How to Bind a Quilt: French-Fold Binding

If you’re a quilter, chances are you’ve got some quilt binding experience—good or bad. Binding a quilt can be difficult; I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t my favorite step in the quilt making process. This is why I am always looking for variations on how to bind a quilt. While looking through the Fall 2016 issue of Modern Patchwork, I came across a wonderful tutorial on French-fold binding, also called double-fold binding. Since I know I’m not the only quilter looking for binding tutorials, I would be remiss if I didn’t share.

French-fold Binding

Prepare the Binding

  1. Measure the perimeter of your quilt and add approximately 24″. The additional length will accommodate the mitered corners and the finished ends of the binding, and give you a few inches to spare.
  2. Cut enough 2 ¼ “-wide strips to equal the desired length.
  3. One step of the French-fold binding method.Join the strips together using diagonal seams. To do this, place two strips, right sides together at right angles. The area where the strips overlap forms a square. Sew diagonally across the square. Trim the excess fabric ¼ ” from the seam line and press the seam allowance open.
  4. Lightly press the binding in half lengthwise, with wrong sides facing.

Attach the Binding

  1. Open up the binding and press ½ ” to the wrong side at one short end. Refold the binding lengthwise. Choose a starting point along one side of the quilt, at least 8″ from the corner. Leaving several inches of the folded end of the binding loose at the beginning, align the raw edges of the binding strip to the raw edges of the right side of the quilt top. Pin or clip in place. Begin sewing, using a ¼ ” seam allowance.
  2. Stop sewing ¼ ” before reaching the corner, backstitch, clip the threads, and remove the quilt from the sewing machine.
    Learn how to attach binding to a quilt using the French-fold binding method.
  3. Rotate the quilt 90º to position it for sewing the next side. Fold the binding fabric up away from the project. Then, fold the binding back down along the project raw edge. This forms a miter at the corner. Stitch the second side beginning at the raw edge and continuing down the second side, ending ¼ ” from the next corner. Continue to add the binding to the remainder of the quilt.
  4. To finish the binding, stop stitching several inches from the starting point. Measure and trim the working edge to fit at least ½” under the folded edge of the beginning end of the binding. Trim the binding at that point.
  5. Another step with the French-fold binding method includes folding the binding to the back of the quilt.Slide the trimmed end under the folded edge and finish sewing the binding.
  6. Fold the binding to the back of the quilt, enclosing the raw edges. The folded edge of the binding strip should just cover the stitches visible on the back of the quilt.
  7. Sew the binding in place by hand, tucking in the corners to complete the miters as you go. Slipstitch the folds for a tidy finish.

For those of us who are visual learners, our friends at Fons & Porter have made a handy video of this quilt binding tutorial.

Practice the French-fold binding technique on any or all of the 21 exciting and enticing quilt projects in Modern Patchwork Fall 2016 when you order your copy. Start exploring what’s trending this fall along with tips and tricks for the modern quilter.

Happy quilting!

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P.S. If you want to try quilt binding alternatives or learn how to bind corners and curves, you won’t want to miss our free eBook all about binding and finishing quilts.

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