QM How-To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends1 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends2 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends3 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends6 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

Now take a sharp scissors and make a little snip of about 1/4″ right on the folds.

ends7 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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).

ends8 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

Open up the binding that’s on the left side and take it across and toward the right as shown, right side down.

ends9 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends10 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends11finalversion QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends12 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends13 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends15 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

ends17 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

Now, before you cut anything, check to be sure that the binding fits nicely along the side of the quilt.

ends16 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

If it does, cut the tails off, leaving about 1/4″ seam allowance.

ends18 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

Press everything nice and flat.

ends19 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

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.

About Diane Harris

I'm Interactive Editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I've been writing pattern instructions and product reviews, and doing a host of other tasks necessary to help produce a national pattern magazine. Now I work remotely from rural Nebraska to generate some of our online content. I manage the QM Scrap Squad, our blog tours and our Quilt-Alongs. I have one of the best jobs in the world.
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52 Responses to QM How-To: Join the Ends of Binding

  1. Pingback: only a newbie would do this

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  4. Sophia says:

    Worked beautifully!

  5. Debi says:

    For some reason the diagram I have been using, after sewing the ends together, my binding is twisted!!! UrG!! I am going to try your method & pictures this morning as it looks so easy.

    • Debi says:

      I DID IT ON THE FIRST TRY! :D No twisted binding. I pinned this on my board….thank you so much. I am so proud of myself…….

  6. Pingback: Tutorial Demonstrates How To Join Quilt Ends for Clean-Edge Finish | HTC Retail

  7. Diane Jacob, Texas says:

    I always have a problem finishing a binding, your instructions look simple, I can’t wait to try it.

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  9. Dorothy says:

    Great instructions. Anxious to try it. May I demonstrate this method and pictures at our quilt meeting?

  10. Nancy Wilson says:

    I am eager to learn how to do this. Thank you.

  11. Kelly Fluharty says:

    I have read dozens of tutorials and watched numerous videos on this subject. Yours is by far the best and the easiest. Thank you for taking the time and effort to put this together!

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  13. Susan Cornell says:

    Thank You so much. The pictures help a lot.

  14. Lynda Parker says:

    This is my favorite method too – but I didn’t know about cutting a little notch.
    Great tip!

  15. Alice G says:

    I forgot to say the instructions and pictures are excellent.

  16. Alice G says:

    I have used this method and you cannot tell where it is especially if you have pieced your more than one strip together.

  17. Bethp says:

    I’ve been binding by hand for several years. The hardest part has always been joining the two ends. I’m never quite satisfied with my end result. I’ll definately try your way. I was a little confused where you make the 1/4″ snips. Is it right at the flog where the two pieces barely hit each other?

  18. Gwen Broward says:

    I 71 years old and have been sewing for about 50 years but have just started quilting. This is an excellent demo on binding. I have my second quilt to bind and this is just what I needed. THANK YOU1

  19. Your explanation of this method of binding a quilt is excellent. I am going to try this out
    really soon. The photos are most helpful in understanding the technique. I have learned so much from tutorials such as this and appreciate the efforts made by you
    and others. Please keep up the good work. I LOVE QUILTING!!!

  20. Bonny says:

    I have a quilt waiting to be bound. I’m going to try your technique. I join my binding strips using the same diagonal seam so this should be easy. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to see my pretty quilt with a pretty binding.

  21. Bonny says:

    I have a quilt waiting to be bound and I’m going to try this. I thought there had to be a better way to join the ends. This diagonal seam is exactly how I join the strips to make my binding so this should be easy. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to see my pretty quilt with a pretty binding.

  22. Patty Ward says:

    I have the binding tool that Missouri Star QC has a tutorial on (Jenny Doan shows it), and I’ve been using it for a few years. However, I am anxious to try this method! Thanks!

  23. Ollie M says:

    I have been quilting for years. I live with ugly binding ends. I’m going to try the
    Snip technique. Hopefully my binding will look as nice as yours. Thanks, Ollie

  24. Lori Michel says:

    Thank you for your tutorial. The step by step and the extra photos with 2 different fabrics really gave a complete understanding of how to do this process, and have it come out perfect….. I machine bind my quilts as hand stitching is difficult with the arthritis that has taken over my ability to handle needles and thread.

  25. Evelyn Muhlhan says:

    I am new to quilting. I will try to use this technique. It would have been nice to see the finish product.

  26. Anna Troemel says:

    Thank you for such clear explanations accompanied with pictures! Big help to self-taught quilters like me.

  27. Elaine H says:

    Thank you so much for a clear tutorial. I’ve used this method for years, but usually have problems with opening the binding and getting the right sides together before sewing. You’ve cured my headache! lol

  28. Pat says:

    Great explanation. Have tried this before but always failed. Will try this method on next quilt

  29. Pam Robbins says:

    I tried this method and it works great! I’ve tried two different binding tools, but this is so much simpler!

  30. This is basically the method I use but without the snips, will try the snips next binding.

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  32. LizA. says:

    This is pretty much how I’ve been doing my binding for years. The only thing is I don’t snip, I just finger press those folds and stick a pin thru the centers, matching up horizontal & vertical fold lines.

  33. Looks great! I will keep this for future reference. I always dread this part of binding!

  34. DianeH says:

    Thank you for this ‘new to me’ method. Will certainly give it a try.

  35. Jan MacKay says:

    I tried it and it worked perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing this bit of info. A newbie quilter.

  36. Sharon Aitchison says:

    PERFECT! Clear as a bell, I am definitely going to try this, as well as share it with my quilt guild friends!!

  37. Linda Towers says:

    Thank you for publishing such a clearly demonstrated binding method! I have struggled with a similar method for years. The little snips are genius! And now I won’t have to twist and turn my ends until I find one that will lie flat. Thank you, thank you!

  38. Aunt Bonnie says:

    I am dyslexic and I have a terrible time with this. Believe me, this page is getting bookmarked so I can go back and view it whenever I need to refresh my memory. (Like every time I do binding!).

  39. Jerry Beavers says:

    This part of the binding process has always perplexed me. Your tutorial makes it look so easy. Definitely will try this on my next binding. Thank you for making this user friendly.

  40. Julie Dunn says:

    I recently started using the Binding Tool, but it is nice to know how with out it. I think I’ll try this on my next binding.

  41. Teri powers says:

    Thanks can’t wait to try it.

  42. Sophia Carroll says:

    This is great. I can’t wait to try it!

  43. Janice Devulapalli says:

    Can’t wait to give this a try. Definitely bookmarking it.

  44. Debbie Risinger says:

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

  45. Kristy Boule says:

    Bookmarking this!

  46. Judy Gasseling says:

    Wow! Just in time to try out on a baby quilt I finished quilting today.

  47. Sandy Gray says:

    Thank you for sharing, I get tripped up on which way to lay the ends and which way to sew. This is a great help.

  48. Karen says:

    I found a really simple way to do this several years ago – it really finishes binding great – thanks for posting your way – always nice to see how others do this.

  49. Jocelyn says:

    I always have so much trouble doing this!! You make it look so easy ;-)

  50. Pauline says:

    Oh that little snip is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing this, I always get my fabric twisted…

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