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Quilt Binding Instructions: How to Sew on Binding

After you’ve made your quilt binding, it’s time to attach it to your quilt.

Remember when you made your binding? How you folded it in half and ironed? Ok, place that binding strip on the edge of your quilt with the side you can “open” facing UP. You could also say the raw edges should be facing up. If that doesn’t make sense (and I’m not sure it does) look at the picture below. The side you can open should be aligned with the edge of your quilt.


Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, start sewing (backstitch when you start sewing!) about 8-10 inches from the end of your binding strip. You start 8-10 inches from the end because you’re going to need some extra fabric when you attach the ends together, which I’ll talk about soon in another post.  (And it’s probably a good idea to stop here and attach your walking foot, I didn’t, but I probably should have.)

attach binding starting here I

I like to clip the binding to the quilt before I sew it on. Not totally necessary, but I find it helps. If you decide to clip it, just clip the binding to the side of the quilt that you’re currently working on. In other words, don’t clip it all the way around the quilt just yet. It works better to do it one side at a time.

use clips to attach binding

Now sew your binding to the end of that side of the quilt. (Remember to refer to the picture above to know where to begin sewing.) Sew until you are a 1/4 inch away from the end. Backstitch. Cut your thread.

** When I was learning how to do this, I think I remember finding tutorials where people didn’t stop and cut their thread and I just could never make it work for me, but maybe you can. As always, I’m just pointing out there are several ways to do the same thing. Do what works for you! **

stop sewing 1/4 inch from the end

Now the tricky part, the corners. Actually, after you do it a couple of times, it’s not tricky at all, but for me it was tricky figuring it out the first few times.

Take the part of the binding that’s not attached to the quilt (the “loose” part) and flip it straight up. You’re not sewing or pinning or anything, just hold it like I’m doing.


Next…don’t let go of the corner, keep it in place with your thumb. Bring the strip straight down. It will cover your thumb.


This is what it looks like. Keep holding it in place.

binding corner before sewing

I like to clip it to hold it in place until I can sew it.

clip binding corner

When you start sewing again, you’ll want to continue with your 1/4 inch seam. So start sewing 1/4 inch from the top and side of your quilt. I tried to show you in the picture below. You’ll want to start sewing down that side of the quilt about where the tip of the arrow is. Remember to back stitch!

start sewing herei

Now you’ll just repeat the above steps until you’ve attached your binding all the way around your quilt. (But you’re not going to completely attach it yet… see below.) Don’t forget to backstitch every time you start and stop sewing.

(Reminder: clip binding to quilt, sew the binding, stop sewing 1/4 inch from the end, clip thread, make your corners, start over)

Stop sewing and backstitch when you’re about 8-10 inches from your starting point. (Look at the picture below.) You’re going to need this room to attach the ends of your binding strips. (Which I’ll have a tutorial for in a few days.)

where to stop sewing

And that’s it! (for now)

If you’d like to see the other parts of this little series:

Quilt Binding Instructions: How Make Your Own Binding

Quilt Binding Instructions: How to Join Quilt Binding Ends


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial – it has really helped to make clear what some of my sewing books make sound sooooo much more complicated that it needs to be. I have now got to grips with this. Now to crack sewing the binding ends together….


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