A quilt isn’t finished until the last binding stitch is made. I’ve been asked many times over the years about how to make those “pretty mitered corners” that can be seen on my quilts.
First off, they aren’t all perfect. I do my best to get a nice corner, but there are times it just doesn’t happen. That’s fine too—my quilts have a personality, and there are times I just remind myself, done is good!
Let’s discuss the things that you can do to make “mitering” a binding corner a little less daunting. I learned by example, so a series of pictures will help create a visual journey into the world of how I make a mitered binding corner.
- My binding is normally cut 2-1/2” wide. Some like a bit narrower binding at 2-1/4”, that works as well. Make sure to press the strip lengthwise, matching the cut edges. An accurate fold is always helpful for an even width binding.
- When applying the binding to the right side of the quilt sandwich and approaching the corner, remember to stop 1/4” from the edge of the quilt top shown here marked with a pin.
Make a quick reinforcement stitch, then break the thread and remove the quilt from the machine.
Bring the binding strip to the right with a 45-degree fold and then back to the left.
TIP: Don’t fold the binding back creating a perfect right angle. Leave a bit more binding behind. The fold created should extend at least 1/8” beyond the edge of the quilt top.
Begin stitching from the edge of the quilt sandwich along the next side of the quilt. Approach each corner in the same manner, leaving just a bit more fabric in the folded corner.
- Once you have your entire binding secured to the quilt top, it’s time to turn the binding to the back side of your quilt and secure it with hand stitching. I position the quilt face down in my lap and the binding edge close to me. This allows me to see the folded edge of the binding and the previous stitching line (that holds the binding to the quilt) as a guide for an even width binding.
- As I prepare to stitch the binding, I also diagonally trim each corner to remove excess batting and backing fabric. This will reduce the bulk when I am making the folded miter.
- I use Wonder Clips to hold the binding fold in place as I approach the area for stitching.
- I prefer to use a “straw needle” which is very thin and a bit longer for securing the binding. My first stitch, with a single layer of thread, is into the seam allowance to hide the knot. Then I take a small stitch into the binding fold and pull the thread snug.
- Next, I cross back to the backing fabric and run the needle in a shallow stitch, parallel to the binding seam, at the same time taking a stitch into the fold of the binding. Pull the stitch snug to bury the thread. Continue in this manner all the way to the corner.
- As I approach the corner, I stop and fold the binding as shown here. First the far edge and then the adjacent side. I secure the binding fold with clips until I am ready to stitch the section.
After having stitched all the way to the mitered corner, I take a couple of stitches into the folded miter to secure the corner.
Then, I drive the needle to the front side of my quilt and take a couple of stitches across the miter to secure the front corner.
Once I have arrived at the inner edge of the miter, I drive the needle to the back side of my quilt and continue securing the binding along the next edge. I repeat this process until the entire binding and all four corners are complete.
NOTE: There are other methods, and many quilters use their machine to secure the binding. The process for this is to apply the binding to the back side of the quilt. Creating the mitered corners remains the same.
The satisfaction of finishing a quilt is like no other. The journey is complete and your quilt is ready to be enjoyed. Whether or not every binding corner is picture perfect, keep in mind: done is good!
I would love to see how to do scalloped edge mitered binding corners. Do you have info on that? Thanks
AH! I always fold my mitre even with the edge. No wonder I have so much trouble! I get the 45 deg fold OK, but going 1/8″ over the edge makes sense! And DUH! for some reason, I always trim corners, but never on quilts!
Thanks for your help.
Great instructions and pictures. You made binding easy. Thank you for your instructions.
Thank you very much
I am intrigued that the binding and front are not as wide as the backing and batting ? It appears you leave extra batting in the binding? Please comment. Thank you. Such a good tutorial!
Thanks for contacting the National Quilters Circle with your question. Yes, that is correct. I do trim my projects with a bit of batting and backing, about 1/8″ extending from the quilt top. I typically use 2-1/2″ wide binding strips and this allows for some “filling” in the binding so that it is not hollow. I didn’t used to do this, but after a judge made a comment on a quilt that I entered in the Iowa State Fair a number of years ago, I started leaving just that tiny bit behind and really like the way my bindings turn out. I guess you would say it’s a personal choice, but maybe try it and see how you like the finished product.
National Quilters Circle
I also do that since I got a comment at my county fair about my binding not being “full”. I really like the binding better when it is full. Easy to do and looks and feels nicer
Excellent article … very helpful and the pictures of each step are extremely helpful!
Helpful, good information.
Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I do appreciate hand stitching the backside of the binding. It is my preferred method in finishing the binding on my quilts. I wonder if taking just a few small stitches into the corner would help in forming the miter on the corners. I do take a few stitches into the miter on the back but didn’t think of doing it on the front as well. Thank you for that tip.
Excellent information. Sometimes also mine are not very good. Thanks for your guidance.
I have always had trouble with mitered corners. This I will try as soon as I can. Everything,however, shows backward to.a leftie like me. I wish somebody would do it backwards so it made more sense visually to me