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Lazy Gal Binds

This is my favorite part of the entire quilt.  Binding.  I’ve started quilts just so I can bind something while camping.  It’s true.  You can make your binding on the basis, but that freaks me out.  Ripping is so much easier for me.  I make mine straight.  If I was doing a curved project, basis binding would be smarter.

Let’s do some math first.

You’ll need 20 extra inches of binding for your quilt.  Extra is always nice.  If your quilt is 200 inches, you’ll need 220 inches.  Now you need to figure out how many strips.  Let’s say you have 1/2 yard of fabric for binding.  This means you’ve got 18 inches of fabric to rip or cut.  Do some simple division and you’ll figure out you’ll need 13 strips of binding from the 1/2 yard.  After the fabric has been squared up, I start ripping 2 1/4 inch strips.  Sometimes I iron those long strips.  Sometimes I don’t.

Take two strips and make an angle like the picture below.  I rarely pin the strips, but feel free if it’s helpful.  Sew corner to corner (some people mark this with chalk.  that’s too much work for me.  Just sew straight).  Repeat until you’ve done all your strips.

Next trim off that pesky little corner.

Warm up the iron and get working.  Iron the seam and then iron the binding in half so the wrong sides are touching each other.  Sorry, I forgot to photograph this step.  Once you’re finished ironing, you’ll have a long strip of fabric for your binding.

Now let’s get to the actual sewing.  Lay your quilt top front side up.  I start mine in the center of the longer side.  Take the binding and measure off 10 inches.  Pin this to the front of the quilt.  From the 10 inch mark, go back 20 inches and put a pin.  This is your stopping point.

I sew my binding with a quarter-inch allowance.  Start sewing!  You can pin it if you want or just move along slowly.  Make sure that you’re raw edges are lining up.

Sew until you get a quarter-inch from the first corner.  Sometimes I’ll put a pin there to remind me to stop.

I backstitch at the quarter-inch mark.  Cut the thread and pull your quilt out.  Fold the binding over to create a nice angle.  Pin it.  Now fold the binding over the cute angle.  Start sewing at the very top of the side of the quilt.  I usually backstitch because I want a nice corner.

Repeat around the entire quilt.

Sew until you reach that 20 inch pin.  Stop sewing and cut your thread.  I really do believe this part is magic.  Seriously.  I love this part.  Lay your quilt out and smooth out the binding.  Trim the binding so there’s a 2.5 inch overlap.

Pull up the binding and put right sides together.  Sew on the diagonal like the picture below.  Test to make sure it worked.  Flatten it and check the binding.  If it worked, trim off that little triangle.  Go back to where you stopped sewing and finish up the binding.  If there’s too much binding, your 2.5 inches wasn’t a proper 2.5 inches.  Try again.

Tada!!  Magic binding!

I hand sew my binding.  It  looks nicer and I sew too fast to machine stitch it.  And I really find this part of the quilt therapeutic   I didn’t take pictures to explain how I hand stitch it because this blog does a great job of explaining it.  Once you master this technique  your binding goes on so quickly.  Pour yourself a drink, put on a good movie, and get stitching.

Sometimes my seam allowance wasn’t as accurate as a quarter inch.  Maybe I got sloppy.  I keep a scissors handy and sometimes I’ll trim a little off the raw edge.  You want the binding to fit tightly over that raw edge.  I pull mine until it covers the sewing line.  Be very careful at the corners.  If you trim off the top of the corner, you will trim into the quilt and it will look like shit.  Sometimes you can’t fix that.  I know from awful experience…  When you’re binding the corners,  pull it over and handsew to the very end.  Make a little miter and then tack it flat.  This is the kind of thing that you’ll just have to play with.

Any questions?  Enjoy this part because you’re almost done.

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