Double Fold Binding Tutorial

How to add a double fold strip of binding to your quilt edge, how to mitre the corners and join the strip.

You’ll find a Backing and Binding Calculations pdf to help you work out how much binding you need for your quilt. You can download a copy so you always have it to hand. The normal width of the Double Fold binding strip is 2½” but I actually find 2¼” gives a better finish. Use whichever you feel comfortable with, you could start with 2½” and, when you feel more confident try 2¼”.

Cut the required number of strips at your chosen width such as 2¼”.

Join with a diagonal seam. This spreads out the seam allowance in the binding so you don’t end up with a bulky lump which would happen if you joined with a straight seam. To do this lay your first strip, right side up. Lay your second strip, right sides together at a 45° angle. Fold over the corner and press a diagonal line from one corner to the other. This becomes your seam line. Sew and trim the excess leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Press this open to reduce bulk further.

Join across the diagonal.
Trim leaving 1/4″ seam allowance

Fold the strip in half wrong sides together along the length and press.

I find it helps to sew a narrow stitching line around the edge of the quilt, about 1/8″ from the edge. This gives a solid edge to join the binding too but you don’t have to take this step.

With the quilt pieced/right side up, align the raw edges of the quilt and the binding. You can pin the binding in place if you wish but you may find it easier not to. The binding does ‘shift’ as you sew it in place and try and avoid having a join at a corner, the excess fabric makes it tricky. The foot of your machine will push some excess fabric towards you as you sew.  

Making sure you leave at least 6″ of the start of the binding hanging loose and begin stitching with a 1/4″ seam.

Start sewing leaving at least 6″ of binding free at the start.

As you approach a corner, fold the binding to the right and finger press a 45° line across the corner. This is a guide only. You may find the fabric moves a little as you approach and the fold is to help you see where the 45° line should be to exit the corner. You want to stop when you reach this line (usually just before your fold), lift your foot with the needle down, and turn to head along this 45° line off the corner of the quilt. Cut the threads to move onto the next side.

Fold and finger press to form a crease line.
Crease to give you an idea where to stitch.
When you reach the line, stitch off at a 45° angle.
Crease is a guide for the 45° angle
Fold the binding to the right,
Continue all the way around.

Fold the binding out to the right and then bring back, aligning the short side with the edge of your quilt. This will allow room to turn the binding giving you a mitre at the corner when you come to Slip Stitch it down on the reverse. You will have a triangular flap of binding on the inside. 

Turn your quilt so you are starting again at the corner and repeat down the next side. Continue until you are approaching your starting point but STOP about 8″ short.

Stop leaving a rough 8″ gap.

Now we come to joining the binding. Trim one end of the binding in the middle of your gap, the section you haven’t joined yet.

Overlap the other end of the binding and trim with an overlap of the same width of your binding. You can use a piece trimmed off to measure this. If you have cut the binding to be 2½” then the overlap should also be 2½”.

Trim one end of your binding to the centre of your gap.
Use the scrap trimmed off as a measure.
Trim second edge, width of overlap should be the same width as the strip.

You can now bring both ends of the binding right sides together at a 45° in the same way you joined the initial strips. Fold to show your seam line and sew. It can help to add a couple of pins to hold it in place. Sew along the diagonal seam line.

Both ends trimmed.
Right sides together, join the binding with a diagonal seam as before.

Sew a diagonal seam.

Check it fits, now is the time to adjust.

Before trimming the excess check it fits properly. Now is the time to discover mistakes as you can easily unpick the seam quickly and re-sew. Once you are happy, then you can trim the excess, align the raw edges as before and sew the remaining binding gap closed.

Trim leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Sew gap closed.

All that remains is to fold the binding over the the reverse side and Slip Stitch the binding to the back of the quilt. I like to use plastic clips to hold the binding in place whilst I hand sew.

I hope this series of images has helped with adding a Double Fold Binding. You can download the Backing and Binding Calculations sheet here:

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