How to sew binding strips together: 2 ways

How to sew binding strips together: 2 ways

If you make your own quilt binding, you probably do it the same way every time. But depending on how you cut your binding strips, it can be beneficial to sew them together in a certain way. With a simple change to your routine, you can avoid bulky seams, eliminate unsightly stretching, and strengthen your binding too. If you’re going to make your binding, you might as well make it last!

Happy EndingsThat’s why today we’re sharing a quick tutorial on how to sew binding strips together for both straight-grain binding strips and bias binding strips. The how-to comes from Mimi Dietrich’s best-selling book Happy Endings. Are you giving your binding its best shot at a long life? See if your technique matches up with Mimi’s!
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Sewing Binding Strips Together: 2 Ways

The easiest way to sew straight-grain strips together is to connect the pieces using straight seams; however, this method creates bulky areas when the binding is applied. To make a binding lie flat and smooth even where there are seams, it’s best to sew the strips together with diagonal seams. When the binding is folded over the edge of the quilt, the bulk of the seam is distributed in opposite directions. And on bias binding, using a diagonal seam means you’re stitching along the straight of grain, so it prevents the seam from stretching.

Method 1: Joining Straight-Grain Strips

The ends of straight-grain binding strips are square, not diagonal. You can take the time to trim them at a 45º angle and stitch them together as for bias-binding strips. But I find the following method is quick and accurate.

  1. Place two strips right sides together, crossing the ends at right angles. Lay them on a flat surface and pin securely.
    Joining-straight-grain-strips-1
  2. Imagine the strips as the capital letter A. Draw a line across the pieces to connect the points where they intersect, just like crossing the A, and then sew along the line.
    Joining-straight-grain-strips-2
  1. Trim the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance, and press the seam allowances open.
    Joining-straight-grain-strips-3
  2. Continue adding strips in the same manner until you have enough binding to go around your quilt, plus 10″.
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Method 2: Joining Bias Strips

Because they’re cut at an angle to the straight edges of the fabric, bias strips will have ends that are angled at 45º to the length of the strip.

Joining-bias-strips-1

  1. Place two binding strips right sides together with the diagonal edges aligned. Slide them so that the ends extend ¼".
    Joining-bias-strips-2
  1. Sew a ¼" seam across the cut edges.
    Joining-bias-strips-3
  2. Press the seam allowances open and trim off the parts that extend beyond the edge of the binding. Trimming the points will reduce bulk in the finished binding.
    Joining-bias-strips-4
  3. Continue adding strips in the same manner until you have enough binding to go around your quilt, plus 10″.

Binding options from Happy EndingsThere’s lots more to learn about binding in Happy Endings—choosing single or double-fold binding; mitering corners; sewing by hand or machine; making striped, plaid, and scrappy bindings; and much more. Did you know you can cut a single strip continuously from yardage so you don’t have to sew strips together at all? You can, and in Happy Endings, Mimi will show you how!

You can buy Happy Endings in a ⚡FLASH⚡ next week (hint, hint). Be sure to subscribe to our blog posts so you don’t miss our great offer on this best-selling resource for finishing your quilts!

How do you cut your binding strips: on the straight of grain or on the bias? Tell us in the comments!

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31 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I have done straight-of-grain binding for all but one project, and that was round placemats which needed bias binding. I did continuous bias binding for that, and I loved having the single strip, but it was hard to figure out. I think I’ll take advantage of that flash sale you hinted at next week…..

    Glad you caught the hint, Heather! 🙂 –Jenny

    —Heather V on June 17, 2016
  • I do the straight method.

    —Joan on June 17, 2016
  • Sadly, I cut them on the straight of the grain. At that point, I’m ready to see my quilt finished.

    —DanyseF on June 17, 2016
  • I ALWAYS CUT BINDING ON THE BIAS.

    —Angie Little on June 17, 2016
  • Both, it depends on what I’m using for binding( scraps, yardage, curves, etc). I use the continuous binding technique for the bias cut just because I think it’s cool.

    —Virginia on June 17, 2016
  • Oh such a simple question with so many answers. Is the quilt square, curved or better yet round? Does the binding fabric have some glorious design that cut on the 45* will be a show stopper? Some quilts simply beg for a simple solid edge to frame the beautiful blocks. You can see that your simple question is one that causes me to have cut more than one binding for more than one quilt. Binding can absolutely be the final chance at design and it’s a shame if you don’t take advantage of it!

    Barbara Wellman on June 17, 2016
  • I cut binding strips on the straight of grain unless I’m binding a curved or irregular edge.

