Monday, June 15, 2009

No Tails Binding Tutorial

I'm often asked, "How do you like to apply binding?" Below is a tutorial I'm glad to offer. This binding method is one with no joining, and machine-sewn mitered corners. If you haven't tried it, I encourage you to do so.

No Tails Binding Tutorial
Begin by preparing double-fold binding (AKA French binding) in one long continuous strip. My favorite width is cut 2-1/4".

Note: Do not trim backing and batting at this time. First sew binding to the quilt; then trim.

Lay the untrimmed quilt, face up, on a flat surface, smoothing out wrinkles.
This is also an opportunity to make sure your quilt layers are square.
Use a long ruler to draw straight lines along each side - around the entire perimeter - of the quilt. You will use this straight edge as a guideline for sewing binding to the quilt.
Following a straight line will ensure you end up with a squared quilt and straight binding.

Cut and Sew Binding Across Quilt Width
Lay the binding across the width of the quilt, approximately in the center. Leave a 2" to 3" tail extending beyond both edges of the quilt top. Gently smooth and pat the binding flat.
Cut the binding 2" to 3" from the edge of the quilt top.
Repeat, to make a second piece of binding for the width of the quilt.

Do not move the binding.
Insert a pin, or make a mark at the point where the binding meets the edge of the quilt top. See blue pin.
Insert another pin, or make a mark at a point 1/4" to the inside of the first pin.
See pink pin.
The pink pin marks the sewing stop-start point. Remove the blue pin.

Now, focusing on the corner of the quilt top,
measure 1/4" from each side of the quilt top. Use a pin or make a mark at the spot.

Repeat at the opposite end of the binding, marking the binding and marking the quilt top.
Position the binding along the edge of the squared quilt top. Pin.

Begin sewing at the pinned or marked spot on the binding. Backstitch.
Continue sewing binding to the quilt, stopping at the pin or mark at the opposite end. Backstitch.

Repeat the above steps to sew the second binding to the width of the quilt.

Cut and Sew Binding for Quilt Length
When you have sewn binding strips to the top and bottom of the quilt (across the width), again lay the quilt on a flat surface.

As when cutting the binding width, lay down binding along the length of the quilt, placing it approximately through the center of the quilt. Smooth and pat binding.

Insert a pin, or make a mark at the point where the binding meets the edge of the quilt top. Repeat for the second piece of binding.

At both ends of the two binding strips, insert another pin, or make a mark at a point 1/4" to the inside of the first pin.

Working at the corner, fold back the previously sewn binding to get it out of the way.

Match the unsewn binding start-stop point to the stopping point of the previously sewn binding.

Lay binding along along the straight edge of the quilt, pin across the binding length and matching the unsewn binding start-stop point to the stopping point of the previously sewn binding.
Sew binding to the quilt, beginning and ending with backstitches.
Repeat to apply the last binding strip.

Mark and Sew Binding Corners
At one corner, fold the quilt onto itself, back-to-back, to form a 45-degree angle. Position binding strips to form a straight horizontal line, meeting the binding's folded edge to the folded edge, and the raw edge to the raw edge.

Pin to hold into place. Use a small ruler perpendicular to the binding to make a small indication mark on the binding fold at a point parallel and directly above where the stitching ends.

Tip a small ruler so the ruler corner is positioned in the middle of the binding strip. Position the ruler point an equal distance from both the mark along the binding fold, and the end point of the stitching. Between each point the distance is 1/2" to 5/8".

Draw along the corner of the ruler to make a visible line that forms an arrow.

Sew on the drawn line: backstitch at the fold, sew, pivot at the point, sew, backstitch.

Trim 1/4" from the sewn line to remove binding tails. Snip the tip to reduce bulk.

Repeat steps, marking, sewing, and trimming on three more corners to sew a total of four mitered corners.

Finish Binding
From around the perimeter of the quilt, trim excess batting and backing 3/8" from stitching line. Be sure not to rotary cut the binding corner!
Turn the binding to the quilt back. Use a stiletto or point turner to pull out the points at each mitered corner. Admire these sturdy, machine-sewn mitered corners - you won't have to hand-sew them closed!

