Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Grinch and Binding Tutorial

I recently had a friend who was apprehensive about doing her own machine binding on her quilts.  I was trying to explain how easy it really is to get a nice finish on machine applied binding and thought I would do a tutorial on the method that I have come to find the easiest for me.

First off you will need a quilted sandwich.  Since I have just finished my Grinch I will use this as an example.

Square the piece up.  Now add the total measurement of all sides and add 10".  That is the length of binding you will need.  My total came to 69".  On machine binding I use 2.5" wide binding as it gives me a bit more room for the stitching.  I like to miter my binding pieces together.  To do that I lay piece #1 across my cutting mat and lay piece #2 at a 90 degree angle away from it.  Draw a line from corner to corner and stitch.  (I used leftover binding for my quilt so these fabrics are simply samples).

Stitch across that line and cut off the triangle pieces on bottom right side.  Iron piece out flat.  #2 fabric now becomes the #1 piece.  Repeat until total length is met.

Iron entire binding in half lengthwise.  You are now ready to stitch it onto your quilt.

I prefer to start at the center of the bottom of my quilts.  Lay the starting edge with raw edges together with the quilt's.  Start stitching about 4-5" from the beginning edge - leaving a loose tail at the beginning.

Stitch along lower edge to 1/4 inch from the edge.  Stop and lower needle, pivot 45 degree and stitch off the edge.

Fold the binding up and back like this.

Now......fold the binding back to the left with the fold right along the edge you just stitched.  You will now be ready to stitch the next edge.

I like to backstitch at the beginning of my next row to lock it in place.  Continue around the quilt doing the nice miter technique at each corner.

Stitch until you are about 4" from the "tail" end of the beginning binding.  Remove quilt to cutting table.

Lay the loose binding back over the top of the "tail" and mark it 2.5" from the end of the "tail".

Cut off excess binding along the marked line.

Open out the tail edge and mark 2.5" in from top edge.  Draw a line to the lower left corner.  This will be your stitching line to give you your last seam with a nice miter.  This step can also be done before the binding is applied.

Take the two opened ends of the binding and place together like this.

Stitch together and cut away the triangle.

Finger press seam to side and fold binding back in half.  Stitch down - meeting the stitching at the beginning of binding.

At this point I take the quilt to the ironing station and press binding towards the outside.  Do not skip this important step!!!

Take back to cutting table for gluing.  I use a glue stick for mine.  It adheres quickly and really sticks.  Apply glue little sections at a time - along raw edge of quilt in area between raw edge and the seam line made when attaching the binding.

Fold the binding just over the seam line - 1/16-1/8".  Continue to corner.

At the corner continue fold out to the end.  Apply glue to the corner and the next section along the next side.

I like to use my seam ripper to tuck into the corner to get a nice crisp mitered corner.

Continue all the way around the quilt.

You are now ready to stitch it down.  Since the stitching will be visible on the back binding, I use a bobbin with thread the color of my binding.  The top thread is whatever matches my quilt.  It is hardly visible, but can be seen.  

Returning to the sewing machine, start stitching "in the ditch" right along the binding on the front of the quilt.  Having the binding ironed back makes this task pretty easy.  Once washed or relaxed, the binding will roll back to pretty much cover that line of stitching.

The view from the back.......  As you can see, the binding is just caught in the stitching and is practically invisible from the front.


Ta da......perfectly mitered corners and all!

The Grinch is now ready for his Christmas appearance.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  If you give it a try I would love to hear how it worked for you.

Linking up with Quilter's Monday.

Linking up this week with Freemotion by the River.


  1. Sewing the binding on a quilt is one of my favorite things to do. I love the quilting on Mr.. Grinch. H s quite festive!

  2. Excellent tutorial packed with #CreativeGoodness.


  3. Thanks for the great tutorial Mary! I have done machine binding but have never tried glue to hold it in place. Since I am making lots of stroller/carseat quilts, I will have to try your way BUT if it doesn't work out for me, how about I send you all of my unbound quilts and you can do them for me in your spare time! OK, I am just kidding but just think of all the practice you would get!

