How To Bind a Quilt By Hand

Binding is a technique well known by quilters, referring to the process of finishing and securing the edges of your quilt. It’s not as hard as it sounds, but there are some things you need to know before starting. 

If you have been sewing for any length of time, then you will be familiar with this method of binding. But if you are returning to sewing and quilting, or are new to the craft altogether, binding can be a little tricky to get the hang of. 

How To Bind a Quilt By Hand

We are going to be taking a closer look at what it means to use binding in quilting, as well as how to go about doing so by hand.

What is Binding?

Binding refers to the process of finishing off the raw edge of your quilt top. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but there are many ways that you can bind your quilt. There are two main types of binding: bias and straight. 

Bias binding is used when you want to create a decorative effect on your finished quilt. Straight binding is used when you don’t want to add anything extra to your quilt. 

In both cases, you will need to cut strips of fabric from one side of your quilt. These strips will act as the ‘binding’ around the outside of your quilt.

The type of strip you choose will depend on which way round you want your quilt to lie. For example, if you want your quilt top to lay flat, you would use a narrow strip of fabric. 

However, if you want your finished quilt to stand up, then you would use wider strips of fabric. You should also note that the width of your binding strips will vary depending on the size of your quilt.

If you are making a small quilt, then you will only require a few inches of binding. However, if you are making a large quilt, then you may require several yards of binding.

How To Bind a Quilt By Hand

There are a couple of different methods of binding a quilt by hand. First, you will need to decide whether you want to sew your own binding or buy pre-made binding.

Pre-made binding comes in various lengths and widths, so you can simply match them to the size of your quilts. 

Alternatively, you could make your own binding using scraps of fabric. If you are planning on doing this, then you will need to first decide where you want your binding to start and end. 

Once you have decided this, you will need to measure the distance between these points. Then you will need to determine how much material you will need.

You will then need to cut your strips into equal-sized pieces. Remember that you will always need to leave enough room for turning your work over.

Step 1 – Cut Your Strips

The next step is to cut your strips. Start by cutting strips of fabric along the length of your quilt. Make sure that they are long enough to cover the whole length of your quilt, plus an inch or two on either side. 

Next, cut your strips across the width of your quilt. Again, make sure that they are long and wide enough to fit around the entire perimeter of your quilt. When you have completed this, turn your work over and repeat the same steps on the other side.

Step 2 – Join Your Strips Together

Now that you have cut your strips, you need to join them together. Start with one strip at the bottom of your quilt. Fold it down over the edge of your quilt, right sides facing each other. Continue joining strips until you reach the point where you started. Repeat this step on the opposite side.

Step 3 – Sew Your Binding On

Now that you have joined your strips together, you need to sew them onto your quilt. Start by placing your needle and thread through one of the holes in the center of your quilt. Pull the thread through to the back of the quilt, leaving about 4 cm (1½in) free. 

Turn your work over and continue sewing through the remaining holes. Leave a tail of approximately 10 cm (4in) hanging loose at the beginning of your binding. Tie the ends of your thread together tightly. Repeat this step on each corner of your quilt.

Step 4 – Finish Off Your Binding

Once you have sewn your binding on, you need to finish off your binding. Start by folding your binding over the edges of your quilt. Press firmly to ensure that the binding lies smoothly against the quilt. 

Now you need to trim any excess fabric away. Use sharp scissors and cut close to the stitching line. Trim away any extra material from the corners as well. Finally, fold the raw edges under and press flat.

What Are The Best Binding Techniques?

There are several different ways to bind a quilt by hand, but there are some techniques that are generally considered to be better than others. Firstly, you should try to avoid pulling the threads too tight when you are attaching your binding. This may cause fraying and distortion of your quilt. 

Secondly, if possible, try not to use glue when binding your quilt. Glue tends to dry out quickly, causing problems such as shrinkage and curling.

Instead, you should try to stick to traditional methods of binding. For example, you should try to keep your stitches small and neat. It’s also important to remember to keep your needles clean.

Materials Needed For Quilt Binding By Hand

It’s always important to have the right tools for the job when it comes to binding a quilt by hand! Let’s take a look at what you will need:

Strips Of Fabric 

You can choose to buy pre-cut strips of fabric, or you could cut your own. If you do decide to cut your own, you will need to measure your quilt carefully so that you get the correct amount of strips. Remember to allow yourself plenty of time to complete this task.


There are many types of thread available to help you bind your quilt. Cotton is often used because it doesn’t fray easily. However, silk thread is also very popular. Silk thread is soft and smooth, making it ideal for delicate fabrics.


When using cotton thread, you will need a pair of sharp embroidery/quilting needles. These are usually around size 15/16 mm.


Sharp, heavy-duty scissors are essential for cutting your fabric. They should be able to cope with thick materials like corduroy.

Backing Board  

A backing board is useful when you are trying to make sure that your quilt is evenly backed. You can find these boards at most craft stores.

Backing Material 

Once you have finished your quilt, you will need to prepare the backing material. Try to match the weight of your quilt to the backing material.

For example, if you are using 100% cotton, then you should select an equivalent weight. Alternatively, you could opt for a slightly heavier weight if you want to add more texture.

Quilt Basting Spray 

Quilt basting spray is great for keeping your quilt in place while you stitch. It allows you to move freely without worrying about your work coming undone.

Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, our guide has helped you on your way to learning how to bind a quilt by hand. It is easy to learn once you understand the basics, but it’s still worth practicing until you feel comfortable doing it. 

After all, nothing beats the satisfaction of finishing a project knowing everything has been done by your very own hands!

Sarah Maine
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