My Sewn in Miter Binding Method



How have you all been? The last teaching engagement of the year is over and I loved my time with the Marigold Applique-ers! Seriously, I felt guilty about being paid to be with these ladies. They offered up wine, GOOD wine, and all sorts of goodies and we laughed and laughed…….Oh and yes, they stitched. They work hard and play hard. Thanks ladies you were fabulous!

I have just finished up my last deadline commitment for the year and turned in my article for Machine Quilting Unlimited’s January 2014 issue. If you want to know how I quilted that woven design in the picture above, that is the issue you need to look for.

Both of these experiences prompted me to post about how I create my bindings because it was brought up as a question and I was working on a binding! I do my bindings very differently from the usual stitching, stopping and folding the corners at right angles for a miter method.

I actually sew the miter of the binding on my machine. I was taught this in one of my very first quilt making classes I took at my local quilt shop. I later tried the folded miter method and meh, not as good in my never so humble opinion.

It may seem complicated at first reading, but it goes relatively fast once you get it down.


Let’s Begin…..

1) Strips are cut on the straight of grain the length of the quilt edge(s) + at least 3″ extra on each end (both left and right ends). For this example, I am cutting the width of my strips two and one eighth inches wide (2.125″)





2) Take the strips to the ironing board and fold in half the length of the strip and press.




3) The next step is to mark each corner of the quilt top for the quarter inch measurement. A quarter of an inch from the side and a quarter of an inch down from the top.

I use the white chalk marker from Bohin or Sewline since it is nice and crisp and not too thick. This needs to be accurate!




4) Now I will lay one of the side strips in place and pin towards the ends from the center (remember the ends need to extend beyond the edges by at least three inches! Then once again, I will mark the 1/4″ marking only this time on the binding fabric making sure that the two dots are lined up and then finish pinning.

I do this secondary step so I know where to stop and start stitching. It is much easier to see than stopping, lifting my pressure foot, twisting the binding out of the way with the needle still in then twisting my head and neck to see if the needle landed in the right spot or not.




5) You will start and stop your stitching at these quarter inch markings. The needle needs to come down dead center on these markings!

6) Once you have the two side pieces sewn on, now you need to attach the top and bottom binding strips. Pin from the center out again and mark the quarter inch marks on these binding pieces making sure they line up.

The fussy bit: When you put your needle down to start stitching, it must be in the same needle hole where you started and stopped on the previous side piece(s). Exactly.

I pin the side piece out of the way like so and I can see the stitch and needle placement as well as keeping that side binding piece from getting in the way as I stitch on the top/bottom piece. (sorry for fuzzy pic)




7) Now you will see why those stops and start markings are so important. With the first corner, fold the quilt on a 45 degree angle, wrong sides together and the binding downward like so:




Make sure you also line up the binding edges and ends accurately. You can see how well I pin to make that happen. See that white dot? It is at the very end of the stitching and is my reference point for measuring the stitched miter in the following steps.

8) Measure the distance between the end of stitching (dot) and the bottom edge of the binding (in this case, 3/4″).




Divide that measurement in two. For this example, that would equal 3/8th” (0.375″)  Mark this measurement.  (again– sorry for the fuzzy pic)




Use the same center measurement, measure out horizontally the same 3/8″ and mark a new “center” dot. (this will be referenced as point (B) in the photos to come)




Using a straight edge, draw a line from point (A) to point (B) the new center dot.




Again, using a straight edge, draw a line from point (B) to point (C).




This line (A, B, & C) will be the stitching line for the miter.

I have made my own binding templates for binding widths I prefer. Draw the same measurements on template material and cut out. Remember to mark the template with the binding cut size so you don’t have to try and remember what it was the next time you want to use it.

I laid this one I have for the 2.125″ cut width over the lines I had measured and drawn above and you can see it is a match! If my needle position had been off on those original quarter inch markings when attaching the binding, you can see how this would affect the whole miter and its accuracy.




9) Time to stitch! Lower your needle in the same hole as the last stitch in point (A) stitch to the center (B) pivot and then continue stitching to the end at point (C). I use a smaller stitch length to make a more secure seam.




10) Once stitching is complete (make sure you backstitch to lock in your stitches!) You will need to trim the seam allowance and trim/grade the point to allow for turning. This seam allowance is smaller than it looks here in the zoom photo.




I use a bamboo tool for getting nice (but not too pointy!) even points.




Don’t overwork this or you will get a rather unattractive effect on the point.


