A Time to Piece, a Time to Bind

For every thing, turn, turn, turn….There is much discussion about how best to attach binding.

Binding for the Tumbling Spools Scrap Quilt

Checking for Joins near Corners

On my first couple of quilts I stitched the binding to the front of the quilt, turned the binding to the back and then machine stitched from the front, in the ditch, trying to ensure the binding ‘caught’ and was stitched into place on the reverse.

Many quilters attach the binding to the back, then flip and machine sew it down on the front using a decorative stitch. From what I read, this method is popular for quilts that will be frequently laundered, for charity quilts or by those who don’t want to mess round with hand sewing. I haven’t tried that method myself, yet. I think that stems out of wanting to draw the viewer’s attention to the design of the top and not the attachment of the binding. I pick a colour that works and that’s all the attention binding deserves.

Many others use the walking foot to attach the binding to the front of the quilt, then hand sew it down on the reverse. This is my current preferred method.

Machining is certainly quicker than hand sewing but I got frustrated by the amount of unpicking I had to do when my machine sewing line failed to ‘catch’ the binding. Some advocate using glue to help address this issue, but to me that doesn’t sit comfortably with the traditional heart of quilting. It’s a matter of personal preference and my personal preference is machine sewing the binding to the front, flipping it to the reverse and hand sewing it down. That’s what I’ll be doing on my tumbling spools scrap quilt. I use a single strand of thread for the hand sewing, not double as some do.

Before I attach the binding I like to lay it out very roughly, to double check that none of my joins will end up at a corner. A join can really mess up what would otherwise be a tidy mitred corner.


9 responses to “A Time to Piece, a Time to Bind

  1. I make my binding by cutting 2.5″ strip, press in half. Sew onto the front and then hand stitch the back.

  2. Thanks for sharing that – yours is a tried and true method.

    I have just returned from visiting my mother and got an opportunity to nap under one of the first quilts I ever made, where I machine sewed the binding down from the front, in the ditch. It looked quite tidy, I must say.

  3. For me, the best part of making a quilt is hand sewing the binding to the back. I machine sew just like sleepycathollow and hand stitch to the back – I feel such a sense of accomplishment and want it to go on forever. As for the piecing, sashing, etc. – meh. I really want to get to the binding :-)

  4. Postage might get a little expensive, but I’m willing. Doryman thinks we have enough quilts (silly man!) so I haven’t started one in months. Doing the fun stuff and then sending it off would be a treat :-)

    • Best bet is you bring Doryman to Australia for a visit. He and Tinkerer can sail and paddle and build boats and we can sew (and come out on the water from time to time.)

      We don’t have our own quilt yet but we will when the tumbling spools quilt is finished. Eventually it will be paired with the Swedish style sofa bed that Tinkerer is planning to build.

  5. If we had the funds we would never be at home – Doryman wants to travel the world and Australia is very near the top of his “must see” list ;-) Sounds like a dream vacation!

    • Hope Doryman isn’t planning to row across the Pacific. With his love of rowing, that wouldn’t surprise me. Give us a yell if/when you’re heading to these parts and we’ll take you for a sail. You should target the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart in 2013. It looks like a lot of fun.

  6. I’ll let Doryman know. To my knowledge he is not planning on rowing across the Pacific, but his 60th birthday is coming up, so who knows what he might dream up…

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