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Which binding--bias or straight grain--is best for a quilt?

by Sally
(Dallas, TX USA)

Sally writes...

Which way to cut binding is easier for a first timer - straight or bias?

I'm hoping to machine apply to the back first and after rolling it to the front, again secure it with the sewing machine as I've seen on online videos.

I originally planned on hand binding the finishing but recently injured my hand and am on a tight deadline for gifting the quilt to surprise my daughter on her Jan-1-15 birthday.

Julie replies...

Hi Sally!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! on your daughter's birthday. My own daughter was born on January 10th, 17 years ago. I'm sure you remember it like it was yesterday, as I do!

As to your question, for binding, unless there is some over-riding design (like a plaid that I want to use a certain way) or construction (like curved edges) reason for choosing bias, I go for cross-cut, selvedge to selvedge strips.

They're faster to cut, there's less waste and none of those short, choppy strips to contend with. I have to go back to the instructions for a refresher on making continuous bias binding because I don't use it very oftern. Seems silly, but that's how I roll!

I find that there's enough stretch in the crosswise grain to get a nice tight, filled-to-the-fold binding on my quilts. There's also just enough give if you need to ease the ends together a bit at the end.

While I prefer to hand-stitch my binding to the backside, when you're injured you have to do what works if you want to continue. Good on you for keeping your options open!

Don't forget about some of your sewing machine's decorative stitches for sewing the binding from the front. Just the right one (and only you will know what that is) can add an extra layer of design, and possibly meaning, to your quilt.

Good luck to you! My best to your daughter!


Julie Baird

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