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Old 06/03/10, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,108
Hemming Quilts vs. Binding Quilts

One of the main things I hear other quilters complain about is binding their quilts so I thought I'd offer an alternative or two. For many years, I've hemmed most of my quilts rather than binding them. I think I'm alone in the wilderness on this method but after nearly 30 years, I still haven't had any problems with any of them.

One lady commented to me about how the edges would wear out. Anyone who has replaced a binding on an old quilt knows what she meant. She was under the impression that if you hem the quilt, you wouldn't be able to do that. Actually, the edges will eventually wear out the same no matter what kind of finishing you do. If it has been hemmed, treat it just as you would if it had a separate binding. Pick out the stitches, fold it back and trim off the worn part then put on a regular binding.

I have two sisters who also quilt and through the years they've developed their own shortcuts. One sister always sews her binding onto her quilt top as soon as it is finished. After the top has been quilted, she just folds it over onto the back and it's ready to stitch down.

Because she always hated dealing with the corners, she started making curved corners on her quilts if they have a simple wide border. Pieced borders have to be finished the traditional way. To make the curved corners, after her top is finished, she lays it down flat and puts a plate on the corner, draws around the edge of the plate to make the curve and trims it off. She then sews on her binding and eases it on around the curve instead of having to fold and tuck it on.

Does anybody else use these methods or have other shortcuts you've developed for finishing your quilts?
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Old 06/03/10, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 114
I've used a bias binding which worked great - I've done the fold-back and it works great also; and yes, I've done the cutting around the plate - makes a nice fancy corner, and it works easily... so to each his own - whatever works, do it. Like you say, if it wears out - you go from there and put on a new binding.
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Old 06/07/10, 01:34 PM
ErinP's Avatar
Too many fat quarters...
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SW Nebraska, NW Kansas
Posts: 8,545
I've done the hemming method, but prefer binding. It's so much easier.

I don't know what my method is called. "Fold back?" "Doubled?"

I cut a strip twice as wide as it needs to be as I fold it in half. Attach the unfinished side to the quilt front with a quarter inch seam.
Fold it over to the back and then stitch-in-the-ditch on the front. A little practice and it's easy to get it so that your stitches come out on the very edge of your piece in the back.

Mitered corners are easy, too.
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Old 06/07/10, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 397
I love binding! It's so relaxing to me because it signals the end of the quilting project and gives me an excuse to sit down and hand sew the back.
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