How to Add Decorative Stitches to a Quilt Binding

I think this is the first time I haven't hand sewn a quilt binding in a very long time.

Quilt binding is something I've been playing with recently (see fringe binding here) and I'm convinced that binding is the most underrated part of the quilting process.

Binding is a fun way to finish a quilt or even add a touch of creativity. This is why I chose to finish my binding with a stitch from my Bernina.

And luckily, my Bernina had a ton of cool points to choose from! Adding decorative stitches to the quilt binding was surprisingly simple, so let’s get started!

Supplies needed:

  • An unbound quilt (already quilted, I used my new pattern: Petra!)
  • Binding strips (mine are 2.25″ x WOF)
  • A sewing machine capable of making decorative stitches

Preparing the quilt for binding

When I was learning to quilt as a child, there were certain steps that I constantly forgot to do (or just skipped out of impatience) and preparing my quilt for binding was one of them.

There are a few simple steps to ensure a simple and seamless binding experience.

The first is to make sure your quilt is properly squared. This can be difficult in small spaces, even large spaces!

Some quilters like to use lasers, but I usually stack the rulers starting at the corners (you can see this technique here).

Squaring your quilt will make decorative stitching much easier.

After quilting, I usually iron my quilt (very lightly) to make sure there aren't any hidden wrinkles or anything like that.

Make binding strips

I typically use 2.25 inch wide strips for binding. Start by taking one end of the strip and laying it perpendicular to another end of the strip.

Sew a diagonal line from corner to corner. Cut the pieces and iron it to open it.

Repeat until you have a very long strip with seam allowances on the same side.

Iron your strip in half lengthwise. I usually wrap my binding around a piece of cardboard or something stiff nearby.

That's it! This giant strip is ready to become a beautiful binding.

Attach the Binding to the Quilt

Attach the binding to the front of your quilt with the fold of the binding strip facing the inside of the quilt (the two free sides will be sewn to the perimeter edge).

Sew your binding as you normally would, leaving a tail at the beginning and end to join at the end.

There should be a quilt with a long folded binding strip around the entire perimeter.

Finally, iron the binding flat so that it is easier to fold for the next steps.

Choose a decorative stitch

Now for the fun part! Before we commit, let's take the time to explore all the fun points of your machine.

This step is vital because it shows you the length and width of your stitches before you sew your binding.

After trying several stitches, choose your favorite and write down the stitch width, height, and name.

Use decorative stitch

Fold your binding and clip it. Usually I sewed the binding with the wrong side facing up (it's easier that way) but I liked the look of the top decorative stitch more than the bottom, so I folded the binding underneath.

This method meant that the top of the stitch appeared on the front of the quilt rather than the back of the stitch.

Start sewing slowly, making sure to sew near the bottom of the binding. This ensures that the fabric will not flare after washing.

Continue folding and sewing until you reach a corner.

Stop about 4 inches from each corner of the quilt and fold the corners over to create a tab. Cut the corner.

Continue sewing until you reach the corner, sew almost to the edge, lower your needle, raise your foot and turn the quilt.

Lower your foot and continue sewing. And that's how you add beautiful decorative stitches to your quilt binding!

It’s so simple and adds a super fun touch to all your quilts!




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