Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's with binding?

Sometimes I get very annoyed when I read blog entries. Today I read one about machine binding your quilts.  Excuse me, but I've been of the school that bindings were machine stitched on the front and folded over and hand stitched on the back.  Seems there's a new way that I've been hearing about but haven't tried.

When I read this person's entry this morning, I got very annoyed because "that's not the correct way to do it."  (A little of my OCD showing ;-)  ) As I read, I started to realize that times do change and maybe it was time to change my attitude about bindings.  Just because I've always done it a certain way doesn't mean it has to be done that way, right? Actually, I'll be real honest here. On my first quilt, I simply folded the backing over to the front and hand stitched it down.  I still have that quilt and have repaired that binding several times and everytime I look at the quilt,I regret not doing it the proper way. 

I digress.  Our grandmothers and great grandmothers hand pieced and hand quilted and some people still do that today. Does that mean its "not okay" to use the machine to piece and quilt as I do today?  Of course not. We have adapted new methods of achieving the same results--a beautiful quilt.  So why not use the machine to finish the binding? 

Some of the examples I see of machine stitched bindings look very nice--using decorative stitches and variegated threads--and they add another element to the quilt.  It seems easy enough to machine stitch the bindings although one person said it took a bit of practice before she mastered it.  However, I don't know if I like the idea of doing another step of maneuvering the quilt through the machine one more time--after all, I usually make bed sized quilts or at least throw sized and that's a lot of wrestling when using a domestic machine!

I think I'll stay with hand sewing the final step of creating the quilt.  I like to sit with the quilt on my lap, good movie on the TV, a fire in the stove and the soothing rhythm of stitch after stitch along the edge of the quilt.  After struggling to move the quilt through the machine to cover it with quilting, this last, final step is the best part of the entire process for me. Very relaxing.  I may change my attitude and machine stitch on a binding in the future and that will be okay, but for now, I look forward to having hand work to occupy me in the evening.


  1. there are as many ways to bind as there are quilters. I usually roll the back to the front and machine sew it down. Sometimes I sew to the back and roll to the front and hand sew. For small projects I sandwich, sew all around and turn inside out and then either whip stitch or machine sew the opening. Each project is different and done whatever I am in the mood to do. cw

  2. I prefer a very narrow binding--and with all the thicknesses, I think it would be ultra-difficult to stitch this down neatly by machine, especially when I reach the mitered corners. I use the walking foot to attach to the front, then turn the double-fold binding to the back. I don't enjoy that part--wresting with the binding--but I love the final appearance of the quilt.