Using thread that matches the color of the binding, blind stitch to hand sew binding to the quilt back.


  1. Hi Linda,
    Your binding tutorial is wonderful, thorough and the images to follow along with are perfect.
    I have been longing to try this technique, and your tutorial is just what I needed.
    Many thanks for sharing your talents with the Quilt World!
    LuAnn in Oregon

    1. I am familiar with this, and knew it would work, but have never tried it. I will now. Mavis Kress

    2. Thanks Marvis, for your positive feedback about this. I hope the tutorial helps you, and that you can do it successfully. (I wanted to email this reply to you, but your settings are as a "no-reply commenter.)

  2. Linda, I demo'd this at our MQG meeting last night-- I really like the method but might take a little practice before it becomes perfect in terms of the miters!

  3. Wow! This looks like something I'd like to try! I have been thinking, surely there's an easier way of making those corner miters.

  4. Wow! This is so clever! I must get a quilt finished so I can try this method!!! (Pity I have so many Wips on the go!)

  5. What a great method! How did I miss this post before? Definitely doing it that way next time. :)

  6. I always had difficulty trimming. Never thought to trim across the top rather than taper. Will give it a go next time.

  7. Bound 2 quilts this week, using this method. Oh wow! Best mitred corners I've ever done. lol Blogged about it and sent people here. :)

  8. Thanks Linda, for a great tutorial. I didn't have enough fabric to do my normal binding method and figured it might work if I tried yours. It did - I just scraped in enough threads on the end of the binding to sew the mitred seams! Look for it on my new free 2014 BOM! Not as perfect as yours, but I'm happy!

  9. Thanks for reminding us of your great tutorial. I might give it a go on my Mrs Billings. I usually do continuous bindings and flip up and then down again at the corners, but that entails handstitching the mitres(which I dont always do.) Thanks Linda

  10. wow Linda. I have never even heard of binding like this - do you do every quilt like this?

  11. Wow! I've never seen this before either. What a cool method! I'm definitely going to try it--thank you!!

  12. Thank you for posting this tutorial. I learned how to do this on my first quilt in the early 80s but had forgotten how to do it. It gives such a nicer effect than the way that most of the current quilting books tell you how to do it. So worth the extra effort.

  13. This tutorial is so great! One question: my corners seem a little bulky. Do you trim the extra batting away at each point?

    1. Hello Angela. I'm happy to respond to your question, but you are a "no-reply commenter" so I'm unable to email you. So, hopefully you will see this here.

      Yes, I do trim the raw edge (backing, batting) corner points of the quilt before turning the binding toward the quilt back. I hope this is helpful.

  14. What a great way to bind! I spend more time trying to figure out how to connect my binding --all in one huge strip--than I spend
    sewing both sides of the binding done. I CAN wrap my brain around your system. Thanks so much!

  15. This sounds/looks like it will take twice as long as the "old way".

  16. Thank you Linda, this is super! x Teje

  17. Hi Linda, I am new to your site and found it through Pinterest. I have never "truly" perfected binding methods before and have always used the continuous binding method as that is how I was taught. In fact, I have never learned any other type of miltering, so I am super excited to try this one out. I have also checked out several of your other tutorials and love them all. Thanks so much for being a giving soul.

    1. Hi there! You're a no-reply commenter, so I can't email you directly, but I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to comment that you're excited to try this binding method! It tickles me to no end when a quilter is at least willing to give it a try. As I've said, for me, learning this method was a game-changer. I'm happy you found me on Pinterest, and that you like my tutorials. I'm thinking to do more of them, but am not sure what topics are of interest. Thanks so much for commenting!

  18. Thank you for two excellent tutorials on trimming and binding a quilt. I found them a while ago on Pinterest and saved them to use when my next quilt was ready to bind. You have explained and illustrated everything so clearly. I have re-read them this morning, and now I’m set to go! I thought you might be pleased to know how long your wisdom survives in Pinterest files. Thank you again. Sue Rogerson

  19. Thank you, Sue! It's so nice of you to take time to let me know that my tutorial seems clear. I appreciate you taking the time to say so, and I wish you the best as you bind your quilt with this method.


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