seam gauge at Point A and measure to the folded edge of the binding. Do not include the seam allowance. Mark the spot.
This measurement becomes Point B. The measurement on your seam gauge (between Point A and Point B) becomes the distance you will use to determine Point C. for the mitered corner.
The 6-inch metal seam gauge now reflects the measurement you will need to determine where to mark point C.
Measure the exact distance from Point A out onto the binding that has not been sewn.
This becomes Point C for your mitered corner.
To make the mitered corner, insert the tip of a pin down through the binding at Point C.
Hold the pin head while turning the binding enough that the point of the pin can be inserted into the quilt precisely at Point A.
You will need to slightly pull back the binding at Point A to expose the mark you called Point A.
It will be slightly visible when you pull back on the binding. In other words, the pin at Point C will penetrate underneath the binding that is already sewn on.
Remember, you stopped sewing precisely at Point A.
Snug up the pin so that it holds Point C over Point A while you position the binding that has not been sewn in order to continue down the next side of the quilt.
Hold the pin so that the points are aligned vertically exactly beside each other. Insert the sewing needle precisely at this point. Do not catch the fold of Point A. The needle should go as closely as possible into Point C and beside Point A.
You should be able to tell if you hit the proper stop by the force in which the sewing machine needle penetrates the fabric. If you have to force the needle, you are most likely not at the right spot.
This is a critical alignment. If you are too far away from Point A you will have a gap. If you have penetrated the binding at Point A you will have a pucker.
Being just along side of Point A gives you a perfect mitered corner!
Swing the strip of binding that has not been sewn yet, so it aligns with the next adjacent (outer) side of the quilt.
As you advance from point C down the next side, the raw edges of the binding should be aligned with the edge of the quilt.
Begin sewing at Point C by adjusting the stitch length to a very short length for added strength at the corner Then switch back to a regular stitch length. Do not backstitch as you might distort the starting point.
Repeat this process for each mitered corner. It is important to take a new measurement to establish point B each time you come to a corner.
This measurement will vary according to your ability to stitch a true 1/4-inch seam. If point B changes so will point C change and you will need to adjust accordingly.
I find the two measurement method for mitered corners works very well. It does take a few times to master it but the rewards are great.
Start by cutting a 45 degree angle on the lead quilt binding strip. Either finger press or use the up and down motion (not push and pull) with your iron to form a 1/4-inch turn under on the 45 degree edge.
Next place the folded binding strip in the middle of one side of the quilt. Leave about 3 to 4 inches of the binding strip free (unstitched). Lower the needle at this point. Using a walking foot and 1/4-inch seam, sew the binding to the quilt top beginning at the 3-inch mark. Be sure and align the raw edges as you sew the binding to the quilt.
For a clear understanding of how to end the binding, fast forward to the end of the binding strip.
After you have sewn the binding completely around the quilt and are nearing the starting point, tuck the end of the binding into the pocket created at the starting point.
Trim off all but an inch of the ending piece so that it clearly tucks nicely into the pocket. Continue stitching, sewing through all thicknesses. Overlap your beginning stitches by about 1 inch.
The diagonal seam method can be used with both single fold as well as double fold binding. This method is a little harder to do but necessary for all single fold binding.
Be sure you start with a 45 degree angle. It is aesthetically important to make the angle match the other seams used to join the binding strips. Try to have all angles going in the same direction all the way around your quilt.
Start in the middle of a long side and sew the binding to the quilt top using a walking foot and a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Lay the binding on the quilt and start sewing about 3-inches from the longest point of the binding strip leaving a 3-inch tail free.
Advance all the way around the quilt. Be sure you apply the two-measurement mitered corner technique for all four corners.
About 8-inches from your starting point stop sewing and secure your seam with a couple back stitches. Remove the quilt from the needle of your sewing machine. Now trim the ending binding strip,leaving a 12-inch tail.
Unfold both tails on the binding. (For single fold binding unfold the 1/4-inch turn under.
Fold the starting tail up at a 90-degree angle and the ending tail down at a 90-degree angle. Keep the butt joint snugged together tightly.
You may have to reverse the direction of the two 90-degree angles to keep in line with all other binding seams.
Once you are satisfied that the seam is tight and going in the right direction, finger press a crease in each strip.
Unfold the finger pressed joints and lay the ending tail on top of the starting tail (right sides together). Line up the finger pressed creases.
Pin the crease and then sew. Check to make sure that the binding fits smoothly against the quilt. Adjust if necessary before you trim the seam allowance and press the seam open.
Refold the binding; line up the raw edges of the binding with the quilt edge and sew closing the opening. Overlap the previous stitching by about 1-inch on both the starting end and the ending end.
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