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Binding Completely by Machine - I Love It!

Recently, I posted two blogs on Notions about a new binding technique accomplished completely by machine. To see the Part 1 posting and read more about the  Freedom Flag Mini Runner project itself, click here.

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.

Ann-2Strips

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.

Ann-Pressed

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.

Ann-BindBack

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.

Ann-Ends

As usual, I pressed the diagonal seam open, folded the binding, and sewed the remaining section in place.

Ann-DiagSeam  Ann-SewEnds

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.

Ann-Front

The striped flange really pops and adds a lot of visual interest to the project.

Ann-FCorner

On the back, there is only a line of stitching alongside the binding.

Ann-BCorner

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!

One thing I considered doing differently in the future is to 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 woman named Betty commented that having a more narrow binding would affect where the sewing line was on the back; it may encroach on the binding.

A big thanks also 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!

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Comment by Linda Christianson on July 18, 2014 at 12:08pm

I need to start sewing my binding more on the machine, thanks for showing us the link and how it is done. It does help to have a table to help keep the weight of the quilt  flat, not hanging off the edge. I noticed I have a wave at time because I did not support the quilt. I also find if I am running low on matching the binding I need to think about this method. I have had to add fabric to short width 1 1/2" to edge to make 2" wide piece. Which I hide the different fabric on the inside

Comment by Joanna liguz on July 15, 2014 at 3:32pm

Nice ideas....but I still do mine 4 pieces one side at a time..not sure if I like the folded corners.

Pretty though,.! I also sew the back on first then sew on the front...all done by machine. have been doing this for years. Good to learn something new...Thanks!

Comment by Linda Bodkin, ON on July 14, 2014 at 7:08pm

I love the ides of the flange, and such a simple fix!I am going to try it!

I also put all my bindings on by machine, but from the front.  I make sure as I pin, pin, pin every 2-3 inches beforehand so that I'll have it evenly sewn onto the back!

I just found the most fabulous foot ...a stitch in the ditch foot... to make a very close line as I sew it on the front.

Comment by Donna Sykes on July 14, 2014 at 5:30pm

I have never tried this method. I will plan to try it out on a future project. I really like the way it looks with a contrasting fabric. Thanks for the lesson.

Comment by Ann Johnson on July 14, 2014 at 4:09pm

I just heard from Marti at 52Quilts - the site where I first heard about this method. She says she does make her binding 2" wide even though it involves cutting in 1/8" increments, but chose to not put that in her blog. So, I guess it can work. Thanks Marti!

Comment by Mary/ Tewksbury MA on July 14, 2014 at 9:30am

Never saw this technique before, really adds a little pop of color.  Working on a little Twister Christmas table runner  and plan to use this type of a  binding. Thanks for the info.

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