What's on the Design Wall

Slogging through the binding…oh wait, I am finally finished!

Before I get to the update on my quilt, Happy Ending, I wanted to recommend a blog if you are an antique sewing machine aficionado: Vintage Sewing Machines

Elena, a couture tailor, shares photos and stories about her incredible vintage sewing machine collection; and a lot of educational information about the workings of sewing machines. Reading her blog I have gained a huge appreciation for the beauty and mystery of vintage sewing machines!

This post is a follow up to a quilt discussed in my What’s on the Design Wall series of posts, Happy Ending.

In my post A Happy Ending for “Happy Ending”, I shared that I received my Happy Ending quilt in the mail from the long-arm quilter, Cindy Anderson, of A Quilter’s Corner with Cindy Anderson (inastitchquilting.com), and it was time to put on the binding and finish up the quilt.

Slogging through the binding

How do you feel about binding a quilt? I am torn. On one hand, it is exciting because the quilt is nearly done; and I enjoy snuggling under the quilt as I sew down the binding. On the other hand, I find it tedious and irritating and want it to be quickly done.

My desire to have my binding quickly done was evidenced in my early quilts which had sloppily sewn binding. If these quilts were still in my possession, over the years I have either replaced the binding completely or unstitched the hand sewing on the binding and restitched the bindings.

It seems like there are so many steps to binding a quilt:

  • Creating the binding
  • Sewing the binding strips to the quilt
  • Selecting the thread to hand stitch the binding down
  • Stitching the binding down

After stitching enough 2.5 ” strips together to encompass the entire perimeter of the quilt, it all begins with sewing down the binding:


Here is the quilt with the binding sewn onto it, waiting to be hand stitched down (now comes the opportunity for major procrastination to set in):


The thread I selected for hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt (I usually select a lighter thread that will blend):


Finally the hand stitching is done and the quilt is complete:


It’s done, it’s finally done! (The Reveal)

Terry the Quilting Husband holding up the quilt for its quick photo shoot:


I want to put it on the bed, but our miniature schnauzer Mike thinks there are “snakes in the bed” and has to scratch and spin before laying down. So for now I will keep it on the back of the sofa and put it on the bed on special occasions:


Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer‘s blog Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings.

45 thoughts on “Slogging through the binding…oh wait, I am finally finished!”

  1. What a wonderful gift to yourselves! Interesting minimal piecing, absolutely perfectly designed quilting, and the just-right accent binding!

    I guess I don’t have much more opinion on binding than I do on other parts of making a quilt. It’s just part of what needs to be done! I still finish “special” quilts with hand-stitching (as I would do yours,) but for probably more than half of my quilts now, I finish them by machine. Sometimes it looks great, other times meh… But it’s good enough to keep doing it that way.

    Today I’m working on quilting my red and white Delectable Mountains. More than half done now. There was a brief interruption to do some machine maintenance, apparently sorely needed as it is running much better now. So I’m hopeful of finishing the quilting …. let’s say, tomorrow. 🙂

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    1. I tried machine finishing a binding once and it was definitely a “meh”, I think it is a skill you have to work at for awhile. Looking forward to seeing your quilting on your piece!

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      1. I did finish quilting it a few minutes ago! I used a pantograph this time, only the 2nd time I’ve ever done that. It was the right thing here, lots of curves to offset all the jagged edges. I like the texture. Pix in a few days. 🙂

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  2. I like binding myself. Your finished product is just really beautiful! It makes me want to make a quilt for our bed, but first we must raise our 11 week old terrier into a well-mannered bed mate! He might be like Mike, or perhaps a chewier version?

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    1. Ha! Yes when we first adopted Mike from rescue he chewed on the end of an old flannel quilt and I was terrified (and also upset). it was like he saw how upset I was and never did it again. He just snuggles in quilts except for the bed, he always has to “check for snakes” lol (or whatever he is doing spinning and scratching before he lays down!) I bet your pup is adorable – terriers rock! 🙂


    1. Thanks Claire, I see you relate to my dilemma! I get so much pleasure though out of sewing down the last couple of inches of binding – I feel like I can hear an angelic choir in the background – ha! 🙂

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  3. Beautiful quilt and your binding looks great. I do not mind attaching the binding but I think it is because I machine stitch. I was lucky to get some old family quilts that were completely hand sewn and the only damaged part was the binding. I have slowly replaced the binding (by hand) on most. Thanks for the link to Vintage Sewing Machines. I have a few to include my mother’s old treadle machine that I sewed my maternity clothes on in 1968. 🙂

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  4. Congratulations Tierney! on finishing your Happy Ending. It is a gorgeous quilt. Awesome fabric choice for the binding. I machine quilt both binding sides, it was tricky at first but I found my groove and it goes faster 🙂
    PS: Mike is silly. I can picture him scratching. My cats think a new quilt is something they need to “build a nest” in by pawing up fabric :p

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  5. Beautiful quilt! Yes, I have several procrastination items that need to be tacked down and can find a million excuses for doing something else! Thanks for the link on Vintage Sewing Machines, a very fun blog to read!

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  6. I’ve made a few quilts and have never learned to do the binding. I use the fold over, hand-stitch method; bindings seem so hard to do. Your binding is beautiful. I have a very old treadle Singer and it might be fun to have it restored for use. Thanks for the interesting vintage machine link.

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    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your experiences with your quilt finishing process. If you ever want to do more formal traditional binding there are many awesome videos on YouTube. Hope you enjoy the vintage machine blog, I have learned so much!


  7. Lovely quilt! Personally, I hate binding! I am not very experienced and it always seems a chore. It’s a bit like knitting – like the knitting but dislike the sewing up. I must try and focus more on the end results!

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    1. I like knitting but am in terror of finishing off a piece, I always have to watch a YouTube video on how to cast off (or whatever it is called). Thanks for commenting and for reading 🙂


  8. This is a beautiful quilt! I enjoyed reading your post. I’m grateful to know that someone else has a love/hate relationship with quilt binding. The quilting is really nice – did you do it yourself?

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