Whether enhancing an heirloom quilt or a newly completed one, binding a narrow edging to the outer perimeter of the piece will help protect the edges from regular wear and tear. When applying a narrow edging to the main quilt, extra batting will not have to be sandwiched in between the front and back binding, as the new edging will butt up right against the quilt edges. Corners can be either straight or mitered, and anything goes when choosing fabric for edging, including using leftover backing fabric or applying a fabric in contrasting patterns or colors.
Mitered Corner Edging
Lay a finished quilt flat on a table or the floor and smooth it out evenly without stretching the fabric. Measure all sides using a tape measure, then total all the measurements plus 12 inches.
Iron the fabric chosen for the edging, then fold the fabric in half, wrong sides matching. Square up the raw edges and selvages using a quilter's square, then trim the raw edges of the material evenly using sharp scissors or a rotary fabric cutter.
Measure and cut even strips of fabric 2 and 1/2 inches wide with the fabric grain. Lay two strips together, right sides facing and ends even, to form a right angle. Stitch the strips together on a 90-degree diagonal, trim each seam to 1/4 inch and press open, then trim any excess seam tails even with the strip's edges.
Continue adding strips in this manner until accumulating the needed length, then roll up the strip evenly to make it easier to handle. Secure the unused portion of the strip with a sewing pin across the width.
Fold the edging fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and iron. Pin the raw edges of the edging to the quilt edge, matching edges and beginning in the middle of one side.
Stitch a 1/2 inch seam along the raw edges of the pinned fabric, backstitching about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the first corner. Cut the thread and remove the quilt from the sewing machine.
Lay the quilt flat and fold up the edging over on itself at the first corner in a 45-degree angle, matching the outside fold exactly to the quilt corner.
Turn the edging back down over itself, matching the fold to the quilt edge and along the next side edge. Pin the corner fold to the quilt and continue stitching the seam, beginning at the backstitched area and carefully turning the corner. Repeat this process with the remaining three corners.
Finish the edging strip by smoothing the fabric evenly, pinning the fabric with the right sides together and stitching a 1/2 inch seam to join both ends of the strip. Trim the excess about 1/4 inch from the stitching, then stitch the completed edging to the quilt front, backstitching to lock the seam.
Fold the edging over the back of the quilt, making sure the corners are fully turned and squared, then pin it to the quilt backing. Insert an extra pin on the diagonal seam at each corner to hold them firm.
Hand stitch the edging to the quilt backing, making tiny invisible stitches along each mitered corner. Iron the finished quilt.
Squared Corner Edging
Lay the quilt flat and smooth on a work surface or the floor and measure every edge. Add 3 inches to every edge measurement.
Iron the edging material, then cut four strips of edging fabric to the proper length, each 2 and 1/2 inches wide.
Fold the strips evenly in half lengthwise, right sides out, and iron them before matching and pinning the raw edges to the quilt edge, leaving a 1 and 1/2 inch overhang at each corner.
Fold the 1 and 1/2 inch overhangs evenly under themselves at either corner, then stitch the top edging to the quilt using a 1/2 inch seam. Backstitch at each corner to lock the stitching.
Pin the long side strips to the quilt top, right sides together, and fold in the overhangs even with the quilt edge before stitching the edging to the quilt.
Fold the edging over the quilt backing, pin it and hand stitch the edging to the quilt back, tucking in the ends as described in Step 4, beginning with the horizontal sides. Iron the finished quilt.
Tips & Warnings
- Use invisible sewing thread in the sewing machine and hand needle to best hide stitches.
- Do not pull on the edging material to make it fit; it will cause puckers in the quilt edges.
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