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Binding It All Together

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Tips, Ideas, Patterns, and more by the crew at Bernina Sewing & Design

 

Binding It All Together

Marsha Cowan

The third in our series about basic quilting! Previous posts were about borders and backing.

The third and final “How much?” question we hear a lot is for binding. Our quilt is quilted, and it’s beautiful! There’s one more step to be done, and that is to bind it: covering the raw edge of your quilt sandwich for a finished and professional look. Whether you sew it on by hand or machine, the binding is the final touch. It can match your border for a seamless look, or add an extra bit of pizzazz with a contrasting color. It adds stability to the edge of the quilt, protecting it with a double layer of fabric.

 

Yes, we have to do math again, but this one is pretty painless!

Our sample quilt size is the same as our backing sample, a twin-sized quilt, measuring out at 68” x 90”.

For this quilt, we are going to use 2-1/2” strips. This gives us a finished binding that measures out at approximately 3/4” on the front and back, and we think this is a nice size for a bed quilt. If you are binding something smaller, like a table runner, this size binding might look too wide, and out of proportion to your finished piece; you might want a binding that will finish out at 1/2”, and for that you’d need 2” strips.

There are two different methods to calculate binding amounts, and that depends on whether you are cutting your binding fabric on the grain or on the bias. Bias binding often requires a bit more fabric, as you are cutting diagonally across the grain. Bias cut fabrics have more stretch and movement, and will fit more easily around curves. Bias bindings also wear better than bindings cut on the grain. If you’re binding a circular table topper, a bib, pot holders–anything that has a curve and will see a lot of wear—a bias binding will make your job easier, and we’re all for that!


1.) Just like when you’re doing borders, you need to know the measurement of your quilt
circumference.

       68” W x 2 = 136

       90” L x 2 = 180

       136 + 180 = 316 (This is the total number of inches around the edge or our quilt.)

      We’re going to add 10”-12” to this number, to allow for seams, selvages, making corners,
etc.
       316 + 10 = 326

 

2.) Next, we’re going to divide our circumference number by our WOF inches, to determine how
many strips of fabric we need. We’re using 44” WOF

326 divided by 44 = 7.40
Always round this number up!

      7.40 = 8

     We need 8 strips of fabric.

 

3.) Now we multiply the number of strips we need by the width we need to make the finished
binding measurement we want for our project. In this case, we want 2-1/2 inch strips.

      8 x 2.5” = 20”

      The closest common measurement for this is 5/8 yd, or22-1/2”.

 

To figure what we’d need for a bias binding, we follow Steps 1 and 2 to find our circumference and how many strips we need.

This is where it can be a bit complicated! After we get our circumference number, then we have to determine the square root of this number.


1.)The square root of 326 is 18.05. Round this up to the next whole number. 18.05 = 19

    This tells us we need a 19” x 19” square of fabric to cut our bias binding. We would round
this up a couple of inches, to ensure that you definitely have enough. So, our final
measurement will be 21” x 21”.

Babes, we know that some of you will enjoy doing these calculations, and some of you will hate it—don’t sweat the math! There are easier ways to figure out your fabric needs, and we’re going to share our favorites with you!

Robert Kaufman Fabrics has a quilting calculator app, available for both iOS and Android operating systems. Go to your smartphone app store, and download it today. It’s free!


Quilter’s Paradise has a page on their website dedicated to various quilting and fabric calculators. Find it here.

 

We hope this gives helps you to Bind It Up!

Happy Stitching!

The Bernina Babes