Quilt Binding Alternatives

What’s black and white and fun all over? One of Jamie Fingal’s quilts.

quilt by jamie fingal with untraditional quilt binding
“A Slice of Old Town Charm” by Jamie Fingal.
This fused piece has no traditional quilt binding,
just stitching along the edge.

Jamie considers herself a rebel quilter, saying “no” to batting, bindings, pins, and rules. Instead, she uses MistyfuseTM (a lightweight fusible without backing) to fuse brightly colored fabrics (she just debuted her own line) to felt. Her only nod to binding a quilt is to stitch around the edge of the cut-and-fused layer, sometimes adding trim like an open zipper to frame the design.

“My quilts are about having fun and not taking myself or them too seriously,” says Jamie. “I’m all about being bold and brave–let’s set the world on fire with quilting!”

If mitered corners and other details of a traditional quilt binding aren’t your thing, here are some other techniques you can use for binding a quilt.

Use a zigzag or decorative stitch around the edges. Like this quilt binding method from Terry Grant for ATCs and small quilts.

Paint the edges with fabric paint (best on a small art quilt).

Hand embroider around the perimeter using a blanket stitch or whipstitch.

Use a scalloped or wavy blade on your rotary cutter to give a decorative finish to small fused quilts.

Employ the “pillowcase” method: Place the backing fabric right-side down on top of the quilt. Pin or baste in place and then stitch around the perimeter, leaving a gap for turning. Clip corners, turn inside out, and whipstitch the gap closed. You may also want to top-stitch around the perimeter.

Couch or topstitch trim on top of the edges.

Jamie shares her rebellious–and fun–techniques on her video tutorial Rebel Quilting: Thinking Outside the Block, now available on Craft Daily. With your subscription, you can get access to Jamie’s video and full-length video workshops from many other talented art quilters for one low price.

For even more alternative methods, be sure to also check out this collection of quilt binding and finishing techniques.

P.S. What’s your favorite way to bind a quilt? Leave your comment below.



Other topics you may enjoy:


Binding & Finishing, Quilting Daily Blog

8 thoughts on “Quilt Binding Alternatives

  1. Binding is one of my Least favorite steps. What I like doing is cutting out a strip of fabric and ironing on wonder under. Then I cut the strips out the width of the binding that I want and I used a curved edging. Then I iron on the binding and if I feel like it I see it with a decorative stitch or leave it as is

  2. I am a very traditional quilter – I love new designs for the quilts but still feel that a quilt is a top – batting – backing – and a binding for the quilt. A quilt should be something that can be used and loved for years and years – Art quilts are a totally different thing and I don’t think that they should be even called Quilts. They should be in a different category all their own.

  3. I prefer to add a binding, but I attach it to the back of the quilt first, then turn to top side of quilt and stitch down with a decorative stitch. I’m not into hand stitching the binding!

  4. I used this method on several patchwork baby quilts, where the backing material was a solid piece of one of the patch materials. Just cut the batting and the backing larger than the top. If you want a two inch binding, cut them both to be about 4 and a half inches larger than the top, for example. Then when your quilting is completed, fold over the backing and the batting to the front edge of the quilt, tuck under a quarter inch, pin and sew. You can straight tuck or miter your corners. Also, you can either cut the batting down a bit, or leave it doubled for a “poufy” edge. Pretty and easy.

  5. Binding are not fun for me, takes the joy out of the craft and boxes you in.
    I have been creating quilts without bindings for many years… and actually use zigzag and other stitches as well around the edges. There are many, many alternatives than the traditional binding to create a great frame of for a quilt with many kinds of materials other than quilt fabric. Enjoy and I always say be creative and don’t worry about the way books, teachers, and long time traditional quilting practices… do your own thing!!!