How to Bind a Quilt Using the Backing

**Check out this post for an overview of our T-Shirt Quilt Sewalong**

In Weeks 6-8 of our “How to Sew a T-Shirt Quilt Series“, we squared, basted, quilted (or tied), and bound our quilts. During these weeks I showed you the more traditional methods of basting, quilting, and binding.

However, as with most of sewing (and life!), there’s more than one way to do something!

In this post I’m going to be showing you how to bind your quilt using the backing. I use this method quite a bit when working with minky backing, because it’s such a forgiving fabric. I know a lot of people get annoyed with its shifting, stretchy nature, but I actually enjoy working with minky! You can use any type of backing material with this method, though.

When using the backing of your quilt for binding, the changes come in all the way back during the basting process:

  1. Square up your quilt top as you normally would (detailed instructions for this are in this post on basting).
  2. Trim your batting so that it is the exact same size as your quilt top.
  3. Trim your backing fabric so that there are 4″ of overhang on each edge of your quilt top (to get this number, add 8″ to the length and 8″ to the width of your top).
  4. Baste and quilt as you normally would.
  5. Follow the steps below for binding.

Trimming

Lay your quilt out on a large, flat surface. (The quilt I’m using for this tutorial was completely sewn by my seven year old – isn’t it adorable??)

**Don’t worry about my backing being two different colors. We had to piece together two pieces of fabric to make a backing large enough for the finished top.

Place your cutting board underneath the quilt sandwich, and find a corner of the quilt that looks the most “square” to your eye.

Using your quilting ruler, line the edge of the quilt top up with the line 1″ away from the edge of the ruler. Trim along the outer edge. This will leave you with a 1″ overhang of backing fabric.

Continue shifting your ruler and trimming around one edge of the quilt. You may need to shift your cutting board from time to time as well.

Do this on each side of the quilt, square up the corners as you go.

Once you make it all the way around, trim the final corner and you’re ready to bind!


Binding

Remove the cutting board and make sure the quilt is laying flat. Starting on one edge, fold the overhanging backing fabric in half lengthwise so that the edge of the backing fabric meets the edge of the quilt.

Fold the backing fabric in half again so that it overlaps that quilt top by about 1/2 an inch. Pin or clip in place.

Continue folding and pinning all the way down the first straight edge.

Leave a few inches unclipped on both sides of the corners.

Hold one edge out flat while keeping the other edge folded over on itself twice.

Fold down the corner of the folded backing so that it creates a 45 degree angle and is lined up with the edge of the quilt top.

Fold the still flattened edge inward twice to complete the mitered corner. (The first fold will bring the edge of the backing fabric to the edge of the quilt top. The second fold will bring the backing fabric up over the quilt top and in line with the rest of the binding.)

Pin on clip to secure. You can see I use a lot of clips on this part!

Repeat these steps all the way around the quilt top. I used a ton of clips because I was working with a minky backing, and I’m an “overclipper” by nature.


Sewing

You’re now ready to start sewing down the binding. You can do this by hand or machine. I’ll be showing you how to sew it down with your machine in this post because this is a blanket that will be getting lots of use and washing!

Attach a walking foot to your sewing machine. Beginning along one of the straight edges, sew 1/8″ away from the interior folded edge of the binding, backstitching to start. Continue along the straight edge until you reach the first corner.

You have a couple of options when you reach the corner. You can do a simple pivot and continue along the next edge. Or you can reach the corner fold, pivot halfway, take a few stitches up and down that fold, then come back to 1/8″ away from the next edge and continue stitching.

I take those extra stitches along the fold to add a little bit more strength to the stitching there, but it’s not strictly necessary.

Continue stitching along all four sides, backstitching when you reach you first stitches.

Trim any loose threads and your quilt is complete!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment on this post or message me on Facebook or Instagram. I love having a chance to help people find joy and new skills in sewing!


Together we can find more ways to reclaim fabric
and breathe meaning, joy, and life into our sewing.


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