I love the look of a nicely bound quilt! It's such a great way to use a really fun fabric. It is also a great way to use an accent color or, in the case of my pattern, to bring in some color or pattern to an object that is mostly neutral or solid.
First, I would like to talk about the width of your binding. Most quilt bindings are cut at 2 1/2" x WOF (width of fabric). This is perfect for quilts but for smaller objects, such as my pattern or my sewing kit, I prefer a more narrow binding. This is truly a personal preference though. If you are new to quilting or sewing, or if this is your first time binding something, you may want to use the 2 1/2" binding.
Having said that, for this tutorial, I have cut my binding at 2 1/4" x WOF. You will need to cut 2 strips. You will have some left over but one strip would not be enough. I have a pile of my left over bindings and they are great to use when you need just a little strip or you want to make a scrappy binding.
Two strips of fabric for binding measuring 2 1/4" x WOF
Your game board quilt sandwich (or whatever you are going to bind)
hand sewing needle
thread (I prefer cotton)
clover wonder clips or binding clips (you can also use pins)
After you have your binding cut we need to join the two strips. It is best to do this on the bias. It spreads out the bulk of the seam allowance so that you don't have a bumpy binding.
Lay your two strips right sides together and at a right angle to each other. You don't need to draw a line but it will make it easier to sew. You are going to sew from one corner to the other as you can see in the picture below. Pin your strips and then sew along the line.
After you have sewn along the line, trim the seam allowance to 1/4" from the stitches.
Now press your seam allowances open. Then press the entire length of the binding in half, wrong sides together. Make sure you line up the cut edges as neatly as possible.
We are now going to start attaching the binding to the "right" side our quilt sandwich. There really is no "right" side for our project, just choose which side you want to be up. You are going to want to start sewing about 6" from the end of your binding and at least 6" from one of the corners of your quilt. This is so that there is enough excess binding and space to join your binding strips at the end.
Make sure to backstitch each time you begin sewing and each time you come to the corner and I tell you to stop. You are going to line up the cut edge of your binding strip with the cut edge of your quilt sandwich. Sew the binding on with a 1/4" seam allowance. Stop sewing 1/4" from the corner and make sure to backstitch. Cut your threads and remove the quilt from under your presser foot.
We will now fold the binding at a 90 degree angle so that it is running even with the next side that you are going to bind.
Then fold the binding down so that the fold is even with the side you have already sewn and the edge is lined up and ready to sew.
Now start sewing again making sure that you backstitch to secure your stitches. Sew down the length of your next side and then repeat this process with your 3 remaining corners.
After finishing your last corner stop sewing 1" from the corner and backstitch. Now we need to join the binding together.
Make sure you have at least 3-4" of binding that is unsewn on each side. At that spot fold each of the binding pieces back so that they meet and press these folds well.
Make sure that you press these folds enough because the fold marks will show you where to sew.
Now open up the two sides of the binding and place them right sides together making sure you don't twist either strip. Line up the binding strips on the two fold lines. Place your pins inside the fold lines.
Now sew right on the line made by the fold. This will join the two pieces of binding. Make sure that the binding fits along the side of the quilt sandwich. If everything fits well, trim off of the excess binding 1/4" from the stitch line. Press the seam allowance open. Now press the binding back in it's folded position and line it up along the last side of your quilt sandwich.
Finish sewing the last section of the binding down. You should now have the binding sewn down all along the right side of your quilt sandwich.
We are now going to hand sew the binding onto the "back" side of our game board or quilt sandwich.
Flip your quilt sandwich over so that the back is face up. Start along one of the long sides and pull the binding around to the back side. We want to make sure the folded edge of the binding just covers the stitches made by attaching the binding to the front. You will need to hold the binding in place as you sew. I LOVE the clover wonder clips but you could also use binding clips or pins.
I prefer to use a ladder stitch to tack my binding down. The stitches are completely invisible. You can also use a whip stitch. Just make sure that whatever stitch you choose that you make your stitches rather small. Your stitches should be about 1/8" - 1/4" apart.
Knot your thread and then start sewing your binding down making sure that your knot is hidden underneath or in your seam allowance.
Above is a picture of how the ladder stitch works. Note that I place each subsequent stitch in the fabric directly across from where the previous stitch emerged.
When you get to a corner you are going to fold your corner into a miter. I use my thumb nail to make that fold as neat as possible. First, pull one side taught making sure to keep the fold of the binding just over the stitches so that they wont be visible when you are finished.
Then fold the other side down as neatly as possible. This is where folding it over your thumb nail will come in handy. I use a wonder clip to hold the miter fold in place.
Now we will tack the corner down.
I push the needle up through the quilt sandwich and both pieces of binding.
Then go back down through the binding and come out of the quilt sandwich just next to the fold in the binding.
Continue sewing the binding down until you go all the way around.
That's it!!! Your game board is finished! Go play some tic tac toe with your kids and enjoy!