Today I’d like to talk about binding – how to finish a quilt to give a neat and tidy edge, that will stand up to wear and tear and can be the finishing flourish to your quilt.
There are many ways to finish the edging of a quilt. I love the very traditional Welsh edge, also known as the British, Knife or Butt edge. This was commonly used on antique quilts, especially the Welsh Wholecloth quilts. This is a simple way of finishing a quilt which leaves a clean finish and also has the added advantage of not requiring any additional fabric. For this you simply trim the wadding ¼” in from the top and backing and then fold these edges inwards, trapping the wadding inside. Traditionally this was then finished with a double run of quilting around the edge, giving a crisp finish to your quilt. I use this sort of finish quite a bit as some quilts don’t need the added frame that the below options provide.
One of the most common ways to bind the edge of your quilt is to use a Double Fold binding. The advantage of this sort of binding is that most of the wear on a quilt is at the edges and this method gives a more robust edge which can, if it wears out, be easily replaced. For this we take strips of fabric, fold in half and add to the edge, folding over to trap the raw edges of the quilt and then Slip stitch in place. There are many methods or doing this from the more usual hand finishing to fully machine applied. There are also several ways to neaten the joins and ideally we like to have a mitred fold at each of the corners.
Another binding method is to use a single layer binding, ideal for wall hangings where little wear is expected. I have also used this option on a table runner where a thicker Double Fold binding can create a ridge which cups and glasses can topple from! A simple strip of fabric cut, a hem turned over and ironed in place, not sewn at this stage. The raw edge joined to the quilt and then the pre-folded edge of the binding turned over and Slip stitched in place. These can be added to each side individually or as a single piece all the way around the quilt. Adding them one at a time is simpler if you think you might struggle, the only thing to watch is to ensure you keep the corners neat by turning in the raw edges.
Now we come to the decorative edges. These come in many different styles and techniques from Prairie Points, Scallops and curved edges. There is a huge scope for adding extra interest to your quilt and they are certainly worth investigating if you are making something extra special. The only thing to bear in mind is the use of the quilt. You may not want something delicate at the edge for a quilt which is going to get a lot of wear.
The binding is the last touch, other than a label perhaps, added to your quilt and I love attaching them. It really is the last thing to get a quilt finished and is so satisfying so whichever method you choose, have fun finishing that quilt!
To help you download my simple Double Fold Binding and Welsh Edge Tutorial which also contains my Backing and Double Binding Calculations: