Joining Binding Ends

This is a quick photo tutorial of a neat technique for joining the ends of double-fold binding when stitching the binding to the quilt. I first learned this technique at my local quilt shop, Quilter’s Cupboard in Uxbridge, during one of their free monthly demos. I’ve seen it elsewhere on the net, but it’s such a useful trick that I thought I’d explain it here anyway. I was using it to finish off the binding on my quilt, so I took the opportunity to take pictures as I went along.

When stitching the binding to the quilt, leave fairly long, unstitched, overlapping ends. In this picture, there are pins at each end showing where I started and stopped stitching. In between, the binding ends are loose. The longer the gap, the easier it is to join the ends.

almost finished sewing binding on

Measure the width of the unfolded binding strip. In this case, it was 2 inches wide.

measuring width of binding

Trim the excess binding so that the overlap is the same as the width of the binding strip. In this case, I have 2 inches of overlap. Try to have this overlap centred within the unstitched section.

cut overlap to width of binding

Unfold the binding strip ends and lay them with right sides together, at right angles, as shown below. Place a straight pin from corner to corner along what will become the seam line. Note that in the following photos I have folded the body of the quilt in a little to give some ease to the loose binding ends.

secure with a pin

Carefully open up the binding to check that if you stitch along the line (where the pin is) it will result in proper alignment of the binding ends. I always do this quick check, to make sure I have the strips lined up the right way. It’s easy to get it backwards.

check alignment

Now, remove the pin and carefully re-pin for sewing. Draw a stitching line from corner to corner, if desired. Note that the stitching line goes from one corner of the top fabric strip to the opposite corner of the bottom strip.

draw line and pin

Stitch along the line, removing pins as you go. Try to stay a thread width to the seam allowance side of the line while you stitch (toward the top, in this photo).

stitch along line

Open up the strip to check again that the seam is in the right place. The binding is now a continuous strip of fabric.

double check seam

Trim away the excess fabric to create a quarter inch seam allowance, and press the seam allowance open.

trim to quarter inch

You will now find that the binding is the correct length to stitch to the quilt, and the join looks smooth and finished.

press open and smooth

Stitch down the length of binding that was previously left unstitched.

finish sewing binding to quilt

And you are finished! This technique works like a charm, and is also handy for  joining ends of piping fabric in home dec projects.

In this case the binding was cut along the grain of the fabric, so it didn’t stretch during the joining process. If you are working with bias binding, be careful not to stretch it as you work.

If you are looking for a very good, printable version of this technique, try this site, owned by quilter “Dread Pirate Rodgers.” She even has a PDF version available.


20 thoughts on “Joining Binding Ends

  1. I cannot thank you enough for this easy to follow instruction guide. I am on my fourth quilt, but no matter how many times I watch a video of this process, I just cannot keep the info in my head. By the time I get back to my sewing machine I have completely lost it! Thank you again – it has made my life so much easier.

  2. Dearest Cyd,
    Do you know how many tutorials I’ve watched or read to get this right? I only started making quilts about four months ago and I am finishing my sixth one today. I used this method of yours this time, and it is so perfect. It was described better than any I’ve used thus far! Thank you, so much!

  3. I’ve used this method for joining binding before but I couldn’t remember how. I found your instructions very easy! Maybe I’ll be able to remember this NOW it was so simple. Thanks for sharing what I consider to be a basic for quilt making but what gives our quilts the look the advanced quilter. Happy quilting.

  4. Pingback: February Project | sewforkids

  5. This is the first time I actually saw the easy, right way to close up a binding seam. But I can make it just a little easier for you. You don’t need that ruler. Press the beginning end of the binding into a triangle. Press and starch well so the fold line is visible. When you begin, the raw edges of the binding sides and the top of that strip are aligned with the raw edge of the quilt. Start sewing 8 to 10 inches from the beginning, leaving the beginning tail free, but pin it down where it should be. When you get to the end, stop sewing 16 to 20 inches from where you started. (It would be good to put a pin here before you start sewing the beginning.)
    Now, when you get to that pin, you cut the end of the binding at the base of that triangle. It’s measured for you. No matter how wide your binding is, that triangle will be the right measurement. Then finish it up the way you showed.
    Excellent tutorial. Easy to see what you are doing.

  6. Just need to send heartfelt thanks to you for helping me pass a quilting milestone! I have used “bumpless” binding endings in the past, which almost always led to cursing and angst. Your method is so direct and easy to follow, just used it for the first time and will never use another method. Thank you for your help.

  7. Thank you for the lovely comment. I’m so glad that my tutorial was helpful. It is a great way to finish off bindings, and I haven’t used any other method since I learned this one.

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