Christa’s Quilt Along 7.6 – Binding Modern Trees

We’ve now come to the end of Modern Trees, literally. Today I will show you how to bind using my favorite method – double fold binding. It’s the same method I use for all of my quilts because it’s easy to do and very sturdy.

Modern Trees

Modern Trees by Christa Watson 43″ x 50″

It took me a total of 2 hours to sew on the binding and 5 hours to stitch it down by hand. (If you would prefer a machine finish, see my machine-binding tutorial here.)

Step 1 – Trim and Square up Your Quilt (30 Minutes)

Starting in one of the corners, use a large square acrylic ruler and trim off the excess batting and backing so that it is flush with the quilt top.

Square UPUse a long ruler to square up the sides the same way. Try to keep your quilt as straight and flat as possible while you do this.

Square Sides

You can also lay out several rulers end to end to ensure you are cutting a parallel line the whole time. Discard your scraps, (or same them to use as stuffing for animal pillows).

Step 2 – Calculate and Cut Your Binding Strips (15 Minutes)

I like to measure the entire perimeter of my quilt and add 10″. That gives me a good estimate of how much binding length I need for my quilt. For example, my quilt measures approximately 44″ x 51″ after trimming, so I need a total length of 200″ of binding.

Using 40″ as a measurement of my strip length: 200/40 = 5 strips of binding to cut. I prefer to cut my binding strips at 2 1/4″ wide so that I end up with a nice narrow binding. However, you can cut yours wider so you have more that will fold over on the back. It’s really a personal preference.

Binding StripsBecause I had some long skinny chunks of fabric left over, I actually cut only 4 strips, parallel to the selvedge because they were longer than 40″. That works, too!

Step 3 – Sew Continuous Strips (15 minutes)

Sew each strip to the next one, right sides together at a 90 degree angle across the diagonal. Sewing mitered seams like this helps distribute the bulk. If needed, you can draw a straight line across the diagonal, or press one of the ends along the diagonal to form a sewing line.

Mitered CornerHint: when working with solids that do not have a right/wrong side, be sure to keep track of which side you are sewing on so the seams end up on the same side each time.

This is what it should look like on the front side (minus the fuzz):

Mitered SeamRepeat until you have one continuous strip. Trim all of the seams to 1/4 inch and cut off one end of the strip at a 45″ angle to start. Press the seams open to reduce bulk.


Hint: apply starch to  your continuous binding strip before pressing in half. The starch will act as a glue, holding the pieces closed so they can be applied to the quilt easier.

Press your binding in half with wrong sides together along the entire length.

Continuous BindingStep 4 – Attach Your Binding to the Quilt (1 Hour)

I always attach my binding to the front of the quilt whether finishing by hand or machine.

Hint: Before you begin, “walk” the binding around the edge of the quilt to make sure that none of the seams end up in the corner and that it is long enough.

Binding TestStarting at least 5″ – 6″ away from the end of the corner, leave an unsewn binding tail of about 6″ – 8″. Use a 50 weight cotton thread (like Aurifil) in a color to match your binding.

Optional extra step – on this quilt, I tried something different. Using Sharon Schamber’s glue tips and regular Elmer’s washable school glue, I glued the binding to the front of the quilt before I stitched it down.

Binding StartI just added a small bead of glue within the seam allowances to hold everything in place. I glued one length of binding, pressed it to set the glue, then stitched one side at a time all the way around the quilt. You could also pin in place before stitching also.

Sew BindingWhen you get to a corner, fold the binding up, even with the side of the quilt, then back down upon itself to create a tuck.

Binding UpBinding Down

This will form the miter on the front. Give it a quick press on the corner so that you have a noticeable stopping line when stitching.

CornerTime to stitch! I like to use 1/4″ seam allowance and again, match my sewing thread to my binding. Stitch all the way down one side (leaving that starting tail trailing off at the beginning). When you get 1/4″ away from the corner, stop, backstitch once or twice and sew off the side.