    —Jane Smith on June 17, 2016
  • Hi

    I join my seems by the bias method – i struggle with joining the beginning and ends together.

    —mandy on June 17, 2016
  • I cut my bias binding out of a square on the diagonal and I do my seaming on the diagonal also.

    Vicki O'Neill on June 17, 2016
  • Straight. My sister-in-law showed me.

    —Martha on June 17, 2016
  • Bias for curves, otherwise straight of grain. One exception: I used a stripe for the binding and wanted it slanted, so cut on the bias.

    —Jane on June 17, 2016
  • I’ve not made it to the binding point in my quilting yet! Still piecing my first tops!

    —bookboxer on June 17, 2016
  • I cut on straight of grain unless I have curved edge or am using a striped binding that I want to show as diagonal lines.

    —YolandaD on June 17, 2016
  • I cut on the straight of grain unless I have a curved edge.

    —KarenB on June 17, 2016
  • Hi, If I get a well matching backing, I roll this over the front of the quilt front, slip stich down and hand embroider the edge. I am currently feather stitching my latest quilt. I ensure an extra layer of batting (cotton) is within this edge to give it an extra dimension. Just a different way of finishing. Liz

    —Liz Tanner on June 17, 2016
  • I do both. It depends on the quilt.

    —Linda Christianson on June 17, 2016
  • Typically I use straight of grain. I would only use bias if I had a curved edge.

    —Sandy W. on June 17, 2016
  • Years ago I used to cut my binding strips on the straight of the grain until I was shown how to attach the strips diagonally. The latter way of doing this does leave a smoother and overall nicer look to the finished binding.

    —Barbara on June 17, 2016
  • I use bias binding on large quilts, those with rounded edges and those with a stripe or checked fabric if it lends itself to the design of the quilt. Otherwise i’s straight of the grain for me.

    —Mary Smith on June 17, 2016
  • I have always cut on the straight of grain but recently read how to cut one continuous piece from yardage. I think I will try it on my next quilt!

    —Kathy Kranenburg on June 17, 2016
  • I cut my binding strips on the bias and sew together as you show.
    I find it easier as I hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt as there’s some give in the fabric as I sew!

    —Linda Fleming on June 17, 2016
  • BIAS! Always BIAS!!

    —Marianne in TN on June 17, 2016
  • Straight method works for me.

    —Lorraine Brown on June 17, 2016
  • I usually make them on the straight grain but seldom mitre the corners. I sew 4 separate strips…..left, right, top and bottom.

    —Ondrea on June 18, 2016
  • I usually cut my fabric on the straight of grain, but I cut all quilts with curved edges on the bias. I’ll also cut striped fabric on the bias to get a barbershop pole effect.

    —Robbin Golden on June 18, 2016
  • Oh my gosh! I bought Mimi’s book when it first came out in 1987! It was so very helpful to a new sewist and quilter! I’m glad to see that it’s still available! Oh, and I prefer straight of grain, it’s quicker.

    —Patti on June 19, 2016
  • On the Bias!

    —Cheri Bergeron on June 21, 2016
  • I love, love, love this!! Thank you so much! Last night I was freaking out and this morning Sunshine!!!

    So glad we could be of help, Dana! –Jenny

    —Dana on May 8, 2017
  • I have used both bias and straight cut for my binding. When straight cut , with strips sewn together will I still be able to miter the corners with ease as I do with the bias cut. I purchased a kit on etsy , first time ever. It is a rather small quilt of Scrappy design and I love it. Fabric included for binding but not ample to cut on bias.

    —Betsy on December 15, 2017
  • I most often use a straight fabric – if the quilt pattern calls for the binding to be cut from the bias of the fabric, I will do it that way.

    I always use bias fabric is there are any curved areas of the product being made.

    —Diana R Smith on December 20, 2017
  • Like many, I like to save fabric and do things fast so I cut binding on the straight of goods unless there are curves in the quilt edge or I want to take advantage of a stripe in the fabric. However, I ackowledge all those who always cut binding on the bias as cutting the binding on the bias allows for longer wear of the binding. Instead of just a couple of threads in the fabric being on the binding folded edge,you get more threads on the fold if the binding is cut on the bias. If you look at really old quilts sometimes you will see the folded edge of the binding completely worn out as the edge gets a lot of wear. Binding cut on the bias provides cris-crossing of the fabric threads whereas binding cut on the straight of goods only allows about two threads crossing each other on the binding fold.

    —Marlene Cameron on April 18, 2018

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