Make a Self-Binding for Your Quilt

By Cheryl Fall

Self-binding is a quick and easy way to bind small quilting projects. Also known as fold-over binding, a self-binding is made from excess backing fabric that’s trimmed to size and folded to the front side of the quilt to enclose the raw edges.

This binding is best only for small projects because it’s a straightedge binding and therefore doesn’t have the flexibility of a bias binding. In fact, self-binding tends to ripple the edges of the project slightly if used on long sides of a project. It’s fine to use on place mats and wall hangings, but don’t use it on anything larger than a baby quilt.

If you want to make your project self-binding, be sure to

  • Cut your backing fabric at least 3 inches larger than your project on all four sides.

    For example, if you have a 30- x 30-inch project, cut your backing 36 x 36 inches.

  • Center your quilt top on the backing fabric carefully before basting and quilting it.

  • Keep in mind that whatever you use as your backing fabric will be visible on the front of the quilt, so choose the backing accordingly.

Follow these steps to make your project self-binding:

  1. After quilting your project, trim excess batting from the edges of the quilt so that it doesn’t extend beyond the edges of the quilt top.

    Be very careful not to cut through the backing fabric.

  2. Trim the backing fabric so that the amount that extends beyond the edge of the quilt top measures two times the desired width of the binding.

    For example, if you want a 1/2-inch binding, trim the backing fabric to 1 inch (1/2 inch x 2 = 1) beyond the edges of the quilt top.

  3. Fold the backing fabric toward the front of the quilt just slightly less than 1/2 inch, and press, keeping the iron away from the batting (see the following figure).

  4. Fold the backing fabric over again 1/2 inch toward the front of the quilt, covering up the raw edge.

    Don’t press this fold or you may flatten the batting at the edges of your quilt.

  5. Stitch the self-binding in place on the quilt front by machine or by hand using the blind-stitch.

    A self-binding uses backing fabric to finish raw edges.
    A self-binding uses backing fabric to finish raw edges.