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Tips & Techniques > Binding, nicely finished on the wrong side, by machine

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Posted by: SewVeryTall

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Member since: 3/2/04
Reviews: 161 (tips: 68)
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Posted on: 6/24/07 4:25 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 12 people   
I recently finished a queen-sized quilt, and had every intention of hand sewing the back side of the binding. As far as I knew, hand stitching was the only way to get a truly nice finish.

After machine stitching the 400 inches [10 M] of binding to the right side, I decided there had to be a way to stitch the final step of the binding, by machine. I like to hand stitch, but give me a break!

There are ways I've seen this done...stitching in the ditch on top, or topstitching the binding. The way this looks on the back side is, in a word, yuck. Topstitching seems to fall off and on the back side of the binding. Stitching in the right side's ditch can be uneven looking on the back, at best.

After some thinking, I came up with the solution. I took the quilt to my nice comfy couch [room for me and the quilt to sit], and spent some quality time pinning. Here's the 'in the ditch' on top, catching the binding on the back along its "topstitching line". By pinning exactly where you'll be sewing, in the ditch, the pin shows exactly where the stitching line will be on the back.

My pins are 1 7/8 inches [47mm] long...very nice to use for this purpose.

The pinning was time consuming...many pins had to be adjusted...but it was so much faster than hand sewing. It may not be perfectly perfect, but it pleased my perfectionistic tendencies. I'll be using this technique for binding necklines, armholes, etc. too.

Photo links:

Shows Pinning, front and back

Shows Back of Finished Binding

Edited 6-28-07 to add link to the bedspread review.
Edited 7-4-07 to fix the pinning photo link, when this site dumped the "plus sign" in the photo's address.

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saftasaba said... (5/7/12 3:46 PM) Reply
can no longer link to photos, just too old.
Sewlikecrazy99 said... (7/3/07 1:07 AM) Reply
If I ever run out of steam-a-seam to use with my french binding, I will definitely use this tip. Thanks!
SewVeryTall said... (6/28/07 0:28 AM) Reply
Thank you for all the nice comments!

OP Gal...As I'm stitching, and the next pin gets near the presser foot, I put my fingers on top of the area where I'm going to pull the pin out, so it can't move, and then pull the pin out with my other hand.

showmee...oh my, I wouldn't take all the time to remove the old binding to reuse it, since you're cutting the quilt down in size. I'd buy new fabric [it doesn't need much] and make new'd be SO MUCH easier and faster.

miri said... (6/27/07 5:35 PM) Reply
Good old-fashioned basting works for this too. I think it's easier to do with the quilt on a table (pinning is too) and basting is fast and can be pulled out after the machine stitching. Besides, it won't prick your flesh or the fabric as you maneuver the quilt.
showmee said... (6/27/07 2:10 PM) Reply
A big Thank You for this tip, as I have to cut a King size down to a Queen and it has a binding that I have to take off and reput it back on the spread. I would like to do a good job and this is a big help.
Sewingmi said... (6/26/07 7:16 PM) Reply
Thanks for the tip, I'll have to try it. Binding is my least favorite thing! Not only that, but my handstitching always looks awful! This method would look much nicer!
Sadlesor said... (6/25/07 9:52 PM) Reply
Will be giving this and the "Steam A Steam" tips a try the next time I have binding. Thanks for taking the time to offer this suggestion
OP Gal said... (6/25/07 8:01 PM) Reply
I've wished for a solution to this dilemma for a long time. Thanks for the tip--I'll be using it. I have a question, though: how and when do you remove the pins as you're stitching?
PVA said... (6/25/07 10:52 AM) Reply
Ardis, thank you for this tip -- I've just finished a quilt about a month ago & did the backside of the binding by hand because I was donating it to a Relay for Life silent auction. Next time I'm going to try this method. I truly appreciate that you put it in the tips section. Now I know for sure where to find it!
PoppyB said... (6/25/07 7:26 AM) Reply
I just did the same thing yesterday, but did a 'quick and dirty' job of it, since the little wall hanging was just a sampler that already had some not-too-perfect techniques in it. As usual, though, I regret the 'quick and dirty' and wish I'd been more careful. You've inspired me for my next effort. Thanks!
Nancywin said... (6/25/07 0:11 AM) Reply
great ideas. I'll definitely have to try them.
Jeanette P said... (6/24/07 2:13 PM) Reply
I use the steam a seam too - but between the 2 of your suggestions, I think I just cut my time in half! Thanks ladies...
crashnquilt said... (6/24/07 12:32 PM) Reply
I also machine finish my bindings on quilts. Instead of pinning I use the 1/4" STEAM A SEAM fusible tape. First I apply the tape to the binding. I do "fuse" it down a bit with my craft iron, then while pulling off the tape, I place my binding just over my stitching and fuse into place. Then I can stitch in the ditch from the top and always catch my binding underneath without the need to remove pins. Once you wash the quilt all of the steam a seam is gone. You may want to give it a try.
christine A said... (6/24/07 10:05 AM) Reply
I plan on using this for other types of bindig too! Thanks!
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