How to join binding ends: no-tuck technique (tutorial)

Still tucking your binding tails, one into the other? It’s a quick way to finish your binding, but the result can look a bit bulky. There’s a better way to give your binding a smooth finish—and it’s just as easy as the tuck technique.

How to join binding endsPopular author Donna Lynn Thomas has spent 30+ years weeding out fussy finishing methods in favor of efficiency. Her quilting philosophy? Once you establish reliable ways to finish your quilts, your quilting experiences will become frustration free. A goal well worth accomplishing!

Today Donna is a guest writer at Stitch This! to share how to join binding ends in a way that’s so simple, you’ll never tuck again (see photo at right—zero bulk—and her tutorial below).

You’ll find all of Donna’s favorite finishing methods in Quiltmaking Essentials 2. Add her popular quilt-finishing handbook to your library for less than $20—or buy both volumes of Quiltmaking Essentials and get free shipping. (You’ll also instantly get the eBook versions for free.)

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Donna Lynn ThomasYou’ve turned the last corner on your binding and the excitement is mounting! You’re heading down the stretch toward the finish line…and skid to a halt. There’s one last thing left to do: join those tails together before you can stitch the binding to the back of your quilt.

While waiting to present a lecture at a guild meeting a number of years ago, a guild member gave me a quick demo on what I now think is the best way to join binding tails. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but I thank them heartily—and no doubt you will too!

Quilt tutorial: how to join binding ends

Note: Make sure you have about 12″ of ending tail and at least a 12″ space between where you started and stopped sewing the binding on your quilt. You must have enough binding length to overlap the starting tail by several inches.

1. Open up and trim the end of the starting tail so it has a precise right angle cut on its end. Using a ruler, measure in from the end of the starting tail a distance equal to the full width of the binding strips you cut, and mark that point. For instance, if you cut 2¼"-wide binding strips, you would make a mark 2¼" in from the end of the starting tail.
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2. Lay out the open starting tail smoothly along the edge of the quilt, pinning it so it doesn’t shift. Open up and smooth the ending tail over it, pinning it so it’s flat along the edge too.

3. Now comes the magic! Mark and trim the ending tail to the 2¼" mark on the starting tail with a right-angle cut. In essence, you’re cutting the ending tail longer than the starting tail by the same distance as the width of the binding.
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4. To join the ends, place the two tails right sides together and perpendicular to each other as shown below. Pin and sew on the diagonal across the corner.
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5. Open up the joined binding to make sure the tails weren’t twisted during sewing. (Believe me, you want to check because someone who’ll remain nameless has been known to rush and sew twisted bindings that had to be taken apart and resewn. Ahem.) Trim the excess corners ¼" from the seams, and finger press the seam.

6. Refold the joined binding, lay it on the edge of the quilt top, and finish sewing it in place. It should fit perfectly along the remaining distance to be sewn. And the join will look just like all the others where you sewed binding strips together. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
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How to join binding ends


Did you miss Donna’s post on how to miter binding corners? Read it here.

Sewing binding: love that final step, or leave it until the last minute? Tell us in the comments!

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