I have mentioned that July is a “time out” month of quilting for me. Every once in a while I have to stop and really focus on finishing projects or I start to get really overwhelmed. This month, it seems I am doing a lot of binding, which is wonderful because it means I am “finishing” my quilts in progress!
Last week I was putting this yellow binding on one of my quilts and I had an “aha!” moment, so I thought I would share my discovery for those who aren’t already doing this.
Oh, the dreaded ends. There are probably many ways to finish the ends of your binding. None much fun. I show you one way in My Binding Tutorial, which is how I have always done it. But I realized there is a simpler way without all that measuring and math and stuff.
Sew your binding on as usual, leaving a tail at the beginning. When you get to around 12″ from where you started, backstitch and cut your thread. Check out the picture above, the tail on the bottom is from my starting point. The tail on the top is from my end point. You want your starting tail to be roughly long enough to reach half way into the gap between the start and end of sewing. See how I trimmed my end tail so it is still slightly longer than my start tail, but I made sure the angle is cut to “fit” into the other, ie. the angle on each strip is as I want it to be when I am ready to sew them together.
Lay the start tail along the edge of the quilt. Place your end tail (the one coming from the right in the photo above) over the start tail so they overlap. Mark the point on the end tail where it meets the end of the start tail with a pin or pencil mark (as shown above).
Separate the tails again, placing the marked end tail on your cutting board.
Use your ruler to measure 7/8″ from the first mark (red pin). Mark this spot with another pin or pencil mark (blue pin). Make sure you’re second mark is 7/8″ toward the END of the strip, not back toward the quilt end, that is, the second mark (blue pin) makes your strip LONGER, not shorter. Remove the first (red) pin.
***update: the more I have used this technique, I have found that 1/2″ works better for me (rather than 7/8″). If you find your binding is not fitting using the 7/8″ seam allowance, try it with 1/2″ instead.***
Using the 45 degree angle on your ruler, measure a line on your strip, parallel to the cut end (so it is at the same angle) at your marked point, see above.
Remove the pin and cut the angle.
Match the end of the strip, right sides facing, with the starting strip and pin to hold in place:
It helps to fold the quilt so that you bring the strips closer together and give yourself more room to maneuver without stretching the binding strips. Sew the strips together along the matched ends. Finger press the seam open and re-fold the binding strip in half.
Start sewing again where you left off to finish sewing the binding strip to the edge of the quilt.
**I find at this point it works better to sew with the binding strip on bottom, quilt on top. This allows the feed dogs to keep the binding strip smooth and you don’t get a pucker where you stitch over the original starting point.