Friday, November 19, 2010

Cheater Binding

I really like the look of a hand finished binding. I just don't like doing it. Especially on quilts I am not crazy about or ones that are going to get a lot of wear and tear. I kept telling myself that if I pinned well and went slow I could machine bind my quilts but it NEVER worked for me. I would get so mad that the quilt I had put so much work into had a crummy binding.

Then I remembered Miss Mary. For a few months before we moved, I was part of a sewing group that met Monday mornings and sewed baby blankets for the NICU (I was the youngest member of the group by a good 30 years). Miss Mary would sew on all the bindings. She used what I think is called a serpentine stitch. It looked great, was easy and, best of all, impossible to mess up.

This is what the stitch looks like. Look for a wavy dotted line on your machine - I only have 7 stitches on my old Bernina and I have it so you will too. :) I set my stitch width to 4 and length to 2.

I sew my binding onto the front as usual, fold the binding to the back and start the serpentine stitching. Keep the foot centered on the binding and it should stay centered on the front of the binding too.

I peek on the underside of the quilt from time to time to make sure everything is in order - the great thing is that it always is!

I take the corner like usual. There is always some sort of funny pattern at the corner, but I don't mind that at all.

This method isn't for everyone or for every quilt but it I love using it for baby quilts. It adds a fun decorative touch, plus I can move on to piecing my next quilt that much quicker! I finished my daughters puffy quilts and the Baby Tree quilt this way but the Big Tree Quilt will be finished by hand.


  1. Wow, love it! It's really cute - you're right, great for baby and kid quilts. I will definitely give this a try.

    And it occurred to me that this also might be a great stitch to use when quilting with my walking foot.

  2. I did the binding on my quilt Thursday afternoon and it DID take more time than I imagined it would. It's a large quilt, but still...! I did it in three steps--sew, fold & pin, edge stitch. Looks nice. My mom used the serpentine stitch on binding lots. I'm way impressed by all you've got planned to stitch!!!

  3. I'm going to have to try this next time, I'm just not loving the machine job I did on the last one and hand sewing has taken a back seat lately:)

  4. I personally am a fan of the hand binding...and thankfully, I don't mind doing it that much. BUT, I could definitely see how this would be a great option for those overly used quilts -- especially for kiddos that haul their blankies around everywhere they go! Thanks for the tute!

  5. Awesome! I'll be linking to this from my blog in a couple days. Already have the post scheduled! Thanks for the great idea!

  6. Such a great idea! I hate, hate trying to machine bind my quilts, they never turn out looking good. I will try thin on my next baby blanket... which is very soon!

  7. I'm new to quilting and love your site, so I signed up today! I think I would love this method for many of the smaller projects I do, like potholders and place mats. Thanks for the tutorial!
    ~ Lynda