Phew! What a long (and boring) post title! Well, this one is a long time coming, but I'm a list maker and desperately trying to cross things off! Ages ago, sweet Amy posted about bias binding and how to sew two strips together so that they are nicely aligned. Strangely enough, that same week I learned to cut a continuous bias binding strip so as to minimize the number of joining seams needed. So, I thought maybe I should make up a little post to share the technique with those who don't already know how to do this. This may be a bit confusing at first, but once you give it a shot, it will all become clear (famous last words, I know...)!
Step 1: Determine how much fabric you need for your binding strip. Measure the perimeter of your quilt and add 12". Divide this number by 42 (assuming about 42" of usable fabric on a 44/45" wide fabric) and round up to an even number. Then multiply this number by your strip width (including seam allowances). This final number is the length of the rectangle needed to make your continuous bias binding strip. Here's an example:
- Quilt measures 71" x 90"
- Perimeter = 71+90+71+90 = 322 and add 12" for a total of 334"
- 334/42 = 7.95 Round up to 8
- 8 x 2.5 (for 2.5" binding strip width) = 20
- You'll need 20" x 42" piece of fabric for the binding
Step 2: After cutting the rectangle to size, fold down one corner of the fabric to create a right triangle (A) and cut along fold.
Step 3: Sew A to B using a 1/4" seam allowance and press the seam open.
Step 4: On the wrong side of your fabric, mark cutting lines parallel to the bias edge that are the width of your binding strip (e.g., 2.5" in the above example).
Step 5: Cut 6" down the line at the "pointy" end of your fabric. Then fold the fabric into a tube (approximately in thirds) so that the * and all of your marked lines are aligned. Pin if needed, and then sew a 1/4" seam to create a long tube. Press seam open.
Step 6: Continue cutting the fabric along your marked line, which will now be a spiral running the complete length of your fabric. Be careful to only cut one thickness of fabric at a time. This will result in one long bias strip of fabric, with all of your seams perfectly aligned!
Sound ultra confusing? Try it out with a piece of paper for practice, and you should be able to make sense of it. Still confused? Send me an email and I'll try to help! This technique has already saved me some time and headache!