Bindings for Heirloom-Quality Quilts

Choosing the correct binding for Heirloom-Quality Quilts is extremely important for each quilts’ integrity.  Bindings are attached as one of the final steps in the creation of any quilted item. With a binding, the outer raw edges of fabric and batting are finished and hidden around the perimeter of your quilt. This provides a “finished” edge, attaching all the layers together which increases the quality and life of your quilt.

What is a Quilt Binding?
Quilt Binding is usually a long strip of fabric used to enclose the three layers of the outer raw edges of a quilt. Bindings often enhance the look and help maintain the longevity of your quilt.

Heirloom-Quality Binding

Are there different types of Quilt Binding?
Yes, there are a number of different types of Quilt Bindings that have been supported by various quilters for centuries. Other bindings are derived from technology.

  1. Single Fold Binding: This option is a single layer of fabric that covers the quilt’s raw edges. It is sewn to the quilt top. Then wrapped and sewn to the back of the quilt.  Due to its lack of protective strength, this type is not preferred for Heirloom-Quality quilts.
  2. Self-binding: Also known as “Edge-turned Binding”.  This option is when the backing fabric is pulled to the front, enclosing the raw edges and sewn down to the quilt top. This is also a single layer of fabric. This is also not recommended for Heirloom-Quality quilts. However, it is sufficient for lightly used quilts.
  3. Commercially made Binding Tape: Not recommended for any quilt.
  4. Prairie Points: Also known as “Cat’s Ears”,  “Sawtooth Edging” or “Dogtooth Borders”.  These small triangular shapes add texture and additional design elements to a quilt. A recommended option for very simply-patterned quilts.
  5. Faced Edge: Facing is used instead of binding. A simple but secure edge. This gives a very clean and modern look to a quilt.  Oftentimes adding a decorative flair to the back corners of the quilt.
  6. Birthing a Quilt: Edges are sewn together while inside-out, which makes a fast edge. This edging works well for novice quilters.
  7. Double Fold Binding: This is sometimes called French Fold Bias Binding. This is the recommended option (and the one I use unless requested otherwise), that secures and protects an heirloom-quality quilt edge with a durable design from a double layer of quilting fabric. This option is achieved by a double layer of fabric, sewn to the top of the quilt through all three layers, then wrapped around and hand-sewn to the back.

Do you use a machine or hand-sew a binding?
I always use both preferring the use of French Fold Binding. This binding is more labor-intensive. However, a durable way to secure your Heirloom-Quality quilt.

“French Binding” uses a double thickness of the material, sewn onto the top of the quilt (usually by machine). This is then wrapped around and sewn by hand to the back of the quilt, covering up all raw edges. This makes for a much stronger and longer-lasting binding.

If you have any other binding questions, I would be happy to provide my advice and experience to help you decide on a chosen path. At Timeless Thread Design, my aim is to provide you with an Heirloom-Quality quilt that will last many lifetimes, passing down many generations.