Monday, June 23, 2008

Machine Binding

Binding: the fabric that's used to cover the raw edges of a quilt after it's quilted.

I was asked if I could share some of my "best practices" about machine binding. Thought I would share them with all my reader
s. Never know when you might just learn something from the one who thinks he is mister know-it-all. Is it getting deep in here? :-)

If I have to put binding
on anything I always do it by machine. I never do it by hand (which it typically is). Hand is a four letter word that I do not like and have never learned.

I like to use polyester monofilament thread often called clear or invisible thread most monofilament thread is made of nylon, not polyester, and is the same substance used in fishing line. The advantages of polyester monofilament are numerous:

  • Polyester has a much higher heat resistence than nylon.
  • Polyester monofilament does not go brittle over time.
  • Polyester monofilament does not discolor or "yellow" over time.
  • Polyester is softer and more pliable than nylon, meaning it will lie better on and in the fabric.
  • Has low stretch, making it wonderful for use in the bobbin.

I like to use monofilament thread from Sulky or Superior. Both of these are polyester and can be used in the bobbin. Nylon if wound on a bobbin could stretch and heat up causing the bobbin center to shrink and not pull off your winder. If this ever happens you must throw out that bobbin.

I always sew my binding to the back of my quilt first. This is the most important part of doing machine binding. Some people tell you to use a walking foot (even feed foot) when doing binding, but I never have and mine turns out just fine. Check to see if it is feeding properly if not adjust the pressure oif the foot (if you can) or use a walking foot.

Once you have it sewn to the back of the quilt you can start on the fun part of the biding. Fold your fabric to the front of the quilt, lining up just to the right of the stitch line and press. It makes it easier to sew. Then I snap on my left edge top stitch foot. I place the fold at the red mark. Then stitch the binding in place using a hand look applique stitch or blind hem. Remember you want the left part of the stitch to be right next to the binding and the right part to bite into the binding just a little bit as shown in the pictures. Pictures from left to right are: Blind hem stitch, and hand look applique stitch and back of quilt using hand look applique stitch.


The key to good binding is practice, practice, practice.

For more on machine binding check: Quilting Arts TV:113 All By Machine Binding

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