Machine Binding a Quilt for Beginners

Kimberlee Tanner

Learn to Machine Bind your Quilt

Now that we’ve quilted our first quilt top, it is ready to bind and use! This is always a very exciting step, because it means you are so close to finishing your project. Just like every other step, machine binding can take practice to master. The most important part is taking your time. If you try to go fast, it won’t end up straight. Slow down and be patient with yourself. We like to throw in a good movie and relax while finishing the binding.


To get started, the first thing you will want to do is trim all the extra batting and backing off of your quilt. You can either use scissors to trim it up, or place it on your cutting mat and use your ruler and rotary cutter. We like to start with the scissors and then use the ruler to make sure everything is straight. You might have a few areas that got pushed around when quilting you’ll need to deal with and straighten up a little and now is the perfect time to do that.

To make the binding, if there is enough extra backing, you can use it to cut your strips. This is nice because not only does it use up that extra fabric and save having to buy more for the binding, but the strips are going to be nice and long so you will need less of them. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10-20 extra inches of binding. Simply take all four side measurements, add them together, then add this extra amount. When it comes to surplus, we always prefer to have more over having to add extra binding right at the end.

After you’ve cut your strips, lay them right sides together at a 90 degree angle. If the edges aren’t straight, don’t worry about it, jut leave the cut edge above the edge of the other strip as shown below. Then, draw a line from where they intersect and sew directly on this line. After you’ve sewn, trim your seam to about 1/4″ and press it open. This creates a biased seam and will help eliminate bulk in one area on your binding.

Keep in mind, this method does not make biased binding. If you ever do a curved edge on your quilt, you’ll want to use biased binding as opposed to this method.

After you’ve made your long binding strip, iron it in half with wrong sides together.

When sewing it on your quilt, start on the back (if hand sewing your binding, sew it on the front first and hand sew it to the back). Leave at least a 12″ tail and start halfway down the quilt side. This leaves enough space to join the binding at the end. Watch the video to show how to get around the corners and create a nice mitered corner with the binding.

When you get to the end, again stop with about 12″ left to go. Line up your binding strips, mark where they meet and sew them as you did when joining the strips originally. Double check that it’s sewn correctly and the right size before trimming off the extra.

After you’ve sewn it on the back of the quilt, flip everything over and fold it around the front. Missy likes to use a stitch in the ditch foot to sew the binding on the front and she moves the needle over a couple spots. Then you can line up the foot along the edge of the binding and maintain a nice even stitch. If you don’t have this foot, you can just use a regular foot though. Just take it slow. After you get all around the quilt, you are completely done! Grab a good book and your favorite drink and snuggle up, you’ve earned it!

When you ready to tackle your second quilt, come on back. We have lots of fun tutorials and some great beginner friendly patterns in our Pattern Shop.

If you post pictures of your finished Floppy quilt (or any part of the process) on social media, please make sure to tag us @onwilliamsstreet. We’d love to see it! If you have any questions, please let us know. For previous tutorials in this series, click below.

Learn to Make Your First quilt with Free Quilt Pattern

A Beginner’s Guide to Free Motion Quilting

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