Yesterday I gave a demo on bindings at our monthly meeting of the Orange County Modern Quilt Guild and I thought I would follow up by posting a tutorial here with detailed pictures.
When I made my first quilt, I learned to join the binding ends with a diagonal seam which gives a nice, continuous look and reduces the bulk significantly compared to the many "fold under and overlap the ends" methods. The thing is that this is tricky to learn and even after doing it once, I wasn't sure how to recreate it the second time I had to bind a quilt!
I hope that this tutorial helps some of you master this technique:
Step 1: Start by attaching your binding around the quilt with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a "tail" of several inches on each end of your binding. Stop when you come within a few inches of where you started
Step 2: Find the point in the middle of your opening where each end of the binding meets. Finger press to crease your fabric so you can see the point at which one end meets the other.
Step 3: Unfold your binding strips and find the finger pressed creases on the right side of one end and the wrong side of the other end. Here I have marked them with a fabric pen so you can see more clearly. Overlap you unfolded strips, right sides together, so that these lines are perpendicular to one another.
Step 4: Sew your ends together with a diagonal seam. Here I have laid out the strips with my quilt on the left and the binding ends on the right. Imagine a clock when you are orienting your fabric: The bottom fabric is laid right side up with the finger pressed crease going from about 2 to 8 o'clock. The top fabric is laid wrong side up with the finger pressed crease going from about 10 to 4 o'clock. You want your crease lines to cross like an X and you will sew straight down the middle from 12 to 6 o'clock. Before stitching, I recommend pinning the fabric here where you imagine the seam to go (pin above and below the fold of the binding) so you can "test" that you've got this right.
Step 5: Trim the binding ends to a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press open
Here after I've trimmed and pressed my seam, you can see that the lines I marked where the finger pressed crease lines were intersect right at my binding fold. This tells me that I've stitched in the right place and can put my seam ripper away!
Step 6: Re-fold your binding and stand back to admire your perfectly joined ends!
I'd love to hear your feedback on whether this is tutorial helpful. This quilt is now finished and I'll be posting completed pics soon!