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The idea for the binding method came from an excellent tutorial on Aunt Marti’s website – I recommend you read that one as well. By the way, for general instructions about adding binding to quilts, there is a detailed Binding Tutorial (five parts) and Bumpless Binding Finishing video available on our CT website.
Well, I did finish the project and am quite pleased with the binding results!
Binding Completely by Machine – Part 1 Recap
The binding method discussed in the tutorial on Aunt Marti’s website calls for two binding strips. The dark blue fabric functions as the binding and is cut 1-1/2″ wide. The striped fabric becomes a small, built-in flange and is cut 1-3/4″ wide. I cut the stripe on the bias so the print would run diagonally. You need to piece enough strips of both prints to go around the perimeter and add 10″. Then, the two strips are sewn together.
After the strips are joined, they are folded and pressed wrong sides together as usual to make binding. Because the striped fabric is 1/4″ wider, a small flange is formed.
Binding Completely by Machine – Part 2
I sewed the binding on by machine as I usually do, with the dark blue fabric against the backing – except I sewed it to the back of the quilted project.
Using a striped fabric cut on the bias for the flange fabric added a bit of a challenge because I wanted the stripes to match. I did have to do a little nudging, but it worked. The main thing is to carefully align the seams between the two strips in both ends, using a positioning pin through both layers if necessary.
As usual, I pressed the diagonal seam open, folded the binding, and sewed the remaining section in place.
On the back, pressing the binding away from the center helped prepare it for turning. Then it was time to turn the binding to the front and stitch in the ditch between the flange and dark blue binding fabric. The corners were easier than I thought they would be. Pinning, using needle down on the machine, and pivoting at the corners helped.
The striped flange really pops and adds a lot of visual interest to the project.
On the back, there is only a line of stitching alongside the binding.
Here is the completed Freedom Flag Mini Runner. My sewing is not perfect, but I am very pleased with how it turned out. This method of sewing binding on completely by machine works better for me than any other method I have tried … and there is that cute flange as a bonus!
The only thing I would try to do differently in the future is make the combined width of the two strips equal to 2″ (when sewn together) since I like a tight 1/4″ binding. I found the binding to be too wide at 2-1/4″, even though that is what we use for CT patterns. I ended up with more of 3/8″ binding, which was okay too. However, I think the math is something like cutting the strips 1-3/8″ and 1-5/8″ – so that is trickier.
A big thanks to Aunt Marti and her friend Susie for sharing this technique! It is great to have an attractive, quicker binding method as an alternative when finishing the binding by hand is not desirable.
Hope this gives you another option to add to your quilting repertoire.
I would really like to hear from others who have tried this method!
P.S. I was delighted to hear back from Marti at Aunt Marti’s 52 Quilts website. Marti says she makes her binding 2″ wide even though 1/8″ increments are involved – but chose to not put that in her blog posting. She also says Susie originally learned the technique from the Quilts of Valor group in Idaho. Good to know!