Binding: to bias or not to bias?

K8OrlandoJuly 20, 2011

I'm about to do the binding on a large king bed sized quilt. I'm faced with the decision to purchase more fabric to make the binding or to sew together every bit and piece left over from the quilt and using that to do a multi-pieced binding.

If I purchase fabric I'll cut it on the bias, but that wasn't an option with the pieced binding.

What do you think? Is it worth it to buy more or is it better to use up what I've got? Is it that important to cut the binding on the bias? This isn't for a gift quilt so if it frays in 20 years I'll be able to make repairs (if I can still thread a needle then!).

One more question: If the quilt is 108"x108", how much yardage do I need to buy to do a bias binding? 1.5 yds? 2 yds?



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Kate, I think the question can only be answered by you. How important is it to you to use bias binding on this particular quilt? Would the quilt accept multi fabric binding and would you be happy with it?


Here is a link that might be useful: Chart for bias binding

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:35AM
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Kate, we have a king size quilt we've used as the bedspread for about five years now. It gets washed every 3 or 4 weeks when one of my darling cats throws up on it. Some of my machine quilting has come aloose, but the double-folded straight binding is still firmly attached! And it's not fraying or wearing that I can tell.

I also love a scrappy ties in with the quilt colors and uses up those left over pieces.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:45AM
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Sharon - thanks for the chart. A quilting friend here at work said it wouldn't take more than a yard and I guess she's right although it doesn't seem like enough!

Donna - ah yes, the joys and tribulations of cats and quilts. They root through the scraps, sleep on the fabric (especially the newly completed blocks), steal my bobbins, get cat hair on everything, then throw up on the finished quilts!

I guess I'll have to see what I think of the multi-pieced and if I don't like it then I can hit the shops on Saturday (or sneak out of work for a long lunch on Friday!).

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:01AM
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It is amazing how little fabric is required for bias binding.
My pesky job is getting in the way again-I won't be near a computer all day - but in short for me-
3/8" finished Bias French on anything worth all my work unless design & function dictate otherwise.
I think the binding is important - and like to choose fabric carefully - but than again I have a problem embracing total scrappy so that's why.
I cheat by machine stitching :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:21AM
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I usually make my own bindings and typically I made a very narrow one and that plays into whether it needs to be cut on the bias. I don't bother. I think the reason to cut on bias is the flexibility a bias cut offers.

If you are making sharp bends..........or need to cheat a bit by stretching the binding......bias helps. If you don't, I don't find it all that necessary. I often do curved corners on my quilts, instead of angles and they've sort of become my trademark and cutting the binding with the grain has never really impacted them all that much.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:11AM
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A timely question! I am nearing the finish of the sampler quilt for grandson and bride to be. And I have been thinking about the binding. When I visited them last Oct. I was dismayed to see that the binding on his log cabin quilt was totally frayed. He says the quilt is not washed that often so we can't blame it on that. But so disappointing! It was done on straight grain, so I am seriously thinking of using bias for this one. i want it to last more than 5 years.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:20AM
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As long as my edges are straight, I use a straight binding. Mine have all held up well, as far as I know. If the edges were curved or shaped, you would have to use a bias binding. I, too, love scrappy bindings and would use those up.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:36AM
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I use bias 99% of the time. It's stronger, and lasts longer, because the threads criss-cross over the fold, making it less likely to split. Of course, I don't make wall hangings or art quilts. I make baby, lap, and bed quilts.

But Kate - I never, ever do it using the tube method! That's way too much marking, and then a whole lot of scissors cutting.

I just rotary cut the strips, join them with chain stitching, and I find it faster, and easier on the hands. I'd be pressing the binding anyway, so hitting the individual seams with the iron is easy.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:14PM
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Thanks Mary. I've never used the rotary method either although I was curious about it. I just cut the bias strips and sew them together as you describe.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:38PM
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