Apr 10

Easiest baby quilt – part 2

Cute and soft, all at once

In last week’s post, we made the quilt sandwich for this baby quilt and quilted it using free-motion quilting. Then we applied the backing afterward and basted it all together. In this week’s tutorial, we will create bias binding and apply it. Any quilt takes time, and this one is no exception, but if you aren’t familiar with cutting and piecing, it’s definitely nice and easy. And much faster!

Part 1 can be found here.


(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Baby quilt panel - BALSAY

Minky baby blue - CUEBAE

Quilters cotton

Rotar cutter, mat and quilting ruler

Quilt binding clips

You’ll need one quilt panel and 1 yard of minky. For the binding, I used 1 yard of quilter’s cotton. I ended up cutting it all into strips – way more than I needed for this project, but sometimes it’s nice to have bias strips on hand for quick piping, so I cut extra.

After assembling my strips, as shown below, I ended up using about 5-3/8 yards of binding.

You’ll need a rotary mat, rotary cutter and a quilting ruler for this project. I have also listed quilt binding clips, which look a lot like plain barrettes for your hair, but they are different. If you don’t have any, no worries. It’s not absolutely necessary. You could use pins if you really have to.

The process

Lay out your fabric

Click to enlarge. I have shown you where the selvages and cut edges are.

Square it off

Square off your cut edge so it’s nice and even, lining up your ruler with the fold.

Refold at 45 degrees

Fold your fabric so that the cut edge and selvage edge line up. Now the fold is at a 45 degree angle to the grain instead of parallel to it.

Make it ruler-length

I have folded each point over to make the fabric shorter than the ruler, for easier cutting. Make sure the folded edges all line up really nicely. Trim off the folded edge.

Cut 2-1/4" strips

Cut a bunch of 'em

Start cutting 2-1/2″ strips. I cut a bunch of them. For this quilt, you’ll just need enough to make 5-3/8 yards of binding. I just cut a bunch of bias strips for use later if I need them for some other project.

Fold one strip at 45 degrees

Cross them


Now you need to join your strips. Fold one strip at a 45 degree angle (left) and press a crease. Now cross them at right angles so that the pressed line stretches diagonally across the width of the bottom strip (center). I recommend you fold it back and make sure you have put them in the right direction (right) before you sew. Believe me, I’ve done some stupid things when making bias strips, like sewing them together so that when opened up they don’t make a straight line, or sewing them so the right sides of seams are facing different ways up and down the final strip. It’s easier to just double check before you sew and trim.

Sew along pressed line


Press open

Go ahead and sew along the pressed line (left). Then trim off all of the excess fabric (center) and press the seam open (right).

Press longwise in half

Press the strip in half lengthwise all the way down. Be gentle; this is bias cut, so it will stretch and distort if you push and pull hard.

Fold end at 45 degrees

Trim excess

Press back closed

This part will make sense in a few steps: Placing the folded edge toward you, fold the left end of the strip up at a 45 degree angle and press (left). Trim off the excess (center) and press back closed. That little corner sticking up at the top left — feel free to trim that off, too, if you’d like.

Start pinning

Sew at a 1/4"

Stop 1/4" from end

Starting with this fancy end, starting pinning the binding to the quilt top. Start on any side of the quilt, but start maybe halfway across that side (left). You’ll be lining up the doubled-up raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the quilt top. Remember, there is batting and quilt back fabric extending beyond this point. Your concern is with the quilt top only. Sew a quarter-inch seam (I used a quarter-inch foot for easy measuring). Stop about 1/4″ from the end (right, where the blue mark is).

Fold end up

and back down

Sew from top edge

As you prepare to start your next side, bring your binding straight up (left), then straight down (center). You’ve made a sort-of triangle of fabric folded up in there. Sew from the edge down, and repeat all the way around.

At the end ...

Tuck left into right

... for continuous edge

When you get to the side where you started, you’ll need to join your ends together, using that fancy edge we made from before. Just open up the “fancy end” and insert the end of the binding into it. It’s probably not the perfect length — you’ll have to trim the binding so that it overlaps by a few inches when you get to the end. Pin and sew the rest of this side.

Should look like this

trim off excess

Clip binding down

From the right side, it will look like this (left). Now, trim off the excess batting and quilt backing close to the seam. A little closer than I showed here is better (center). Press the binding away from the quilt. Flip over the quilt and fold the binding edge around, using binding clips to secure. The binding edge here is the fold of the binding, so it’s already finished for you, so all you have to do is tack it in place.

Hand sewing

Go all the way to end

Create mitered corner

Here’s the part I hate the most: hand finishing. It’s really difficult to finish by machine and not have it look just awful, so I just sew it by hand. Oh, I’ve tried alright. But it’s just too hard to stitch in the ditch from the front and evenly catch the binding on the back. There will be places you miss and places where it’s too far in from the edge. So I just gave up and always do it by hand for nicer results It’s worth it. Starting at one right side of an edge, I slip-stitch the binding to the backing, going from right to left (left). When I get to the end, I sew all the way to the edge (center). Then I fold the next side down and stitch to secure a mitered corner (right). Continue all the way around.

Other views

(Click for bigger views)