Binding Basics Tutorial

Posted by deonnstott on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

BINDING LESSON - Photo Tutorial

French fold binding with hand-stitched finish

Printer Friendly Instructions

Course Instructor:  Deonn Stott of Quiltscapes

Course Materials

  • Un-bound quilt
  • Binding Strips*
  • Sewing Machine
  • Laytex gloves (optional but very helpful)
  • Scissors, Pins, Seam Ripper (lets be optimistic!)

    *French double-fold cross-grain binding is my favorite method to bind a quilt.  I use 2" strips cut the width of fabric, and join with mitered seams to distribute bulk. The folded binding is stitched to the front side of the quilt using a 1/4" seam allowance, with raw edges aligned (greatest invention ever: 1/4" sewing machine foot!); corners are mitered, and binding is hand-stitched to the back of the quilt.  The 2" binding strips with 1/4" seam allowance makes a consistent finished binding width on both front and back of the quilt.

    PLEASE NOTE: This method may be applied to ANY width of binding strip.  You may need to experiment to find the ideal seam allowance.


 Course Instructions:

Calculate amount of fabric needed.  Measure the width and length of your quilt.  The formula is (2 x Width) + (2 x Length) + 12" = ?"  This will give you enough to miter the corners and overlap to finish with a mitered seam as well.  Divide the total number of inches by 40 to tell you how many strips to cut.  Multiply that number by the width of strips desired, then round up to the nearest 1/8 yard to calculate the yardage needed.  Or you could just use this chart, from my Quilter's Bible:  

Quilt Size

Cut 2" x Width of Fabric Binding Strips


1/4 yd


1/3 yd


5/8 yd


3/4 yd


7/8 yd



1)  JOIN BINDING STRIPS.  Using the grid on your cutting mat,
lay binding strips end to end, right sides together at a
angle, overlapping slightly. MARK if desired and
STITCH from valley to valley. TRIM seam allowance to
1/4" then PRESS seams open to distribute bulk of seams.

2) FOLD binding lengthwise in half, wrong sides together;
PRESS. Now you are ready to apply the binding.

3) ALIGN raw edges of binding with edges of quilt
front. Leave about an 8" tail.  Begin to STITCH, using
1/4" seam allowance.

4)  Place a PIN 1/4" away from first corner to indicate
stopping point.

5)  STOP stitching about one stitch away from pin,
BACKSTITCH.  Remove the quilt and trim threads.


6)  FOLD the binding strip at a 45-degree angle to create
miter.  The raw edges should form a straight line. 

7)  FOLD binding strip back down, even with the next
edge of the quilt.  Fold should be aligned straight
with the previous side.



8)  Begin to STITCH at the outer edge of the quilt
along the next side.  BACK-STITCH to secure, and
continue sewing.  REPEAT Steps 6-8 at all corners.

9)  After last corner is mitered, STOP stitching about
8" from beginning stitches.

10)  OVERLAP the ending tail over the beginning tail. 
MEASURE from beginning stitches about 1/3 of the way
through the unstitched area; CLIP 1/8" notch through all
four layers of binding.  DO NOT clip quilt.  CUT OFF right
binding tail exactly at clipped notch.

11)  TRIM a little slice from the discarded binding tail to
use as a measuring device.


12)  OPEN slice of binding and place on trimmed binding,
aligning ends. 

13)  OVERLAP remaining binding strip, then CUT left
binding strip at the right edge of the measuring strip. 
In this case, 2" from clipped notches. 
(LOVE this trick!!) 


14)  UNFOLD and flatten the right binding tail RIGHT
SIDE UP;  Left binding tail WRONG SIDE UP.

15)  FOLD the end of the left binding piece at a 45-degree
angle and crease to find the stitching line. 

16)  MARK, then PIN to right binding tail,
forming a "V".  STITCH on the line.

17)  CHECK to make sure binding did not twist,
then TRIM seam allowance.  PRESS seam open.

18)  Re-ALIGN binding with edge of the quilt
and STITCH remaining seam. 
PRESS binding away from quilt front.