  4. Terrific tutorial!! I've never done the pivot at the corners but will definitely try it with my next project. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That's exactly the way I do it too Mary! Great tutorial ... And absolutely LOVE your Grinch!!!

  6. Interesting tutorial Mary.. I machine stitch my binding but sew it on the back first and then turn to front and sew.
    Your way looks great..

  7. Great tutorial Mary! I do it exactly the same way. And the Grinch quilt is so cute! I love your quilting! Have a happy day!

  8. Love Mr.Grinch! I have not tried the glue yet. You made a great tutorial.

  9. Mr Grinch is a gorgeous piece!! Interesting to see you use the glue - I think that is the important ingredient I've missed when trying this method in the past!

  10. For someone new to this, you didn't mention that you stitched in the ditch from the front. It is clear from your photos but still... I love your little Grinch wall hanging.

  11. Great tutorial! I love lots of pictures, as well as the written instructions.
    Love your Grinch mini quilt!

  12. You made great tutorial, Mary. I have never tried glue to hold the binding in place.

  13. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial...I never thought of measuring the sides (I know....don't roll your eyes)...I just guess...take fabric and measure that way.....silly me when I could have been doing it your way the whole time. Love the Grinch!!

  14. Great tutorial. That's how I do it except I sew along the binding along the back and sew it on the front. I like your Grinch.

  15. Great tutorial Mary. One question, I noticed that you used a permanent glue stick rather than water soluble glue. Do you find the permanent glue leaves an additional stiffness in the bound edges? Thinking of this in terms of making baby quilts, etc., but I can see the advantage for quilts that will be hung.

  16. You have inspired me to try it again. I'm always successful when I do it by hand. I've only been successful 50% on the machine, but I've never tried glue. Aren't you smart. Thanks for the tutorial. Love the Grinch quilt.

  17. Perfection, Mary!!!! Looks great and explained great.

  18. First off, your Grinch piece is precious! Those fingers! Second, I will come back and use your tutorial for machine binding. I was looking at it totally wrong!! You made it look a lot easier/doable than I thought it was. Thank you!! :)

  19. Nice binding tutorial. Love your Grinch!

  20. Cute Grinch. Thanks for the tutorial. I have never been happy with my machine binding but will try gluing it in place as you showed and hopefully that will make the difference.

  21. This was great! I remember you showing Lisa how you did it, and so glad to have this write-up Of course, that Grinch is darling--love it!

  22. This is a great tutorial Mary. I always hand sew the binding down at the back, and must admit I enjoy that. However I have often wishes I could find a good way to machine. I particularly like the 45 degree angle of stitching at the corner. I have a jelly roll top to quilt. I'm going to give your method a try. Wish me success.

  23. Love the Grinch. I make and attach my binding the exact same way except I hand stitch. I've been queasy about machine stitching and don't think I've ever seen glue used. Great tutorial. Perhaps next smaller quilt I'll give it a whirl.

  24. Thank you very much for sharing your tutorial on easy machine sewn quilt binding. Your steps and photos really make it easy to understand. Mr. Grinch is seriously cute!

  25. Ahhhh, the that guy! This was a perfect explanation and tutorial on binding. Thanks!

  26. What a great tutorial, Mary! Wish I had this when I was figuring out the steps :)

    That Grinch looks fantastic, well, for a Grinch he does :)


  27. Well that "certain friend" has finally looked up from all those evaluations to check out the tutorial! I am definitely going to try this....I feel so silly letting a little thing like binding get me so shook.....haha.....wish me luck! and thanks for posting the tutorial!

  28. Love this fun Grinch wallhanging...esp. the quilting on his jacket.I have a quilt to bind and will return to use your my corners NEVER come out the clean and sharp. :)V

  29. Thank you for adding this wonderful tutorial, Mary. I think
    many of us will try your method.
    My best,