Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Binding Business

But first,
Fundraiser button
We are followers of the Oh Fransson blog.  This good cause appeared on yesterday's blog.  We encourage you to take a look.  Her blog will send you to Alissa's blog for more information.  In a nutshell, it is a fundraiser to teach the women of the Eastern Congo self sufficiency and to give them hope.  

Now on to Binding Business.
Today we are binding a placemat.   It measures 17" x 12".  Find the perimeter.  Ours is 58".  Divide by 38".  We use 38" because it approximates the actual usable amount of a single strip from a width of fabric cut.  So we need two 2 1/2" cuts.
Trim the selvedges.  Join with a diagonal seam.  Trim.  Press the seam open.

With wrong sides together, fold in half lengthwise.  Press.  
Starting along one edge stitch a healthy quarter inch seam. (This requires some testing.   We are using almost 3/8".  Do a trial few inches, pull it out of the machine, roll the binding over snugly, and see if stitching from the front will catch the back in the later steps.  We use our standard sewing foot here, with the needle 2 positions over to the left of center.)  Various batting thicknesses and weights of fabric make a difference as to the best seam allowance.  Testing is worthwhile.

The corner is marked 1/4 inch from the end.  Sew to this spot, and then stitch to the corner at 45 degrees.

Pick up the corner, pull vertically, fold down, and stitch from the fold to the next corner.  Repeat.
Leave 6 - 8 inch long tails and a 6 - 8 inch unstitched area between the beginning and the end.

Match up the strips, right sides together.  Pin your seam allowance distance in through both strips.  This part joining them is a bit confusing.  

Watching this Marci Baker video might is very useful.  We do not follow all of her suggestions, being creatures of habit, but her joining of ends works well for us.  
Now press the binding away from the project.

Fold the corners carefully and pin.  They should have the least amount of bulk possible.  The rest will be folded down with lots of binding clips. 

Now here is the BIG SECRET.  We use an edge joining foot to stitch from the front.  This is a foot with a metal center guide that can ride along the ditch where the binding meets the top of the placemat.
We often move the needle one or two positions closer to the binding (to the right.)  Again check after a few inches.  Then away you go.  This method results in a nice finish on the top and the back.  As with many things, the more you practice the better you get.  And another project is completed!

Happy binding.  Let us know if you have questions.  See you next week.


  1. I've found Sharon Schambers method a real treat for binding - NO PINS or CLIPS used at all - just washable glue - no pin pricks, blood or damaged needles

  2. Gosh, thank you marny and Jill. I'm just about to bind ben's quilt. I didn't know about clips or the special foot. Gracias from neophytes!

  3. Thank your for the suggestion of Sharon Schambers, Ethne. I checked out the site. Seems like a fine method, I have never tried using glue.

    And go for it Sarah, your quilt for Ben is stunning! We'd love a photo of it on the Flickr site when you are ready.

  4. So THAT'S what I can do with that foot! Thanks loads for this tutorial. Hopefully my machine stitched bindings will look better in the future.

  5. OK, I finished Ben's quilt and this method worked very well. The video tip about sewing the two ends together looks much better than the old method I used. In attaching the back of the binding, I found that I had to keep the clips quite close together - when I didn't, I tended to miss catching the binding on the back side. That foot is a dream, though. In looking online , many folks sew the binding to the back and then attached the free side to the front - I never liked that appearance, so I'm glad that you offered us this option. By the way, I posted the quilt on Flickr.

  6. Thanks for the binding tutorial! I love that you are showing us how to do things and also giving us videos to watch. I learned a new way to try next time. Thanks

  7. I have a Janome 11000 SE. Is the Janome Quilt in the Ditch Foot the same as the Edge Joining Foot you referenced above - or could it serve the same purpose for this use? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Gail,
      I am not sure what a Ditch Foot does. If it has a "finger" or "gate" that rides along the ditch it could possibly work. You might need to move your needle one or two positions to the left of the "ditch" as you sew. Certainly worth a try!


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