ok, i’m no expert, but i thought it still might be useful if you are a real beginner.  i know when i was first learning, back in ohio, i was told to always cut my binding strips at 3″ – AND to cut them on the bias.  there was actually a way to do that so you ended up with a continuous piece – or something??  anyway – i no longer do any of that. 

first, i don’t think you need bias strips unless you are doing a quilt with curvy edges.  while i think that it was also believed that bias binding would wear better – still not sure. soo, far easier to cut on straight – and if you cut them across, easy to do and figure how many strips you need.

second, i now cut them at 2 1/2 inches.  however – you do still need to sew them together with a ‘bias’ (45 deg) seam.  it’s always a trick for me to figure out which way to sew.  you put the strips together, right sides together with the ends perpendicular to each other so they overlap and create a square within the overlapped area.  i always do a pinned seam first and see if when i open the two pieces they are in a straight line!  i then draw a line from the corner of one piece to the opposite corner of the other – which is a diagonal line within the box where they are overlapped. (i really need to talk to my friend carla and find out how to draw here!) ^_^  trim to 1/4 inch seam allowance and press the seam open. 

to figure how long a piece you need – i allow 3 inches for each corner and then 5 inches for the overlapping when you join them at the end.  add these to the total length of the edge of the quilt (twice the width added to twice the length).  figure each strip across the fabric at 42 inches – cut as many as you need and trim off any selveges.  once you have them all sewn together, fold the long strip in half along the length. 

now, here’s the scary part for me.  trim the quilt, making sure it’s square!  i generally leave a scant 3/8 inch seam allowance.  i have discovered that if i only do 1/4 inch, i end up with my binding not being completely ‘full’ – and the judges will ding you for that one!!  trust me!!

pin the raw edges of the folded binding strip to the outer edge of the quilt – ON THE FRONT OF THE QUILT.  i am not going to attempt to write how to do the corners here!  sorry, but better with pictures and there are a ton of books out there that will give you very good directions on that one!  as well as everything else i’ve written here, for that matter.  however – in the next paragraph you may read something different from what some of the books have to say.  these directions give you a true continuous binding!  looks way better and no harder to do than sewing all those strips together – so you CAN do it.

you will do the exact same thing for that final seam as you did when you joined all the pieces to create the long piece to go around the whole quilt.  first, you will bring the end over the beginning and overlap it 2 1/2 inches (or whatever width your strip is) and cut it off.  then do that same end (perpendicular) to (and over) end you did for all the other seams. (right sides together) and stitch that 45 deg line.  once again, you may want to pin the seam to assure yourself you are sewing the correct diagonal seam.  yes, you will have to temporarily unfold the strip in order to put the ends together!

ok, so here are the pictures of the finished 4-block of the simpler flowers.  i also took a closeup to show i did a decent job of getting the binding in the right place. ^_^  that one also shows some of carla’s great quilting.  this one, as well as another piece she quilted for me, will be in our show this weekend.  here in placerville, at the fairgrounds on p’ville drive.  plus – the opportunity quilt will be given away on sunday – well, the name will be drawn – at 3:00 p.m. !

  and here’s the binding detail



oh, did forget the last step in putting the binding on!  that part is done by hand – you fold the binding in half and to the back of the quilt and use an invisible whip stitch to sew it down (essentially an applique process!) ^_^


happy stitching!  love and beauty   www.artfullyapplique.com