100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along // Finishing the Quilt Top

100 Quilts QA Done

This is it–the last post in the 100 Quilts Quilt Along series. In case you missed any of the posts, they can be found here

July 15: Quilt Along Introduction + Giveaway
July 19: Materials + Cutting Instructions
July 26: Foundation Piecing the Blocks
August 9: Assembling the Quilt Top
August 16: Quilting Tips
August 23: Quilting Tips from a Pro: Guest Post by Angela Walters
Today: Finishing the quilt

100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along! [+ giveaway]

Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about finishing your quilted quilt! [In case you got stuck at the basting stage, check out this basting tutorials by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts ! Baste your quilt, quilt it, and come back. Ready, go.]  I have included a few tips, defined some terms, and included links to a few binding tutorials.


Trim Your Quilt Top
Before you can add binding to your quilt, you need to square it up and trim it down.  I don’t know that there is a fool-proof method to trimming your quilt top–it gets easier with practice, especially with big quilts.

I place a large square ruler in the top right corner, line it up so that the corner is “square” (to the best of my ability), and use a rotary cutter to trim off the excess. (I often use seam lines as a guide.) Sometimes when you quilt, you pull the corners a bit–do the best you can.

Next, I place the ruler in the bottom right corner and trim. Then, I place a 24” x 5” ruler along the right side, in between the two squared off corners, and trim, sliding the ruler if the quilt is big. I repeat these steps for the left corners, then square off the left side, top, and bottom.  If you don’t have a large square ruler, you can eyeball it and use a regular ruler–the square one just makes it a bit easier.

Straight Grain Binding: 
Fabric has three grainlines (grain = direction of the thread).  There is a great definition of grainline at Coletterie.  The first is the lengthwise grain–it runs lengthwise along the whole bolt of fabric.

The second is the weft, or cross-wise grain, which runs selvage to selvage. I use straight-grain binding, meaning that I cut the binding strips along the cross-wise grain grain, from selvage to selvage. This is similar to how you would cut strips for any quilting project.


Bias Binding:
Bias binding is cut, you guessed it–along the bias, which is the third grainline. It runs in a 45 degree angle. Bias binding jazzes up striped bindings, but it’s value is more than cosmetic. Bias binding has a lot of stretch in it, and works well with curves.  Conventional wisdom also says that bias binding is stronger and will hold up better in the long run. If you choose to use bias binding, I recommend this Continuous Bias Binding Tutorial by Art Gallery Fabrics.

[bias stripe on the top, straight grain strip on the bottom, taken indoors at night with my phone because my camera isn’t working. awesome.]

Making Binding Strips:
Next, decide whether you want to use binding strips that are 2.5” or 2.25”. I like the look of 2.25”, but I think i am in the minority.

To determine how many strips you need, add each of the sides of the quilt together and add 12”. If your quilt is 36” x 40”, you will need 36” + 40” + 36” + 40″ + 15” or 167” of binding. If you cut using straight grain binding from a half yard of fabric (width ~42”), you will need 4 strips.

Festival of HSTs + Garden Wall

Machine Binding vs. Finishing by Hand
I think binding your quilt partially by hand or all by machine is a personal preference. If you practice enough, and are careful, I’m convinced that machine binding can look just as professional as hand binding. Practice, of course, is key!

I wrote a Machine Binding Tutorial last year that shows how to sew together strips and attach them to your quilt.  There are several different ways to bind by machine–I suggest checking out a variety of tutorials and choosing what works best for you. [This picture shows what the stitching on the front of the quilt looks like after washing]

Binding 100 Quilts

Finally, here are the binding tutorials I have bookmarked over the past few years–everyone does things a little bit differently; hopefully one of the methods will work for you!

Binding Tutorial by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts
Fast Machine Quilt Binding 101 by Amy from Diary of a Quilter
Machine Binding by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts
Machine Binding Tutorial by Nettie of A Quilt Is Nice
Pat Sloan’s Machine Binding Tutorial (blanket stitch)
Single Fold Binding by Kerry of Very Kerry Berry
Zig Zag Binding by Rachel from Stitched in Color

For binding by hand, I’m partial to Heather Bailey’s tutorial.

Have fun finishing your quilt!  Leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions!  Don’t forget the linky party for any 100 Quilts for Kids quilt, including a Quilt Along Quilt, September 20.

Quilt Along Quilt @Great Falls


This entry was posted in 100 Quilts for Kids, Quilts, Sew Alongs, Tutorials and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    I tell everyone about Heather Bailey’s binding tutorial (but usually no one listens). At first glance, it might look a little confusing, but it is THE EASIEST WAY to close up binding. (imho)

  2. Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you on 2.25″ binding – that’s what I use, along with Amanda Jean’s machine binding tutorial! Works like a dream, every time!!

Leave a Reply

  • visit my pattern shop2
  • new_sign up for my newsletter
  • katieblakesley300
  • VintageQuiltRevival
  • Summer Sampler Anthology snapshot
  • Follow
  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • More Swim, Bike, Quilt Posts

  • Swim, Bike, Quilt Archives