Binding, Part 3: Hand-Stitching Mitered Corners
To begin, I fold over the folded edge of the binding and begin stitching on the back. Sometimes I line up my folded edge with the machine stitch line, which gives me a ½” finished binding, or sometimes I pull my folded binding edge tight over the quilt edge inside, giving me a clean ¼” finished binding from the front.
In this example, I am using the machine stitch line. Happily I hide my knot, and take a stitch, and another, and another… I’m coming to a corner that I want to miter.
1. Fold the binding over and stitch it all the way to the raw edge of the quilt back. Then I take a few stitches back towards my machine stitch line, where I’ve already stitched.
This is how it looks from the front.
Then, fold the corner of the binding for the next side (currently a perpendicular binding edge) down to meet the side I’ve already stitched.
3. Take a stitch right in that corner, tacking it to the already stitched binding, then take another stitch to anchor it and hold it snug.
5. Continue stitching down the new side, folding the binding over to your machine stitch edge until you're done.
Your binding is clean, and your mitered corners have a crisp 45 degree angle.
My quilt is finished, adding a touch of elegance to my world.
I used to stitch my bindings completely by machine. I was in a hurry to finish and move onto the next quilt. My daughter pointed out, and I agreed, that they looked better doing the final finishing by hand. So I began doing them by hand, but didn’t enjoy it. It was a chore, a pain, and I dreaded it. But not anymore.
Something changed in me, and I truly love stitching by hand, one stitch at a time. A quilt has so much time and creative love stitched into it, whether created by hand or machine, that it deserves to finish as well as it started. For me, it is worth taking the time to finish it by hand, and the process itself soothes me. It is my last creative act with the quilt: a prayer.