Binding by Machine

Machine binding is faster than stitching by hand, and sturdy enough to stand a lot of wear and tear.  I use this technique whenever possible.

Today I snapped a few photos of the process as I bound Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin

My binding strips are cut 2 1/2 inches wide. Once they are joined end to end, I press them in half lengthwise to make a French Fold binding. (Here is Missouri Quilt Co's basic binding tutorial if you need it)

Sewing the Binding Onto the Quilt:

I sew the binding onto the quilt in the usual way, except that it goes on the BACK of the quilt and wraps around to the FRONT for finishing. 

Sewing binding to the BACK of the quilt.
Notice the foot and needle position.
I use a regular foot, and move my needle two notches (on my machine) closer to the edge of the quilt. I use the edge of the foot as a guide for the seam allowance. This seam allowance is larger than a quarter of an inch, yet slightly smaller than three eighths.

By using this combination (foot and needle position) the binding will be full, yet when the binding wraps to the front of the quilt, there is still enough fabric to cover this stitch line so it won't be visible.

Measure the exact size of your seam allowance. Use this measurement to determine where to stop when approaching corners. This is the same procedure as for basic binding, but the measurements have been adjusted to match the seam allowance so you get a nice, sharp corner.

Mitering the Final Join:

I like to join my binding ends using a miter. This hides the join so you can't tell where the binding began and ended.

Both binding tails are long and loose at this point. Leave about 12 inches of working space between the beginning tail and ending tail.

Trim one tail and lay it on the quilt in your working space.
Place a ruler on top, as shown.

Trim the second tail, leaving an OVERLAP of 2 1/2 inches (same as binding width).

To join the tails, they will need to be sewn right sides together.
Place the LEFT tail as shown here.

Scrunch the quilt a bit. Place the RIGHT tail as shown.

Pin the tails together so they don't move.
Peek under the top tail to find the corner beneath.
Draw a line from corner to corner, as shown.

This is where I draw the line! Ha!

It is important to TEST your join before you sew!!!
It's easy to accidentally add a twist into the binding. If you check now, you could save wear and tear on your seam ripper!

No twist.
The binding will lay nice and flat once it is sewn.

Stitch exactly on the line you drew.
(Needle is centered)

Trim seam allowance to a quarter inch.

Press open to reduce bulk.

Position the binding and press it nice and flat.
See the lovely mitered join?
PIN the binding in place so it won't ripple as you sew it down.

Sew it down!

Finishing by Machine:

Lay the quilt face down on the ironing board.
Being careful not to distort the fabric, press the binding out to the side like a wing.
Press close to corners, but not into them. They will be taken care of later.

Flip the quilt over so it is face up.
Here is what the binding looks like from the front.

Fold corners into miters.
Fold the rest of the binding to the front of the quilt.
Pin to death.
I pin all the way around the quilt so I can sew without stopping. I pivot at the corners.

This time I have moved my needle to the LEFT of center.
Use the edge of the foot as a guide.
Stitch the binding through all layers.
MATCH your top and bobbin thread colour to the BINDING.

This is the back of the quilt.
I don`t mind the stitch line along the binding. It is nice and tidy.

Nice finish!

February Finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes
See my February goals here

Linking up with: Sew Can She, for Show Off Saturday, Stitch by Stitch, for Anything Goes Monday, and Such a Sew and Sew, for A Stitch in Time February Finishes.

Try, Learn, Grow!


Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!


  1. Beautiful, Love the colours, Great tutorial.

  2. Thank you Carole for those detailed photos of each step. I usually hand stitch my bindings on the back but I will be trying your method and machine stitching it on my next project.
    Well done!

    1. Wonderful!
      If you go for accuracy instead of speed it should work out beautifully. :)
      When doing the final round of stitching, sometimes the stitching on the quilt back wavers onto the binding in places. As long as the front looks perfect, I don't worry about the back.
      Happy binding!

  3. Thanks for this great tutorial! Trying in on my next binding

    1. That's fantastic!
      I hope it works out beautifully for you.
      As with anything, practice makes perfect! If your final round of stitching wavers onto the binding on the quilt back, don't worry too much. As long as the front looks good, nobody will notice that small detail!

  4. Looks great ... you are such a great teacher!

    1. Thank you, Ruth! Music to my ears! Thanks for your kind words. :) :)

  5. Thanks Carole! You are special!

  6. I miter mine too when I join them but I do it slightly differently. I loved seeing your method!

    1. Cool. Now I am curious to know how you do yours, Melissa! Now I need to snoop around your blog some more in case you've already posted it. :)

  7. Your binding looks fantastic! I have never machine sewn an entire binding on...but yours looks perfect!

    1. Thanks, Jayne! It is "close enough" to perfect for me.
      Slowing down to make accurate seam allowances helps a lot. Also, I try not to stretch anything as I work so the edges will lay flat in the end. Good luck if you decide to give it a go!

  8. That is definitely NOT my grandmother's log cabin. Love it!!! Great tutorial, too.

    1. Isn't that a cool name? That's the name of the book I used. It's full of diamond and triangle log cabin variations. :) Thanks. :)

  9. Thanks for the great tutorial... the binding looks neat!

  10. Oh, wow. That really isn't my grandmother's Log Cabin! I love the colors and the star at the center. Thanks for the great instructions on machine binding. I've never tried it (I always stitch it down by hand), but maybe I'll try your technique some time. Congrats on a BEAUTIFUL finish and thank you for linking up!

    xo -E

    1. Thanks for taking time to visit, Elizabeth, and thanks for your kind words. You might try binding by machine when you are short of time some day! At any rate, that was my motivation for learning. :-)

  11. Thanks for sharing. I've just recently started doing the mitered end on binding but I always get it twisted. I think your tute is going to help me w/that.

  12. I was about to lose my mind up in here, up in here. I was trying to use a tutorial in a magazine and it was sooo confusing. Then I remembered I 1+ your tute, so I hunted on G+ until I found it. It saved my sanity. Thank you for making this so easy!!!!


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