Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mauby's Binding Series. Part Four: Cross Grain or Straight Grain Binding

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Cross Grain or Straight Grain Binding

While I prefer binding quilts with bias strips, you can also bind quilts with using cross grain or straight grain strips.  And when I am in a pinch (non-bias binding takes up a LOT less fabric) or a rush, or feeling lazy (that's when I grab some jelly roll strips which can be perfect for binding) then I go ahead and bind with cross grain or straight grain strips.

Cross grain typically runs perpendicular to the selvage.
Straight grain typically runs parallel to the selvage.

Before you begin, you should know there are two reasons to bind with bias strips:

The first reason is because bias goes around curves nicely, so if you are binding a curved or scallop edged quilt you should use bias binding. 

The second reason is because the edge of bias binding has more threads and thus is supposed stay attached better and hold up longer then cross grain or straight grain binding.  

I have quilts that were made by others with the binding done this way and I have quilts that I have bound this way. They can look just as nice as a bias bound quilt and if you know how to do it can last just as long! :) 

Here's how:

1.  Begin by cutting down 2 binding strips to be about 1" longer than the length of the shorter sides (parallel sides) of the quilt. 

2. Fold strips in half lengthwise and press wrong sides together.

3.  Stitch the binding to the sides with 1/4" seam allowance. 

4. NEXT, this is the step that will make your cross grain or straight grain binding stronger, do a zig-zag stitch along the very edge of the binding attaching to the quilt again.

5.  Trim down the overages so that the short edges of the binding are the same length as the quilt. 

6.  Press the binding seam open and wrap the binding around the back of the quilt.  Hand stitch or machine stitch binding to the quilt.  

7.  Cut two more binding strips so that they are over hang the edge of the quilt by about 1" on both sides.  

8.  Attach to remaining two sides of quilt using steps you used to attach first two sides of binding, skipping the trimming (step 5).

9.  After pressing the binding open, fold in the excess and press.  Then wrap the binding around the back of the quilt, keeping the excess sides tucked around the sides of the quilt and in between binding.  

10.  To finish, hand stitch or machine stitch as desired. 

Tada!  Come back next week for some tips on machine stitching your binding (My least favorite way to attach quilt binding by the way.  But, it can be done eloquently and conveniently).

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