Last week, I shared an easy beginners quilt topper with you! So easy, in fact, you can finish it in an afternoon if you want to! This week, I’ll show you an easy way to finish off any blanket or quilt with a binding tutorial. When I was planning my quilts, I searched and searched for a doable “finish” that I felt I could easily master. The “self binding” technique fit the bill!
Self-binding is just what it sounds like… a way to make the blanket or quilt bind itself. The thought of making a separate binding made me cross eyed. I wasn’t sure I could do it, and I was afraid of messing up all of my hard work! Both quilts I’ve finished have a self binding finish and I am absolutely in love with how it turned out.
Supplies for Quilt Backing & Binding
- Fabric for backing
- Matching Color Thread
- Quilt Batting (like this one!)
- Sewing Machine
- Scissors/Rotary Cutter
- Large safety pins
Follow these steps for an easy self binding quilt finish!
Adding The Quilt Backing
Once you have your finished quilt topper, you need to add the batting (for warmth) and the backing before quilting.
Step 1 – Cut The Batting
First, you will need to cut the batting the exact(ish) size of your quilt topper. I typically lay the batting on a table, then put my quilt topper (right side up, wrong side touching the batting) on top of that and roughly cut the batting to match the quilt topper. No measuring needed. I typically safety pin the topper to the batting so the fabrics don’t shift.
Step 2 – Cutting the Backing
Once your batting is cut, I take the safety pinned topper/batting layer and lay it on top of the backing fabric. I do this with the batting touching the wrong side of the backing fabric. How you lay each piece on top of each other is exactly how your quilt will come together. Trust me, you don’t want to find that you placed the right side of your fabric towards the batting… you’ll kick yourself!
Instead of cutting the backing fabric to the exact size of your quilt topper/batting layer, you want to have a margin of about 2 inches around each side. I place the topper/batting piece on the backing fabric, making sure I have over 2 inches on each side of the topper. I safety pin the topper to the backing fabric so that the layers don’t shift around.
Then, I cut the backing fabric, leaving a 2 inch margin around each side of the quilt topper. A rotary cutter and a long clear tape measure really make this easy, but you can do it without them with regular scissors. Your cuts don’t have to be perfect. There’s room for mistakes.
This next step can be done so many ways, I’m not going to go into specifics. There are hundreds of ways one may decide to “quilt”. I don’t know why I was so surprised to learn that this was done with basically a “finished” blanket… duh. But, it is. So you will have a lot of fabric to go through. Make sure your machine can handle it by equipping it with good (non flimsy) needles.
I quilt on a machine, and for the two quilts I’ve finished, I just stitched around each and every little square. I think doing it this way was simple and it turned out really well. No need for fancy quilting… after all, we’re beginners, right?
Be forewarned, this step takes the most time. It’s also easy to get your fingers caught in the machine, so… don’t do that. Just take your time, don’t get in a hurry, and make those beautiful stitches.
Binding The Quilt
Like I mentioned previously, I was really scared to do a separate binding for my quilts. I knew that precision was key and as a beginner, I didn’t feel like I could take that risk. Once I found the self-binding option, I was sold! There was room for mistakes, and it seemed relatively straight forward.
Step 1 – Pressing The Seam
To start self binding, you’ll need an iron. Basically, all that you’re going to do is fold that 2″ margin of the backing fabric in half, towards the quilt topper, and press it with the iron. This will make a nice, straight edge.
It’s easier to finish one side completely. So before you press all 4 sides of the backing this way, just continue to the next step after doing one. Once you’re finished with the binding completely on that side, move on to the next side. Make sense?
Step 2 – Making The Last Fold
Once that edge is made, and the fold is pressed, then you need to fold that edge up onto the quilt topper to finish the binding. The “cut” edge will be “inside” the binding so you wont see it, and all you’ll see is that nice pretty, pressed, edge you made in the step before.
Press this fold and pin the biding to the quilt topper (with straight pins) all the way down the side.
Step 3 – Sew The Binding
Now it’s sewing machine time! You’re going to sew the binding on the edge you just pressed and pinned.
You want to make your stitches as close to the first pressed edge as you can (see how my needle is positioned with the binding in the photo below–at the very edge). You know, the edge you made in “Step 1 – Pressing the Seam”. This will be the straight binding edge on the inner side of the quilt.
Start the stitches where the binding overlaps the quit topper. You don’t want to sew any fabric that isn’t covering part of the actual quilt. Also try to make your stitch as straight as possible, following that straight edge all the way down to the end of the quilt.
Step 4 – Repeat For Remaining 3 Sides
Repeat steps 1-3 for the remaining three sides. I suggest finishing the binding on parallel sides vs. perpendicular sides because it makes the corners easier to fold and manage.
Step 5 – Finishing The Corners
So, you’ll notice when when you’re completing the binding for the last two sides that when you fold the binding, you’re left with some weird fabric sticking out on the ends. Clearly this will not do. Luckily, there’s an easy fix! Fold the extra fabric at the corners inside the binding in the shape of a triangle. The finished edge will be diagonal, instead of straight across at the corners.
Do this for all of the corners and you have a finished quilt!
Prepare To Enjoy
Once you’ve finished the corners, you’re completely finished with the entire quilt! Congratulations! See, it wasn’t that hard! Now enjoy your finished quilt, or gift it to a friend who means a lot to you! The quilt will surely be enjoyed for many years to come, and the fruit of your labor won’t go unappreciated.
Are you planning a quilt any time soon? What projects have you completed? Does this easy tutorial ease your mind when thinking about quilt making?