For most of my art quilts, I use a facing instead of a binding. Facing is a technique borrowed from garment sewing. Using a facing on a quilt instead of a binding gives it a nice clean edge which is an attractive finish for quilts that belong on the wall. This is what a facing looks like from the back.
And this is what a faced quilt looks like from the front. If you want to read my tutorial about how to make a quilt facing, you can by clinking here.
I finish bed quilts and Fleece Flannel Blankets with an All Machine Stitched Binding. I have developed this binding technique over many years. It is perfectly fine to machine stitch your binding to the front of your quilt and then hand sew to the back of your quilt, but my preference is to use my sewing machine for both sides. I like the clean sturdy look of an All Machine Stitched Binding. Here is how I do it.
I am going to use a Fleece Flannel Blanket that I just finished, but you can use this binding technique on quilts, oven mitts, Fleece Flannel blankets REALLY any project that needs a binding. And if you want to make the Fleece Flannel Blanket to practice making an All Machine Binding you can by clicking here.
Binding can be an intimidating step in the quilt making process, and it doesn’t help that it is what stands between you and an a finished project. I hope this tutorial clearly walks you through all the steps.
The first step is to create a binding. You can use your own method or follow my tutorial here for creating a bias cut twirly stripe binding. I use a 2 1/4″ wide binding.
I attach the binding to the BACK of my quilt using my walking foot. I always use a thread that blends. I like Aurifil 50wt in color #2600. This is also the thread I use for piecing. I want a nice 1/4” seam that fills my binding.
To do this, I line up the edge of my quilt just inside the edge of my walking foot. Test this with your machine and your walking foot. You may need to reposition things to get an accurate 1/4” seam.
I stitch along until I get close to a corner. When I am close, I slide a straight pin into the corner at a 45% angle. This is a new trick I just discovered last week. Isn’t that crazy? That pin really helps you get a nice 45% angle of stitching in your corners.
The beauty of this method is that no one knows where your binding starts or stops. I love it.No one likes this next step, but it is crucial for an All Machine Stitched Binding. Using my sturdiest pins, I pin the binding to the top of my quilt all the way around.
I select a thread that will blend in on the back but also works well on the front. In this case, I stuck with the light grey Aurifil thread. I use my number eight foot which is a Jeans Stitch foot instead of a walking foot. This foot is built to stitch through thick layers of fabric and with the single small needle hole the needle is limited in where it can move. I have better visibility with this foot than my walking foot. Most machines have a foot similar to this. If you don’t have this foot, use your walking foot.
You want your stitch to be at the very edge of the binding AND you want it to consistently stay there. You can see here that I am adjusting the binding with my left index finger, while using the awl to make sure the stitch goes where I want it to.
If you want to make your own Fleece Flannel Blanket you can by visiting this blog post.