Bias or straight grain binding?

imraineyNovember 16, 2010

I was shocked some years ago to hear that no one does bias binding anymore unless it's for a quilt with curved edges. Is this true?

I've always done bias and in my head it's just the "right" way. But, as I'm binding a quilt today I'm thinking I'd be so frustrated trying to keep all the machine stitching securing the binding from the front hidden if I couldn't count on that bit of stretch when I need it.

If you do straight grain binding could you describe the process a bit. How do you piece the strips? Do you have straight seams or do you do diagonal ones to distribute the bulk of the seams? Does it change how your miters lie at the corners? Are you glad you switched? Never tried bias?

I'd like to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages.

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I always do my binding on the straight grain. Just because to me it's easier and uses less fabric! LOL I do use doubled binding, though. I cut strips 2" wide and piece them into one long strip, then press it in half.

I sew a diagonal have one piece of binding right side up and vertical, then lay the second piece right side down and horizontal on top of it, then sew a diagonal seam. That way the bulk of the seam is distributed across a wider area, instead of making a lump every time there is a seam.

I am about to use bias for the first time in ages because I rounded off the corners on a table runner.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 1:12PM
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I read on-line the other day that a bias binding will last longer than a straight grain. I'm like Donna and do straight because it's easier. And I've only done a few so I can't say one is better than another.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 1:29PM
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I've done both. If (and that's a huge if, LOL) I were making a wall hanging or art piece, I would go ahead and make straight grain binding. There's no stress on the binding on such a quilt. I often do straight grain binding for Quilts of Valor, too, because the recipients I've heard from mostly display the quilts rather than use them.

That said, most quilts I make are meant to be used on a bed, or dragged around by a toddler, and to be laundered.

Bias binding is much more durable, with an obvious reason. The fabric threads criss-cross over the folded edge, rather than run the length of the binding. If a thread in the fabric breaks, it's no big deal. If a straight grain binding wears, and threads begin to break, the binding splits along the fold.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:21PM
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I like straight grain mostly because I get less wavy edges. I like them flat and straight and the binding helps. But, mine are mostly wallhangings so "wear" doesn't affect me.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:43PM
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When you use the straight of the grain for your bindings, do you use the lengthwise or crosswise grain? I am still on the fence with the kids quilts - so I moved on to working on some other projects - to "experiment" a little. I plan to machine stitch, so is a double fold, bias - machine stitched to the front using a blanket stitch considered out of place? These are to be used and laundered often.

Imrainey - on the other thread, you got me thinking ~ after the seam, bias is no more time consuming......and if I had enough fabric - go bias~~now you are considering straight of grain :)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 3:11PM
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No. I'm not really considering straight grain. I've been doing it bias too long to change now. ;> I'd just like to know about the process.

mary, I had never considered the vulnerability of the fold on a straight grain binding. Reason enough to think twice and then a third time before "going straight". ;>

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 3:18PM
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I cut my straight binding on the cross grain. I have several lap quilts that have double fold binding and have been washed and used many, many times, and the binding still looks good. I have one quilt on the back of my sofa with single binding and it's wearing out, even though it only gets washed once in a while.

I think the fabric quality has a lot to do with it, too.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 3:49PM
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I do both, but primarily double bias (french fold) if it is for use. For itty bitty art quilt things, if I bind them (and I might just use one of the many bindingless techniques) I often to straight of the grain. Of course, if it is a wall hanging and I don't have a lot of fabric left, I'll do straight then too. :)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 4:31PM
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Do you think that using crosswise straight grain wears better than lengthwise?
I most often use straight grain binding and I guess I cut lengthwise but just recently I saw my grandson's log cabin and I was near tears. The entire binding had frayed. This has not happened to other quilts I have made so what could have happened??? He says it has not been washed that much in the 7 years he has had it. So disappointing!!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 4:54PM
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I always do bias, double-fold binding. It wears better and uses less fabric than straight cut. The reason I started making bias binding is after I had finished making my first queen sized quilt, I had less than 2/3 yd of fabric left. I had no hope of ever finding more because I had started the quilt 16 years before. I asked a friend if there was any way that I could bind my quilt with that small amount of fabric and she showed me how to make bias binding and I have never turned back. I still have a piece of that binding about 3 yrds long and may use it one day on a small project. I save all of my leftover binding and have actually pieced bits together to bind scrappy quilts.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:12PM
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