Check MiterPull the quilt off of the machine and check your miter on the front. If it looks good and even, continue around the rest of the quilt in the same way. GlueBefore stitching, glue down the next side of the quilt (if desired). When beginning the next line of stitching, grasp your threads so they don’t get caught on the bulk in the corner.

Next SideContinue sewing and gluing each side of the binding until you end up back at the beginning. Be sure to leave an ending tail of 6″ – 8″ to finish off with.  Trim off any excess binding tail, still leaving enough of an overlap to work with. Open up the end of the tail and gently place the beginning tail inside it.

Binding TailUsing the cut angled end as a guide, lightly mark a line right up next to it. Then cut 1/2″ away from this measurement.

Cut LinePut the two tail ends right side together, and sew with 1/4″ seam to complete the continuous loop of binding.

Pin Tail EndsCheck it against your quilt to make sure the binding will lie nice and flat. Glue the rest of the binding in place, press to set the glue, and finish machine stitching the binding to the front of the quilt.

Clover Wonder ClipsPin or clip your binding  to the back of the quilt (using 50-100 Clover Wonder Clips) and get ready to finish!

Step 5 – Finish Stitching by Hand (5 hours)

Put on a good movie and enjoy the relaxing process of hand work for a pretty finish. :-)

Using the same cotton thread you used to sew on the binding, thread your needle with about 18″ of thread. Wrap the thread around the needle 3 times and pull it to the end of you thread to create a quilter’s knot. You can double your thread for extra strength.

Hand StitchTuck the knot underneath the binding, then grab a bite of the backing of the quilt and then a bite of the binding to complete each stitch.

When you get to the corners, be sure to sew them closed. Take a few stitches on the back to close the miter. Push the needle through to the front, close the front of the miter, then push the needle to the back again.

Close the MitersWhen you are near the end of a length of thread, make a knot, then take a stitch through the backing and batting only, pop it through the backing and cut off the excess. Continue in this manner until you’ve sewn down the entire quilt.

Congratulate yourself on a great finish!

Modern Trees

Modern Trees by Christa Watson 43″ x 50″

Quilt Along Schedule: All links will be active when the post is published.Modern Trees

If you are quilting along with me, please be sure to share pictures of your progress on my Christa’s Quilt Along flickr group.

Grab my Quilt Along button and share the love!

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46 Responses to Christa’s Quilt Along 7.6 – Binding Modern Trees

  1. Christa – the quilting on this is nothing short of amazing!

  2. Pingback: Sew Cute Tuesday - Blossom Heart Quilts

  3. Oh Christa, I am in awe of that quilting!! I’m so bummed my machine packed up and threw my Christmas sewing schedule out. I really want to make this! Maybe next year.

  4. Jane says:

    OMG!!!! Gorgeous and love the details of your quilting, A-MAZ-ING is all I can say. Jane

  5. Lea says:

    What a beautiful quilt and I LOVE the quilting you did. Just gorgeous!

  6. Connie Campbell says:

    Beautiful quilt Christa and a wonderful tutorial with great photos! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  7. Ellie Q says:

    Love the pattern and the quilting on this! Beautiful!

  8. Beautiful Christmas Tree Quilt! I use glue when binding but usually when folding it to the backside to hold in place to either hand sew or machine sew. I will have to try gluing to the front side. Great tips and tutorial! I will have to remember your method when joining the binding. Though mine way also completes the binding with a bias seam your way might be easier. I will have to do a practice one. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Katelyn says:

    This quilt is truly spectacular! I love your quilting!

  10. Your quilting just looks awesome! I really the like puffed center in the fan FMQ.

  11. Margaret A says:

    Simply stunning, Christa! The colors are lovely and your FMQ is beautiful. I intended to sew and quilt along but time hasn’t been on my side. I love this project though and plan to make one before next Christmas ;) thanks for the inspiration!!

