One of the trickier parts of binding a quilt is joining the ends. There are many different ways to do it, but years ago I learned a method of joining the ends that has served me well, and today I’ll share it with you. It has one main advantage: you don’t cut the ends off until you have sewn them together and checked that they fit perfectly.
This method works the same whether you’re sewing to the front of the quilt for a hand-finished binding, or to the back of the quilt for a mock-hand binding by machine.
When you sew the binding to the quilt, leave yourself a generous tail at each end and plenty of space to work between the tails. I leave about 10″ of space.
Lay the quilt flat on a work surface. Bring the ends together so they just meet near the middle of the space and fold each one straight back. You want the folded ends to meet nicely in the middle. Above, only the tail on the right has been folded back.
In this photo, both tails have been brought together so they just meet, and then folded straight back. I left a little gap so you could see what I mean.
Now take a sharp scissors and make a little snip of about 1/4″ right on the folds.
Now comes the part that seems to trip people up. Open up the binding on the right and flip it upward as shown above, keeping the right side up. The little snip will be visible (it’s between my fingers).
Open up the binding that’s on the left side and take it across and toward the right as shown, right side down.
Here you can see that both sides have the snip. You’re going to match those little snips. They tell you where you need to sew.
This is how it will look. You’ll have to scrunch up the edge of the quilt in order to match the little snips. Remember that the binding strip on the right should point up and away from you; the strip on the left extends across and toward the right.
Pin the strips as shown above, matching the snips which are indicated in blue. The snips that are indicated in red will help you to line things up perfectly, with the strips at right angles.
You’re going to join the strips by sewing across the diagonal. I’ve drawn a black line where you’ll sew. It helps to think of it as sewing from the top left corner across and down to the bottom right corner.
To help you see it more clearly, I made another sample, above. The pink and yellow strip represents the binding strip on the right, so it’s headed up and away from you. The gray strip represents the binding strip on the left, so it’s headed across and toward the right. The black line is where you’ll sew to join the strips.
I use a line marked on my table to guide me when sewing the diagonal. You could mark the diagonal if you prefer. Sew on that diagonal in order to join the strips.
This is how it will look. Be sure to use thread that matches the fabric, or blends well. I used light thread so you could see it, but that’s a bad idea when you’re doing it for real.
Now, before you cut anything, check to be sure that the binding fits nicely along the side of the quilt.
If it does, cut the tails off, leaving about 1/4″ seam allowance.
Press everything nice and flat.
Finish sewing the binding to the quilt. Turn the binding to the other side and sew it down by hand or machine.
Questions? Ask them in the comments and I will respond.