Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt


How to bind a quilt or mug rug | SimplyNotable.comI’m often asked how to finish quilts and mug rugs. There are actually several methods for binding, and it is really up to the seamstress to decide the best method to use for their project. Available methods are:

Machine stitch binding to the front of the quilt/mug rug and then finish by hand stitching it to the back.

bulletMachine stitch binding to the back of the quilt/mug rug and finish by machine stitching it on the front.

bulletAllow for a larger backing, then fold the backing of the item over to the front to create binding.

The third method, in my opinion, is not only the easiest for a beginner but it is also the fastest of the three methods.

For demonstration purposes, I used a small mug rug to illustrate the third binding method. To prepare your piece for binding:

First, use quilt basting spray to join your batting and mug rug top.

Second, use your shape cut or other acrylic ruler to square it up. (This term means that your sides are even and your corners are square.)

Third, apply basting spray to the back of the batting and center it on the backing piece. It’s helpful to use a backing piece that is approximately 2.5” longer and wider than a mug rug top, or 3″ wider on all four sides of a quilt to make centering it easier. You will quilt the project as desired prior to finishing the binding. You can complete a mug rug without quilting, if you’d like.

Finally, use your acrylic ruler to trim the backing at one inch wider than the top on all four sides.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by
After trimming, the backing on your mug rug should look similar to this.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by
Take your project to the ironing board. Fold the excess backing towards the top so that it is folded in half. Press (iron) it all the way across on each side.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

After that step, I always cut a rectangle out of each corner to help eliminate bulk in the finished product.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by
Pick a side to start with, and fold the backing over the top of the mug rug. It will cover the edge by about ½”. Use your Clover Wonder Clips to hold it in place. When you get to the corner, the first side will be all the way down and the second side will be all the way open.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

Fold the corner down to the edge of the quilt or mug rug so that a right triangle is made.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

Fold side two down in half…

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

…then in half again, overlapping the edge of the quilt or mug rug as you did on the first side. It should make a nice corner. Adjust your right triangle if you need to so that the edge of side one and side two match up nicely.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

Secure each side and corner, using a Wonder Clip every couple of inches.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

To top stitch my binding, I use a zipper foot. I place the project to the right side of the presser foot. The inside edge of my binding is up against the left of the zipper foot’s edge guide. By doing so, it allows me to get an even 1/8” stitch all the way around. If you are not comfortable using the zipper foot, use the foot you normally use for straight stitches. Place your project to the left of the presser foot and sew close to the inside edge of the binding.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

Here is my final product, which I decided to use as a mouse pad.

Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt or Mug Rug by

I find that using my backing as binding cuts the time it takes to bind in half and gives a neat finish. If you are new to quilting projects, give this method a shot and let me know if you have any questions along the way.

Happy quilting!






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  1. Jeannie
    Posted May 15, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Great instructions! Can you tell me where you got the ruler in picture number one? It has grids in it. It looks like it would be a great help in cutting. Thanks.

    • Emily
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Jeannie, that is a Shape Cut ruler by June Taylor. I use it about as much as my 6×24″ ruler. I purchased it at Joanns. Make sure you use a coupon on it or get it while it is 50% off!

  2. Ashley
    Posted May 15, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Awesome! Love the idea of using the mug rug for a mousepad, might just have to make one later today

  3. Suzanne
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of using a zipper foot for the binding. I’m going to try that. Thanks for the clear directions.

One Trackback

  1. By Intermediate Quilting Tools and Giveaway! on July 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

    […] Clover Wonder Clips I demonstrated their usefulness in my Scrappy Mug Rug Tutorial, Simply Basics: Binding a Quilt, and Pencil Pouch Tutorial. I absolutely love these little clips! I first started out with a 10 […]

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