  12. Looks gorgeous! I wouldn’t have thought to try the glue for binding – great idea!

  13. Shannon says:

    Beautiful quilt! I’ve been following your QAL but probably won’t get mine done until the New Year. I love that you did a Christmas QAL. I also love your FMQ on it–especially the star at the top of the quilt. Nice touch!

  14. this quilt is so gorgeous, Christa! I absolutely LOVE the different FMQ designs throughout all of that negative space.

    Thank you so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!
    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  15. Katherine says:

    Gorgeous! Love the modern design and your quilting is a perfect compliment.

    Thanks for the binding tute!

  16. I love the quilting on the individual trees- it makes them pop! Gorgeous!

  17. Wonderful finish! (Now I want to make a Trees quilt!) I really love how you gave each tree its own decorative quilting, and I love textures quilted into the “snow” all over. Lovely.

  18. Aylin says:

    Love this wonderful quilt!

  19. the quilting is fantastic, this looks marvellous.

  20. Karen Schulz says:

    visiting you from Needle and Thread Thursday. This is amazing, I am stunned by the quilting you have done

  21. Your quilting, as always, is fabulous Christa :D

  22. Beautiful quilt Christa. Love it all – design, fabrics & quilting. Just perfect. :)

  23. Nesta says:

    Wow, your quilting is breathtaking! Thank you for the detailed binding tute, very clear.

  24. Jan says:

    Adorable Christa! I haven’t been able to follow along because my computer has been very sick! But I really love this quilt.
    xo jan@sewandsowfarm

  25. Jennifer @ Glinda Quilts says:

    Beautiful quilting, the whole quilt is delightful :)

  26. Joanna says:

    Your quilting is amazing. I love the star over the top tree; it’s perfect. Thank you for the qal. It was fun and I love my quilt.

  27. Leigh Anne says:

    It looks fantastic Christa and this was a great reminder to finally upload my photos to the Flickr stream!

  28. Barb in MI says:

    Fabulous quilt (and QAL)! Love everything about it! Your quilting is amazing!

  29. Hilary C says:

    The quilting is amazing! Thanks for the great pattern and QAL.

  30. charlotte m. says:

    Love how yours turned out. I may make another one, although not right away as I have many other projects. I loved this QAL and also loved seeing everyone else’s quilts. So many so different but all beautiful. Thanks Christa.

  31. Lori Smanski says:

    As always your FBQ is fabulous. I love how you did the different patterns. Thank you so much for the easy tutorial on binding. I have been struggling with this lately.

  32. I really love the way you quilted the white sections of the quilt!

  33. Stacy says:

    Oh my gosh Christa – the quilting is fabulous! The red binding finishes it off so nicely too.

  34. msminnesota says:

    I really like the finished look of this! Your tutorial/QAL makes it not seem so scary – I might even give it a try! :)

  35. lattegirl40 says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial and qal, I had a blast doing it!! Even though I chose the easy lay out and quilting, it turned out fantastic!!

  36. Duane says:

    Binding was one of the first techniques I learned when I first started quilting a few years ago. Watching your tutorial was great because I actually learned a new tip! The ironing down the corners for a visible stop line was something I hadn’t seen before. Love it. You never know what little tip you might learn so I watch most all the tutorials and scan lots of blogs. Thanks Christa!

  37. Renee says:

    love the quilting! It adds so much interest and texture to the quilt.

  38. Lis Ostiguy says:

    This is very helpful. Although I have been doing binding this way I learned some new tips to make it easier and more professional looking. Thanks

  39. Cal says:

    Awesome! Love the quilting on the white background. It ended up a modern, not fussy, classy clean looking quilt. Love i!

  40. craftysorcha says:

    What a wonderful quilt! I love the quilting detail on each tree.

  41. Kerri Hunter says:

    WOW Christa, This looks fantastic!!!!!
    I will make mine next year.

  42. Vicki says:

    Love the red binding and the quilting on this one!

  43. Ellie says:

    What beautiful stitching. Great job Christa.

  44. Josefina says:

    Your quilting looks great! Thank you for sharing.

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