French Binding Tutorial

I learned this many years ago from a book “Happy Endings” by Mimi Deitrich – and it has become a favourite method for finishing off a quilt. Any kind of quilt -bed quilts, wall quilts, anything. It is durable and good looking.

It is suitable for all rectangular works, and very slightly irregular works without any extreme edge shapes – only gentle inward or outward curves. The binding is joined to form one long piece before applying.

These instructions plus tips from my experience are for a fine binding (about 1cm or less) on a quilt using a medium or low loft batting. You apply it when the quilting is finished, and I use a walking foot for best results, no matter though if you don’t have one – just handle carefully.

Cut and join sufficient 2 and 1/4″ strips to equal the quilt’s circumference plus at least 10″. Press joining seams open, then fold the strip in half and press the fold tip I like to make sure one edge can just be seen peeping out from under the other – this ever-so-slightly wider half is the one that goes against the front of the quilt, and by doing this you make sure both edges are totally sewn in, because I use a narrow seam allowance to sew down the strip onto the front of the quilt – approx 3/8″, that is, not quite the widest needle setting to the right of centre on my machine.

Lay the quilt out absolutely flat on a table, and leaving a few inches of binding strip hanging free, and beginning about 10″ from a corner, put in one pin, then tip just check to make sure that as you go round the quilt no join in the strip will fall at a corner – and reposition /adjust with a new seam if one does. Now pin the rest of the first edge in place, (with pins across the seam line) right up to the point where the seam allowance intersects the seam line for the next side, and stop, turn 45 degrees and stitch out to the corner, UL.

Remove the work and fold the strip sort of envelope style as in the pic UR Pin this next side up to the interesection of the seam line with that of the next side, and stitch, changing direction 45 degrees right at the end again. LL

The pic at LR shows what the back will look like as you hand stitch the folded edge down – see the rest of the directions accompanying the next photo:

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