This tutorial on how to attach a binding is one of five tutorials that are part of a larger sewing project, How to Sew a Tic-Tac-Toe Board.
The following five tutorials make up most of the steps involved in sewing a Tic-Tac-Toe board:
- Sew a Nine Patch Block
- Square a Nine Patch Block
- Stitch in the Ditch
- Attach Binding (this tutorial)
- Blind Stitch by Hand
What is Binding?
Binding is a piece of fabric that encloses the raw edges of a quilt. It is attached to both the front and the back.
I’m using a Tic-Tac-Toe board, a small quilt-like project, to teach the binding technique shown in this tutorial.
However, the technique in this tutorial can be used on a project as large as a king-size quilt and any size in between. The critical factor is to have enough binding to go around the perimeter of your project with at least 16 inches left over.
That being said, this tutorial does not explain how to measure for or make a binding.
There are directions for making a binding in Step 8 of the Tic-Tac-Toe board that works for a quilt binding, too. Just know, the measurements are for the Tic-Tac-Toe board. They will not work with other projects.
When I attach binding, I prefer to sew the binding on the front by machine (this tutorial) and hand sew the binding to the back using the blind stitch (another tutorial).
To keep the edges from shifting on the layers you’re binding, use a basting stitch close to the raw edges of the layers.
How to Attach the Binding
- Leaving about an 8-inch tail, align the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge the Tic-Tac-Toe game board. The right side of the quilt should be facing up. Place one pin in the middle of one of the center squares and a second pin about 3 inches from the corner to hold the binding in place to get started. You won’t pin the rest of the binding. Instead, you will line up the raw edges as you sew.
- Using the edge of the presser foot as your guide, start sewing in the middle of the center square near to where you placed the first pin. Pay attention and make sure the raw edges stay lined up as you sew toward the first corner. Stop sewing about a 1/4-inch from the corner edge.
- Lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric so the needle is aimed toward the corner, lower the presser foot, and sew to the corner.
- Remove the fabric from the sewing machine.
- Fold the binding up, using the diagonally stitched line for the fold line.
- Fold the binding back down so the binding fold lines up with the edge of the fabric and the raw edge of the binding lines up with the perpendicular raw edge of the game board. Insert one pin to hold it in place.
- Start sewing at the edge of the fabric to attach the binding on the next side.
- Repeat steps 6-10 until you’ve sewn all four corners. Remember to stop 1/4-inch from each corner so you can pivot the needle and sew into the corner.
- You’ll stop sewing the binding on the last edge about 2 inches past the last corner. There will be a gap between where you started and stopped sewing.
To see directions 6-10 in action, fast forward approximately 6 minutes and 30 seconds into the video The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
You should have several inches of binding left on both sides.
I recommend trimming each side so they’re approximately the length of the remaining space and easier to work with when you finish attaching the binding in Step 10 below.
Connecting the Ends of the Binding
Caution: Double check your measurements on directions 1 and 2 before cutting so you know they’re correct. Otherwise, the binding won’t lay down flat.
- Measure and mark 2.5 inches from one end of the binding.
- Lay the other side of the binding on top and trim it at the 2.5 inch mark.
- Open up both sides of the binding, overlap them slightly with right sides together, and lay them together like a plus sign. (See photo in direction 4.) Tip: The area you are working with is pretty small but it is possible to get the binding to lay flat. If the binding doesn’t lay flat, you may need to remove some of the stitches on the left-hand side with a seam ripper.
- Pin the binding (right sides should be together) and draw a line from corner to corner.
- You will sew on the line. Take your time as you sew to make sure the fabric is laying flat.
- Remove the pins and fold the binding to make sure it will lay flat in the remaining space.
- Once you are sure the binding is sewn correctly and lays flat, trim off the excess fabric so there is about a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
- Press the seam open, lay the binding flat, and sew it down. Make sure the raw edges are aligned. Overlap a few stitches at the beginning and end of this last seam to secure it.
To see Step 10 in action, fast forward approximately 9 minutes and 10 seconds into the video The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
You have successfully attached the binding to the front of the Tic-Tac-Toe board 0r other quilt project.
To attach the binding to the back, you’ll be hand sewing the blind stitch.