Binding a Quilt with a Bias
Edge Wears Better

There are many quilting techniques that make quilting easy. One of those techniques involves cutting a bias piece of fabric to bind a quilt.

Another Quilting Technique is perfecting mitered corners when applying binding to a quilt.

When binding a quilt a bias edge will last longer and will wear better than lengthwise strips or crosswise strips.

Bias strips are cut at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric and has lots of stretch which is perfect for most quilt edges and especially good for curved edges of all kinds.

beginning quilting techniques

There are two ways to cut bias binding strips.

FIRST WAY:   is to cut bias strips and then sew them together individually.

SECOND WAY: is to cut a continuous bias strip from your square which has already been seamed.

In both cases you will start with a square of fabric large enough to produce the amount of bias strips you will need when adding a binding.

By looking at the chart above, determine the width you want your binding strips to be when binding a quilt.

Generally this will be 2 1/2 inch strips folded in half to make a one inch binding.

Determine the inches around the outer perimeter of your quilt. Let say your outside measurements will be 200 inches.

The answer lies at the intersection of the two lines on the chart or 3/4 yards of fabric.

Feel free to clip and save this helpful chart which shows the yardage needed to produce the number of inches of binding to go around the outside of a quilt.

Binding Calculator

Here is an easier way for the quilter that is in a hurry to calculate the amount of binding needed....test our binding calculator, you just may like it! Plug in the dimentions of your quilt and the width of your 'BINDING' fabric and ooh la la, problem solved...

Quilt Binding Strip Calculator
1. What is the length of your quilt?
2. What is the width of your quilt?
3. What is the width of your fabric?
Strip size to cut: 2.5
Number of width of fabric strips to cut.

First Way For Cutting Bias Binding

how to bind a quilt


Fold your square of fabric in half diagonally on the true bias to form a 45 degree angle. Check the accuracy of this fold with a 45 degree side of a triangle or with the markings on your cutting mat. If you are new at applying beginning quilting techniques double check your decisions.

Once satisfied that you have folded a true 45 degree angle; fold the fabric a second time by bringing the top corner down to meet the bottom corner.  Check again for accuracy.

how to bind a quilt


Cut the fold off the triangle by positioning the edge of the ruler about 1/8-inch from the fold and trim using your acrylic ruler and rotary cutter. Press hard with your rotary cutter as there will be several layers to cut through.

Binding cut on the bias is preferred by many quilters when binding a quilt. You may like working with it too, once you learn to handle it very gingerly.

how to bind a quilt


To minimize the number of seams, start with the longest strip and progress to the shorter ones until you reach the length needed to go around your quilt.

Sew the strips together on the diagonal. Position the 45-degree angles to form an inverted V with the tips extending 1/4-inch beyond the cut edge.

quilting instructions


Sew the cut bias strips as shown. Handle very carefully as these strips will have a lot of stretch and can be easily distorted.

You will be sewing on the diagonal so you may want to draw a straight diagonal line. Use the markings on your cutting mat to double check that you have a 45-degree slant. Set your sewing machine to a short stitch length (about 14 stitches per inch).

quilting instructions


Trim the seam to 1/4-inch and press open. Fold and press the binding lengthwise with wrong sides together. Remember when pressing, use the up and down motion rather than the push and pull.

Then roll the binding on an empty bathroom tissue roll and secure with a pin until you are ready to sew to the quilt. This makes the long strips easier to handle and minimizes tugging and pulling which stretches the strips. Try these free quilting instructions on how to bind a quilt when you apply your first quilt binding or your fifth binding it works every time. They are about as easy as it gets!

quilting instructions

A Neat Tip When Binding a Quilt


when sewing the bias strips together with a 1/4-inch seam, hold the pin head to guide the bias edges under the presser foot to help avoid pulling on the seam which will cause distortion.

When you have fabric on both sides of the needle, draw a stitching line using a Chaco Liner Pen by Clover. It is a tool that fits in your hand much like an ink pen and easy to use. It comes with refill cartridges that are easy to replace when the powdered ink runs out and it has a tapered point that makes marking easy. Pick one up; you'll love this tool!

Second Way For Cutting Bias Binding

how to bind a quilt

How to bind a quilt becomes real easy with the second way.

Continuous Bias Binding is another way to make  binding a quilt real easy.

Lay your square on the cutting mat right side up and place pins as shown in diagram A. The pin placement for the top and bottom place the pin heads pointed out; on the two sides place the pin heads in.

This is a Fons and Porter technique.  If you don't get their magazine, sign up as soon as you can. It is another good source for learning the technique of binding a quilt.

Fold your square in half diagonally forming a 45 degree angle and finger press lightly. Be careful and don't stretch. Open the fabric square and cut it apart corner to corner, along the finger pressed diagonal fold line as shown in diagram A.

Note: if your ruler is long enough to reach diagonally across your piece you do not need to finger press. Simply place ruler corner to diagonal corner and cut as shown in this diagram.

how to bind a quilt

Be sure that the vertical pins are pointed in and that the horizontal pins are pointed out. This will help you distinguish how to join the duplicate triangles.

Place triangles with right sides together, aligning sides with pins pointing in. Stitch with a 1/4-inch seam as shown in diagram B above;

now press seam open. Your square will now look like diagram C above.

On wrong side of fabric, use a pencil and mark a line parallel to the long edge. Continue to mark at intervals using your desired cut width for bias (usually 2 1/2-inch for binding).

Note the position of the two pins pointing out in diagram C above. If your piece looks like this, you know you matched and sewed it together right.

Using this method of how to bind a quilt becomes easier each time you use it.

free quilting instructions

Next is the tricky part for these quilting instructions.

Bring the short edges together to form a tube. The short edges are the sides with pins pointing out. Be sure the right side of the fabric is facing inside the tube.

Align raw edges, offsetting by one marked bias width as shown in diagram D above and in the tube image on the left.

Pin, matching where drawn lines intersect and stitch with 1/4-inch seam.  It will take a couple of times to master how to join the tube so don't give up!

The easiest way to cut the tube into a continuous binding strip for binding a quilt, is to use a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.

Place the small mat on your ironing board.

Slide the mat inside the tube and position the offset end of the tube on top of the mat.

This is where you will begin cutting along the continuous drawn line rotating the tube around the cutting mat until you come to the end.


When binding a quilt minimize the number of seams by starting with a larger piece of fabric.

Instead of an 18 inch, a 27 inch or a 36 inch cut a square with sides equal to the full width of the fabric which is typically 42 to 44 inches.

Whether you are cutting your bias strips individually or in a continuous strip, the larger piece of fabric will result in longer binding strips, so you'll need fewer strips.

If you are using the continuous bias method the seams will be more generously spaced and you will have fewer seams to contend with.


Never throw excess bias strips out.  They are excellent for making vines and stems in your applique work or use when binding a quilt out of scrappy pieces of fabric.

Multiple colored binding makes a perfect finish for your smaller projects.


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