Friday, April 21, 2017

Humble Quilts Swap & Binding Tutorial

My little swap quilt (Humble Quilts) arrived at its destination so I can reveal it now. I named it “Sweet 116” because it has 116 different prints in the blocks and border. The border print is from one of my favorite Barbara Brackman lines, "Metropolitan Fair".
I used one of my favorite cheater prints for the back. 

Andrea (the recipient) asked me how I get my binding corners so precise so I thought I would do a quick tutorial here.

When you are making “potholder” blocks it is particularly important that your corners are sharp and crisp. If your corner is at all rounded, you will have a gap at your intersection which you will have to fill with a yo-yo or other such clever “fix”. I speak from a great deal of experience in the trial and error method!!

I use a single straight (not bias) grain binding. I cut my strips 1 ¼” wide. I leave about 2” “tail” at the beginning and start stitching the binding down. At the corner I simply fold the miter over and stitch. It is important to make sure that the fold is in line with the top edge of the quilt (or block in this case). 

If the fold does not meet the top edge – like this
Your corner will be rounded - like this - argh! 

If you come all the way to the top edge – like this
Your corners will be crisp and perfect! - like these 

When I come to the end, I leave another 2” “tail”. Then I fold back each edge until they meet and then finger press.  You can finish at an angle, but I simply stitch straight across which, because of the single binding creates almost no bulk.
Then pin, pick it up and take it to the machine. I stitch one or two thread widths to the left of the crease. That way I get a little “camber” so that when I stitch it down, I won’t have a pucker in the binding.

Trim to 1/4" seam allowance and stitch down.

I’ve had so many comments over the years. What??? You don’t use bias? What??? You use single width? What??? You don’t miter your seams? Nope, nope, nope, but then this is MY method, not the ONLY method. I taught myself how to do it this way after seeing hundreds of antique quilts with single, straight grain bindings. I just like the sleek look of it.

Hope this helps Andrea! I’m glad you like the little quilt.

Thanks Lori (Humble Quilts) for hosting this swap again. I am looking forward to seeing what comes my way! Lori will be doing a link up soon so we can enjoy them all!


  1. I am admiring your quilting skills in this post. First the border print was cut and sewn perfectly. Andrea is very lucky to be the recipient of your beautiful mini quilt. I appreciate your binding tutorial, I am going to be more mindful that my fold meets the top edge. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love your little quilt. The border you chose makes a beautiful frame for those bright 16-patch blocks. My bindings are usually a little rounded but I've never given it much thought, I suppose because I've never needed sharp corners. Now I know how to get them. Thanks, Wendy.

  3. Your doll quilt is gorgeous Wendy ! Congratulations and thank you for this great tutorial !

  4. What a sweet little quilt! I do my binding similar to yours only I use a double fold. It's when I get in a hurry that I end up with those pesky rounded corners. Straight grain in definitely my favorite vs. bias and I think it's because I use so many leftover bits of fabric. It's a lot easier to make straight grain binding with random pieces than it is with the bias cuts!

  5. Great tutorial Wendy and thanks for being 'brave' enough to admit to your bias technique - love it! It happens to be the way I taught myself to bind too ...prefering the single width as I find it an easier and neater fit when folded over to the back, and straight grain never caused me a problem. Mind you - I have now mastered the 'proper' method but don't see any better finish in it! If a quilt is going to have a lot of use/washing then maybe a double folded binding would be an advantage in wear ...but few of my quilts have that sort of life!

  6. Your little quilt is so pretty. I love Metropolitan Fair. I wish Barbara would come out with another line just as wonderful.

  7. Darn! I wish I had been the recipient of your doll quilt!! It is beautiful!
    I love your instructions for the mitered corners... I think I didn't sew all the way to the end, which might explain my less than perfect mitered corners! Or operator error!!
    thanks for the instructions!!

  8. A wonderful little quilt, Wendy. The border fabric is perfect!
    A great bit of binding advice. When I have done trunk shows of my mini quilts I often get questions about binding, and I think it is a problem for many.

  9. Hi,
    Your little quilt is a real beauty! (We wouldn't expect anything less from you, of course.) Thanks for the binding tutorial. Your workmanship is always perfect.

  10. What a lovely little quilt and one lucky recipient! Love that you used so many fabrics and the border is perfect :) Thanks for your binding tutorial. I do mine the same way but double fold for larger quilts.

  11. what a sweet doll quilt. Your swap partner sure got lucky!
    great cheater on the back.
    your corners are perfection - wow. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  12. I saw your quilt yesterday and was impressed at how you got those scallops on the border fabric to match up so well to the inside of the quilt. Love the backing. Would be a two-sided quilt without the label on it.

  13. Love the little quilt, the borders are so great! I think the binding is something lots of folks struggle with and perhaps its because there are too many options! I too use a straight grain and single fold on little quilts, I use the double fold for large bed quilts, but it's too much bulk for tiny projects. Very nice tutorial!!

  14. What a lovely quilt you made for your partner!! That border is great.
    I use single fold on my little quilts too. I once heard that even straight of grain bindings are still a little bias since the "straightness" isn't perfect! I do use double on my bigger quilts cause they are all well used.

  15. Thank you from your lucky recipient, I do appreciate your tutorial and pictures. Straight grain binding cut across grain does have a little give. Maybe I will try this method!