That over developed point is not good!


Once turned, your point should look something like this……



Isn’t it pretty?! And best of all, below is a picture of the miter created for the back and you can see that the binding will be filled well with the seam allowance and my miter is already to be stitched down.




So, so pretty and now all I have to do is use a couple of those Clover clips to secure where I start and continue stitching and hand stitch closed the binding to the back. No uneven folds and the miter is secure and stitched in. No other intervention needed.

I am off to Houston soon and I am taking some chill time to re-energize because I have worked my, you know what off, 24/7 for the last ten months. I need to let the kids know that yes, they do have a mom. They just think I am some strange lady who lives in a cave filled with fabric and thread.

I picked up some excellent new batiks (new to me) in Canada and now my color mental block is going away on the new Naturalist’s Notebook block. Now all I have to do is figure out how to find some more of this fabric for kits.

I will try and tweet some pics of The Houston show on my Twitter link so watch that area in the upper right of this page.





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About Sandra

I am an Author, Designer, Illustrator and a major international award winning quilt artisan. I love working with fabrics and threads and they have become my medium of choice.

16 thoughts on “My Sewn in Miter Binding Method

  1. Hi Sandra,

    I have been doing my miters this way for several years now, and I absolutely love this method. Miters come out crisp and square, every time!

    Can’t wait for January’s issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited to find out how you did that woven background quilting. I have never been ever to figure out how to do it without a gazillion thread ends to bury.


  2. I am totally blown away with this technique of binding! Can’t wait to try it out. I hope I can master it in a few tries :).

  3. Hi Precious, Still giggling after the hillarity in Kamloops. Thanks again for your great class. My Nanaimo gals have started an email “conversation” to keep each other motivated while we do Jason’s Grasshopper. Love the binding technique. Enjoy Houston – you’ve earned it. Bless your heart, Val

  4. Val, i am so over the moon I finally can do that knot you showed me! I can finish my dragonfly wings so much faster! You really are just too precious! LOL

  5. Thanks Becky for the backup on how great this method is. Looks like we both were very fortunate to have learned this method! Don’t you love that moment when you turn those corners and they are bee-ew-tee-ful? 😀

  6. Thanks Sandra for your the more detailed instructions on the mitered binding method. The quilt looks amazing from what little I can see! … can’t wait to see the rest of it.
    and thanks for the super glue tip, It’s works great!

  7. Hi Sandra…. Thank you so much for the great binding tutorial! I have been using another technique that gives very inconsistant results…. cannot wait to try this! 🙂 Does the article in the January MQU show us more of your quilt in these photos? 😉 Have fun in Houston!

  8. Dear Sandra
    Thanks so much for this lesson. Some time ago you mentioned that you used a different method and I have been waiting patiently to learn it. It was worth the wait.
    Could you please explain the place of the dragon fly in “Jason’s Grasshopper”? I don’t see it.
    Have a good time at Houston. Will you be showing any of your quilts there ?

  9. Wow!!! I have got to try this method. Your bindings have always looked amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Sara there is no dragonfly in Jason’s grasshopper. The thread was listed but is for a future block. I put the color number for J’s grasshopper on the pattern and thread pages but for some reason there was still a little bit of confusion.

    The other Glitter thread will be needed, you are just prepared ahead of time. 🙂

  11. Jill– yes,the full sample will be in the issue of the magazine.

    One thing I will mention is that the green fabric that you see with the quilting? That is the Oakshott fabric and wow is it beautiful in person quilted!

    It was wonderful to work with too 🙂

    For Appliqué or quilting, this is really nice fabric.

    Tell Susan hello from me!

  12. Sandra,
    Great tutorial, and I love the woven design. You are the master of wonderful details.

    Enjoy Houston and then enjoy your family.

  13. Sandra… I’ll relay your “hello.”

    Now that I take a closer look, I see the Oakshott weave. I love the added texture that it brings to your beautiful quilting. I have been slowly gathering fq’s in various colors of Oakshott for a future pieced design… will have to move it closer to the top of my “to do” list!
    Happy stitching!

  14. Miter corners have always been a head ache….3 will come out perfect and then the 4th will not….it’s crazy. Can’t wait to try this method …
    I get to go to Houston with my daughter who will be there for the first time and I have not been there just for fun in many years as I have always worked the “Superior Threads” booth. So this will be a fun filled three days. Relaxing…NO! but there is so much to see who wants to relax. Love your blog and the sharing

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