Some of these techniques may seem a bit unusual. This is the process that works best for me. I’ve developed this through trial and error and have had great success and improved results following these steps. This is how I bind all the quilts I make.
First, I do not trim my batting and backing even with my quilt top prior to stitching on the binding. I use a walking foot or even feed foot to sew my binding to the front of the quilt. I make a two inch (continuous bias) binding. This was what I learned first and know no other way. So, when people say to me, “You can’t make a two inch binding. That’s not wide enough.” I can honestly say I have never made anything other than a two inch binding and it does indeed work! ; ) I do not pin my binding in place. I do not mark a quarter inch away from the corners. Instead, I use a mark that is on my walking foot to tell me when I’m a quarter inch away from the corner/edge. I leave a “tail” of binding where I begin sewing the binding to the quilt top. The binding tail is approximately 4 – 7 inches long depending on the size of the quilt, the type of batting and how much quilting there is. The smaller, thinner and less bulky the quilt the shorter the binding tail can be. I take a couple forward stitches and then a few in reverse to provide integrity at the starting point.
When I am a quarter inch away from the corner, I take a few backstitches, lift my needle and presser foot and slide my quilt forward a tad. I then fold the binding towards the right (at a 90 degree angle) until it is even with the lower edge of the quilt top. I finger press this fold.
Next, I fold the binding towards the left and match the folded corner with the right edge of the quilt top and the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the quilt top where the binding will be sewn next. * Note that I did not pull the quilt all the way out from under the sewing machine, nor did I clip the threads.
I use my right index finger to hold that folded binding corner in place as I gently turn the quilt to reposition it under the presser foot. I lower the needle, check for placement and sew!
As I near the beginning binding tail I stop (perhaps 4 inches or so from that beginning binding tail) and take a few backstitches. Now, I pull the quilt all the way out from under the machine, and clip the thread. I place the quilt so the loose binding tails are in the 12:0'clock position. I meet the binding tails and fold the left tail back onto itself TWO inches (OR the width of your binding!). The left binding tail is cut at that two inch mark. Measure carefully and be certain.
Open the binding tails, the left one right side up, the right one wrong side up.
Bring the binding tails together, and pin as seen in this photo. The left tail is underneath and the right tail is on top. Pin, open, and check that the tails are correctly pinned together. Stitch diagonally from the top left corner to the lower right corner. Baste this first if you are unsure. It does take a little practice.
Sew a diagonal seam to join the binding tails into one continuous bias strip.
A little blurry, but this is what the seam of the joined binding tails should look like.
Clip those triangles from the seam allowance of the joined binding tails.
Finger press the seam open.
Pop your quilt back under the sewing machine and finish sewing the binding in place! Here is the seam of the joined binding tails. Voila! ; )
This is what my quilt looks like at this point. Now I am ready to trim away the excess batting and backing!
Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim the excess to meet the raw edges of the binding, which should be a quarter inch away from the line of stitching. Take care at the corners to not nick into the folded edge of the binding.
Now, trimmed and ready for whip stitching. Tah dah!