19)  TURN binding to back of the quilt, forming identical
miters on the back as on the front. (Magic!)  PIN to secure.

20)  HAND-STITCH binding to the back of the quilt. 
It is recommended that you stitch the miters closed.
Use thread color that matches binding.

 Your beautiful quilt is now complete!  Enjoy!

Your beautiful quilt is now complete!

Printer Friendly Instructions

Hope you found something useful in this tutorial!
If you have questions, please leave a comment, email a note or
stop by my blog for a visit, I'd love to hear from you!

Categories: Quilts, Sewing Basics


  1. You make it look so easy!!! I wish I could print this out. I will be binding my next quilt, I hope I can remember your tute. Thanks a million!! Linda
    by Linda
    April 16th, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.
  2. Linda, the link to printer friendly instructions is just below the finished quilt picture. Thanks, Deonn! Great instructions. :)
    by Elizabeth
    April 16th, 2012 at 10 p.m.
  3. Does it matter how much of the binding you cut off the discarded binding tail? I'm not quite sure what you are using this to measure. Otherwise great tutorial.
    by Robin in Alaska
    April 16th, 2012 at 10:07 p.m.
  4. Great tutorial,my qestion is the same like Robin's in Alaska,thank you
    by Miriam
    April 16th, 2012 at 10:51 p.m.
  5. Where can I get this lovely pattern?
    by Deborah
    April 17th, 2012 at 12:25 a.m.
  6. I just adore the dragon he is so beautiful. Is there a pattern for him anywhere? Your instructions are vey clear thank you.
    by sandra
    April 17th, 2012 at 3:37 a.m.
  7. Hi Elizabeth. Tutorial is the best ever help. Thank's a million. I'd love to make this for my son, can I get the pattern anywhere in Ontario?
    by SUSAN
    April 17th, 2012 at 5:08 a.m.
  8. Like stated before, your instructions are very clear and will take the fear out of binding for alot of us.
    by Gordia Prince
    April 17th, 2012 at 5:46 a.m.
  9. I agree, very clear and precise. You took the fear factor out of the picture for me!
    by Carol
    April 17th, 2012 at 8 a.m.
  10. I love your quilt! That is exactly how I do my bindings--I like the tip on folding the seam allowance at the end to get the stitching line!
    by Kathy Clarke
    April 17th, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
  11. Thank you so much, i am going to try it your way next time
    by Charene
    April 17th, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.
  12. What are the latex gloves for? I see them pictured in only one photo.
    by Fran
    April 18th, 2012 at 3:40 p.m.
  13. With the right sewing machine and lots of patience you can do it. I have done this and more and I didn't have experience before.
    by Dewey Kearney
    April 30th, 2012 at 10:26 a.m.
  14. Thanks very much for this great tutorial. I tried it yesterday and it works out just fine. It's really magic! Greetings from Germany Birgitt
    by Birgitt
    May 22nd, 2012 at 4:52 a.m.
  15. Thank for the very well detailed instruction
    by Vedette
    June 20th, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.
  16. It has been awhile since I visited this tutorial to see comments and answer questions. Final joined seam: The piece cut off at the end becomes the measuring tool to add the exact width of your binding strip. In this case, I added 2". Dragon pattern: This is an adaptation of a pattern called "Not All Dragons Are Scary" by Allisha Politis and can be purchased online HERE: The latex glove on my left hand helps me grip the quilt when adding binding, and relieves the tension in my hand, arm and shoulder. Works like a charm! A VIDEO tutorial for Machine Binding using these finishing techniques is now available! Click on the VIDEO tab at the top of the page to watch. Happy Binding! ~Deonn
    by Deonn
    February 07th, 2013 at 6:03 a.m.
  17. Very nice tutorial on binding. I join my ends differently, and don't break the threads at the corner. Any way that makes it easier for a beginner to have success gets my vote.
    by Whiskers
    February 25th, 2015 at 8:54 a.m.
  18. I have struggled with this for awhile. This is the best tutorial EVER!!! Even with the faux piping! Thanks!!
    by Tlo
    April 15th, 2015 at 5:39 p.m.

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