Finished Quilts, Quilting Interest

All Bound Up! part 2: a survey

quilt binding

I’m thinking about binding this week.  Sometimes it seems like a chore to get binding done when you are so excited to be finished with a project and move onto the next one. Binding can seem so tedious.

However, I actually pay a lot of attention to binding my quilts. I have a drawer in my stash where I keep only fabric that I have designated to bind a certain project (that way I don’t accidentally use it for something else). Yes, I usually have the binding fabric chosen while I am still piecing a quilt, nowhere near the finish. Right now that drawer contains a really pretty blue piece I’m saving for my Noteworthy quilt (unfortunately, I haven’t worked on it in a year even though it is so close to finished!). There is a striped remnant in there I picked out for my Hexagon Star quilt (that is next on my list of WIP’s to finish), plus a couple of other fabrics for projects I haven’t shown here yet.

Some quilts are easy to choose a binding for, such as when there is a solid fabric border. I would be likely to choose to bind with the same or similar piece.

binding a quilt

For the quilt above, it made sense to use the same fabric for binding as the border. Other times, I want something that really frames the quilt.

binding a quilt

I am really loving this black and white binding. This is a baby quilt I just finished, and it is a gift, so I’m just showing the back for now. Striped fabric is probably my favorite type of fabric to use for binding. If I can find a good stripe in any form that coordinates with the colors on the quilt, I will choose that.

Some quilts pose a challenge in choosing the binding. One of these is my second Polka Dot Bikini quilt (shown in photo at top). The reason this one felt tricky is that the edge of the quilt isn’t consistent: some areas of the edge are solid blues and some are pieces with blue, orange and green. There wasn’t a clear choice: a blue would blend in some places but stand out against the patchwork, and a print might look funny against the solid blues. In the end, I chose the small-scale orange stripe. I like how it blends with the patchwork, but doesn’t seem too jarring next to the solid blues. It also helps that blue and orange is my favorite complimentary color combo!

So that is a tiny peak into my process of choosing binding: consistently inconsistent!

I wonder how you feel about binding. Do you see it as an important design element or something you don’t want to stand out too much?

Do you have a favorite fabric for binding like my preference for stripes? Does your binding usually blend in with the quilt or create a contrasting frame?

I would love to hear your answers and any other ideas in the comments! We might give each other some new inspiration.


5 thoughts on “All Bound Up! part 2: a survey

  1. Catherine Pritchard says:

    I’ve only made 6 quilts so far but I think binding is an important element. It is like a frame on a picture- it doesn’t have to scream out ‘look at me’, just make the picture look good. I have two favourite bindings so far, A Michael Miller Garden pin dots in black with tiny white spots (blogged at and a stripy binding pieced from all the fabric in the quilt,

  2. Anita Amodeo says:

    I love to bind!!! Since I usually work on a quilt for umpteen YEARS it’s means I’ve finally reached the end! Love your Polka Dot Bikini and so want to tackle it….oh, and I think the binding is the ‘finishing’ touch and usually want it noticed!

  3. Jan O says:

    I totally agree with your preferences for striped binding and also binding that matches a solid border in some cases. When in doubt, I know some quilters suggest using the darkest fabric in the top for the binding. That has worked well for me several times. I do all of my bindings completely by machine (no hand stitching) which is much faster and less tedious. I also tuck my quilt label into a corner of the binding before I sew it down, so I only have to hand stitch part of the label.

  4. Lin Marsh says:

    I love striped binding, but have only used it occasionally. I prefer to bind with something that is used in the quilt, but don’t often have enough. I don’t plan for my binding when I’m buying (collecting) my fabrics, so have to scurry around to find something. I also don ‘t plan my backing until I get there. Seems to be a theme there?
    BTW, I also have to scroll down a long ways to get to your blog on my PC. The first times, I thought it just didn’t load. Now I know I have to scroll for you.

  5. Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl says:

    I put quite a bit of though into my binding choice as well. And I also set the binding fabric aside so it doesn’t accidentally get used for something else. While it is exciting to finish a project, whip-stitching down the binding is one of my favorite parts of quilting. Very quiet and meditative.

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