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Flanged Binding Tutorial

Posted on: January 20th, 2015 by Lorna McMahon

A wonderful method for starting out, and getting some experience with machine finished binding, is a Flanged Binding, also known as a faux flanged binding or piping.  This Flowering Table Runner was finished with a flanged binding.

After practicing the flanged binding method on many, many quilts, my confidence grew with experience.  This experience enable me to acquire some helpful hints to make this method more successful.  And I then moved on, eager to attempt machine sewn binding without the extra step of sewing two narrow strips together to make the binding strip.  But I still like to use the flanged binding method when a project calls for a little extra zing!

This technique uses two narrow complimentary fabric strips to make the binding strip.  This method adds a little punch of colour and frames your quilt in style.  The flanged binding method is accomplished by sewing from the front of the quilt, ditch quilting on top of the binding, along the seam where the two strips meet.  This will result in a seam line, next to the binding, on the reverse side of the quilt.  It does require an extra step in making the binding because you have to sew the two narrow strips together along the length of the binding strips.

First up:  Measure the perimeter of your quilting project.  My runner was 12″ x 58″.

12 + 12 + 58 + 58 =  140″
140″ divided by 42″ (the standard width of fabric) = 3.33 strips  rounded up = 4 strips
So I needed 4 width of fabric strips, cut on the crossgrain, to make enough binding for this runner.

For an explanation of what crossgrain is, please click here.

Cut your strips of the MAIN binding fabric (flowered) at 1.50″ wide.  Cut your FLANGE strips (yellow) at 1.75″ wide.  Sew the strips of each fabric together end to end using a mitered join.  Trim the corners.  And press the seams open.

I neglected to take photos of the Flowering Table Runner binding strips being joined.  So these first four pictures show another example using black and grey strips.
Cut your strips of the MAIN binding fabric (grey) at 1.50″ wide.  Cut your FLANGE strips (black) at 1.75″ wide.

Sew the strips of each fabric together end to end using a mitered join.

Trim the corners.

And press the seams open.

Now back to the Flowering Table Runner binding examples for the remainder of the tutorial.

After you have joined, trimmed and pressed the strips for each fabric, with right sides together, sew the strips together along the length using a 1/4″ seam.

 Press the seam to the MAIN fabric.  View from the right side.

 View from the wrong side.

Then press with wrong sides together along the length matching the raw edges.

I always wind my finished binding around a piece of card stock to keep it flat and neat.

When your quilt has been quilted and you are ready to use your binding, trim the batting and backing of the quilt even with your quilt top.

Before starting to sew my binding in place, for a small project like this runner, I like to lay my binding around the perimeter of the quilt to ensure none of the joins will end up at a corner on the quilt.  For larger projects I use a scrap of paper to draw out the length of the sides and deduce just where I need to begin binding to avoid a join at the corners.

In this example, the quilt is 40″ wide and 60″ long.  Shown on the outside, the numbers between the black lines add up to 42″, which is the length of the binding between the joins.  Shown on the inside of the quilt, the numbers along each side of the quilt add up to the length of that side of the quilt.

Leaving a 10″ tail, apply the binding to the BACK of the quilt with the FLANGE fabric facing up.  Keep the raw edges of the binding even with the raw edge of your backing and use a 1/4″ seam.  Backstitch at the beginning of the seam, then continue.

Sew the binding all the way around the quilt until you are about 12″ away from where you started.  Backstitch and stop sewing.  Remove the quilt from your machine.

Lay your starting tail out flat along the edge of your quilt.  The tail ends at the 8″ mark on the ruler.

 Fold your ending tail down across the starting tail and overlap by the width of the binding.  This would be 2.5″.  However I cut my tail a little shorter to ensure that binding is taut and there is no sag or ruffle.

Open your tails as shown.  Mark a diagonal line on your starting tail, 2.5″ in from the corner on the bottom, up to the corner at the top.

Overlap your tail ends to make a miter join.  Take care to use a pin to match where the seam lines on the two tails will meet along the diagonal.

When making your final joining seam, it can be a bit tricky to get the seam to match.  Notice the pin is helping to line up the two seams on the tails.

Sew along the diagonal line being careful to have your needle land in the hole made where the pin is matching the two seam lines.

Open up your seam to have a look before cutting your tails.  If your seams don’t line up well, remove the stitching and try again.  I made two attempts before being satisfied with this join.  Trim the seam and press the seam open and as you did when joining the strips to make your binding.  Then place the quilt back on the machine to finish attaching your binding.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of your final seam.

Now take your finished quilt over to the ironing board and give the binding a good pressing.  Press the binding out away from the back of your quilt towards the front.

Flip the quilt over to the front and, with long thread tails, begin sewing the binding to the front of the quilt.  Setting my stitch length to 3.0, I use a slightly larger stitch length for this, as I do for quilting.  Stitch in the ditch between the flange and the main fabric.  If you have a stitch in the ditch foot for your machine, this would be a great time to use it.

When nearing your first corner, fold the bottom edge of your binding up and pin in place.

Then fold the side you are working on down over the corner to make a nice mitered corner and pin or hold in place.  Continue to sew your binding all the way around the quilt, mitering the corners as you go.  When you reach your beginning, try to land in the same stitch hole you started in.  Raise the needle and remove your quilt from the machine, leaving long thread tails.

Pull your top thread tails to the back of the quilt and tie them securely in a knot.

Using a standard hand sewing needle, bury the thread tails, pulling the knot into the batting and trim the tails.

The Flanged Binding method does result in a seam line on the back of your quilt, within about .25″ of the binding.

