I’m going to be frank: I have always truly disliked working with binding. It all started in the early ‘80s when everyone I knew had that cool homemade quilted wallet. (Unfortunately I couldn’t find a picture of one, for those of you who do not have that joyous memory.) Mine was a brown and orange prequilted fabric with orange binding. If the application of the binding had been any good, it may have been just fine. Yes, that means I did not do too hot of a job with it. It may have been a different story if I’d had access to the tools we have now. Wow, have things changed!
You can always purchase bias binding, but making your own gives you much more flexibility. First, cut your strips and then press the strips lengthwise, then in half, then tuck the raw edges into the center fold to encase them. Or, depending on the application, just leave it flat.
You have probably added binding to a garment or project using your sewing machine, but have you ever used a specialty binding foot? These special feet help hold the binding right where you need it while you concentrate on guiding the main fabric. The feet also help keep the stitches consistently located at the edge of your binding throughout your project.
There are three basic different styles of binding feet and attachments (though each style is not necessarily available for all machines).
Bias Binder Foot - This foot folds the fabric strip for you as you sew. It typically only works with 1” wide strips, giving you a finished 1/4” binding. It’s best used for thinner fabric applications such as adding bias to a neckline, hem, or sleeves. Not really the best choice for a thick quilt project, but it might be great for thinner quilts.
Adjustable Bias Binder Foot - On this foot, the channel that the pre-folded bias passes through is adjustable to accommodate different widths (from 1/4” to nearly 1” finished). This makes it great for applying binding to a quilt, adding an edge to a delicate fabric, or even applying foldover elastic or laces.
Quilt Binder Attachment - This attachment means business. If you want to get your quilts bound in no time, this is the answer! And it’s actually fairly easy to use. It firmly mounts onto the machine bed and does not flex like a foot does, so it constantly delivers yards and yards of bound edges without any variation in the stitching. The size of your fabric strip is fairly specific to the binder you are using. One thing to note: Because it attaches directly to the bed of your sewing machine, it is not available for all machines.
Treat yourself to a tool that is designed to help make your sewing experience more precise and enjoyable! Who knows, maybe you will whip up a quilted wallet that will be the envy of all your friends!