Once you've made it to the quilt binding, it means you're almost done with your quilt. You're one step away from washing it and snuggling with it. The binding I'm about to create here is called straight grain binding. Straight grain binding will not work for quilts with curved or scallop edges. For going around curves you need bias binding. That's a post for another day!
There are three parts to binding a quilt:
1. Making the binding (covered in this post)
2. Machine sewing it to the front of your quilt
3. Hand sewing it to the back
In this post I'll cover determining how much binding you need, and how to make it. Sewing the binding by machine and then finishing it by hand will be covered later.
First, trim the edges of your batting and backing fabric to be even with the quilt top.
I'm using a practice quilt sandwich, by the way. This is not an actual quilt :)
Measure the distance around your whole quilt. This will tell you how long your binding strip needs to be. Mine was 18+18+20+20 = 76 inches. You will always need to add an extra 15-20 inches for the process of sewing the ends together. So now I'm up to 76+20= 96 inches.
Now, cut your binding fabric into 2.5 inch strips. If you are cutting from yardage, assume that one strip will measure 40 inches. So I went ahead and cut 3 strips (so I will have a total of 120 inches). Believe me, it's way better to have extra than to not have enough.
Now let's sew the strips together. Sewing them at an angle will reduce the bulk of the seam allowance. To sew the strips at an angle, lay two strips RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER with the end of one lying horizontal and the beginning of the next one vertical:
Then draw a diagonal line from top left corner to the bottom right corner.
Sew down that line.
Trim the extra fabric with a quarter inch seam, and press it open.
Then you have a nice diagonal seam and one long fabric strip.
You can pin the strips if they are shifting as you move them to your machine.
Repeat until all your strips are sewn together.
Then take the long strip and fold it in half and press, so that now the strip is only 1.25" wide.
So that's how you make quilt binding!