So you’ve made some decisions about your quilt’s binding. You’ve decided to match or contrast, you know how wide you want to make it, and the importance of bias binding.(See The Final Step: Binding Decisions.)
It’s time to cut the fabric that you will use for the binding!
How wide should I cut the binding strips?
For a single layer binding, you’ll simply multiply the width you want by 4. The binding strip should be at least 2″ wide for binding that finishes to 1/2″, for example; I say “at least” because you might want to add a little to compensate for the depth of the batting.
For a double layer binding, multiply the finished width by 7, plus an extra 1/8″-1/4″ for the batting compensation factor. So, if you want 1/2″ finished binding, cut your strips 3 3/4″ wide. (3 1/2″ for the x 7, plus an additional 1/4″).
How long should I cut the binding strips?
If you’ve decided that your quilt edges won’t be subject to much wear and you want to make straight grain binding, simply measure around the perimeter of the quilt, then add 12″ for seam allowances, mitering, and joining. That’s an ample amount, but it’s a sinking feeling to end up an inch or two short! When you need to join pieces, sew the strips together with 45-degree angle seams by making an L with the strips (right sides together) and sewing from corner to corner, as you do when mitering a border.
Cutting from selvage to selvage (across the width) will have some built-in stretch, and that’s a good thing. But be sure not to stretch as you sew to avoid a pulled or puckered edge!
How do I cut Bias Binding?
If you prefer bias binding for the edges of your quilt for durability (and it’s especially helpful if you are binding curved edges, as the binding will curve nicely), HERE are illustrated directions for making a continuous bias binding.
The size of your starting square is dependent upon the dimensions of your quilt and the width of your binding. Here’s a handy Continuous-Bias-Starting-Squares chart that you can use to find the right size for your starting square!
Cut your strips and we’ll see you back here soon for The Final Step: Binding Stitches – a look at sewing the binding to your quilt.