Tips for using the Flanged Binding method:

  • Notice the large gap at the corners on the binding?  Hand sew these gaps closed using a ladder stitch and bury the knots.
  • When your quilt has been quilted and you are ready to use your binding, trim the batting and backing of the quilt about 1/8″ larger than the quilt top.  This will result in the binding covering less of your quilt front.  If you don’t add a border, the binding will likely cut off your points in your quilt blocks.
  • If you don’t like the look of the wide binding on the front, and would like the seam line on the back of the quilt to be closer to the binding, use slightly narrower binding strips.  Cut your main fabric and your flange fabric strips an eighth of an inch narrower.

Keep On Quilting On!
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44 Responses

  1. Lara B. says:

    Excellent Tutorial Lorna! Thanks for taking the mystery out of creating flanged binding – love the tips you offer at the end too! It looks really nice – better than my plain old machine sewn bindings!

  2. Karen says:

    Oh, wow, what a great way to finish a quilt–and no hand sewing. Hurray! Superb tutorial. Will definitely try it. Thank you.

  3. Great tutorial! The flange can give an extra pop of interest to frame out a quilt, and your photos are nice and crisp.

  4. Thank you Lorna! Great tutorial and the binding is so beautiful! x Teje

  5. Glinda ♥ says:

    Fabby tutorial, you make it look so easy – thank you. Love your work 🙂

  6. Preeti says:

    Terrific tutorial. Pictures are crystal clear. And your quilt – well what can I say I am already aching for spring and your quilt just about screams it. Love it!!!

  7. oh wow I love this-thank you for all the photos and tutorial

  8. Dee says:

    Pinning this right now to Pinterest! Thank you!

  9. Jasmine says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I will have to try it sometime. One thing I do differently when making calculations is add 15 inches to the perimeter of the quilt. That helps cover the extra fabric for the corners and where the ends meet. Most of the time the extra is covered by rounding the number of strips up, but sometimes it can be too close and you end up a couple inches short. 🙂

  10. I like this look a lot – thanks for sharing.

  11. Ruth says:

    Thanks for this tutorial Lorna, definitley going to try it on a small item, gives a great finish and very well explained.

  12. Karen says:

    I have been using this method for all my quilts in the last year or two. The tutorial is great. I was just sharing this method with friends at a retreat, so now I can direct them to your tutorial.

  13. Ioleen says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, will give it a try on my next small project and go from there.

  14. This is really neat! I'm going to save the tutorial and give it a try on a mini 🙂

  15. Samantha says:

    Thank you for sharing- I might give this a try when I finally make my family the placemats I've been promising them.

  16. Thanks Lori I haven't tried flange binding yet but now seeing your tutorial on how to do it I think I will give it a going on a table runner first.

  17. pasqueflower says:

    Genius! I definitely need to try this! Love the look.

  18. Thanks for this great tutorial – I hope to give it a try in the near future 🙂

  19. Love this! I have always wondered how this was done. Saving for another time.

  20. Vickie says:

    This is a VERY good tutorial Lorna. I've never made a flanged binding, so I must try it one day ! Thanks

  21. Cassandra says:

    I really like this technique! I have done something that looks similar in the end, but I really like the method you use. I will be coming back to this tutorial to give this a try!

  22. Julie Cefalu says:

    You've made this technique SO easy to follow, Lorna! Thank you for the excellent instructions. And I'm really looking forward to the Elephant Parade series!

  23. I seriously never was aware of this… I am so glad you have brought this to my attention! I don't know if I would do it for a large quilt; however I do agree that it is perfect for smaller projects just like your table runner! It really does add the extra pop! I love it and great tutorial!

  24. Vera says:

    I have never tried this. Looks great. Thank you for sharing!

  25. Cheryl says:

    Great tutorial, you pictures as always so so clear and illustrative, I am going to have to try this technique for my next quilt!

  26. This is how I normally machine bind my quilts. Adding that extra fabric for the flange is such a great idea. Can't wait to try it on a project. Nice, clear tutorial.

  27. Have never tried this, Lorna. Thanks for sharing. Pinning

  28. Stephie says:

    Fabulous tutorial Lorna, really well explained 🙂

  29. Unknown says:

    wonderful tutorial, thank you

  30. KaHolly says:

    This is a well written and easy to follow tutorial! I can't wait to try it. Thank you for all the time and effort you put in to sharing your skill and genius. You are appreciated.

  31. Such an excellent tutorial! Can't wait to try it! Thank you for sharing! =)

  32. Paige says:

    Great tutorial, will have to try this method. Thanks!

  33. Unknown says:

    Guess what I made today using your flanged binding tut. It's a hot pad, making a set for my sister's birthday. Your tut is very clear and to the point. Thanks!I wanted to add a pic but didn't know how

  34. Lisa J. says:

    This is a really great tutorial Lorna.

  35. Thanks a million, Lorna. Best tutorial for this type of binding. I shared it on facebook.

  36. Ruth says:

    Thank you! Clear and easy to follow tutorial and a great technique..this will be my go to binding.

  37. Liz says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, I am going to give this a try. Looks very pretty and all done by machine.

  38. Roch167 says:

    your finished bindings look so neat, I end up doing them by hand because my machine method does not look as nice yours does. Hopefully using your method mine will soon look as nice as yours.thank you so much.

  39. amayo says:

    Loved this tutorial! I was looking for a easy and nice looking way to add a little ummmf to smaller quilts. Can't wait to try. I may even try 1/8\” cording!Thank you

  40. Karen Ackva says:

    Thank you Lorna for this very nice and comprehensive tutorial on how to make a fake flange binding and how to appy. I really enjoyed it. Thank you again! Karen

  41. Nini says:

    Can't wait to give it a try!

  42. Linda H says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial and pics. I am ready to try my first flange binding–now what will I do while watching TV?

  43. Unknown says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, it's just that little extra that makes a quilt sparkle!