Bindings and Prairie Points

Once a quilt top has been quilted, the raw edges need to be finished. This task can be accomplished in several ways. The end result is the same: to have edges that are securely sewn down to add durability and aesthetic appeal to the quilt. Binding and prairie points are two techniques to finish a quilt edge.scallop

Binding Tips

The simplest way to finish a quilt edge is to bring the backing to the front of the quilt. It is not a durable finishing technique, and it is best used when binding a quilt that won’t be used much or laundered a lot. If using a printed mitermatching fabric for the backing, bringing it to the front will compliment the quilt top colors. In order to do so, when the quilt sandwich has been quilted all the way to the edge, the batting needs to be trimmed even with the quilt top with scissors. Then, the backing fabric also needs to be trimmed to extend one inch beyond the quilt top and batting. Fold and press the backing fabric that extends beyond the sandwich in half, so that it measures half an inch and the raw edge is flush against the edge of the quilt. Fold the backing over the front (there should be one-quarter inch showing) and pin it a few inches. Start sewing down with an invisible stitch, or stitch down by machine close to the edge until you get within a few inches from the first corner. When you get to the corner, miter the binding by folding down a triangle of backing fabric that measures one inch, then fold again to line up the raw edges with the edge of the quilt on the second side. Pin in place and continue bringing the back to the front (folding and pinning) just like you did on the first side. When the whole quilt is bound, as you reach the end, fold under a quarter inch of fabric to overlap the point where you started sewing.

For a more durable finish, bind the quilt with a separate constructed binding. Binding can be single fold or double fold, and it can be cut in bias strips or cross grain strips. Double fold is more durable than single and bias is more durable than cross-grain strip binding. Bias binding needs to be used when finishing edges of a quilt that are not binding clipsstraight, like when binding scalloped edge quilts or quilts with rounded corners. Whichever method and binding type you use, the preparation and stitching down is pretty much the same. Sew together enough strips of your chosen fabric to add to the number of inches of the perimeter of your quilt, plus an extra two or so feet, to allow for mitering the corners. The width of strips depends on how wide the binding needs. For double fold bias tape, decide how wide you want your binding to be, then multiply that number by four and add half an inch. For instance, if you want your binding to be half inch wide on the front, cut the binding two inches and a half. Join the strips, fold in half with wrong sides together and press. Start stitching eight to twelve inches away from a corner, leaving a binding “tail” about six or eight inches long. Pin in place by placing the raw edges of the binding even with the raw edges of the quilt on the front side of the quilt. Machine stitch one quarter inch away from the raw edge, stopping one quarter inch from the corner, to miter the it. Once the corner has been mitered, continue stitching down the second side in the same way. Repeat on all sides and when bound all the way around, bring the binding to the back. Stitch down by hand with an invisible stitch, and stitch the mitered corners down the same way. To hold the binding in place when stitching, hair clips can be used instead of pins.

Single fold bias binding is applied in the same manner. The lengths of bias-cut fabric strips need to be joined together, so that there will be enough bias tape to stitch all around the quilt edges.bias maker
To make single fold binding, the easiest way is to buy a bias maker, a small sewing notion that folds the bias tape by bringing the raw edges to the center of the binding, so that it can be pressed easily. Bias makers are available to make tape of different widths. Refer to the instructions enclosed with your tape maker to cut the appropriate width of fabric strips.
Once the bias tape is made, unfold and stitch down by pinning to the front of the quilt (the tape needs to be opened and raw edges need to be aligned). Machine sew the binding on the pressing line, stopping a quarter inch away from the corners, mitering as with double fold binding and neatly folding down the raw edge when coming to the point where the binding was started.

Prairie Points

Prairie points are a decorative way to finish a quilt edge. They need to be sewn to the front of the quilt before it is quilted all the way down to the edge. Leave about two inches of unquilted space in order to be able to place the prairie pointprairie points in place and after, quilt that space.
To make prairie points, decide how large you want them to be. The side should harmonize with the size of the quilt. Prairie points are made from squares that can be folded in two ways. The first way is to fold the square into a rectangle, then folding the edges to the center, to create a triangle with the open folds at the center. Press them down to hold the folds in place. They can also be made by folding the square into a triangle, then folding the triangle again along the long edge. This method results in prairie points with no visible folds in the front. Make enough prairie points to surround the edge of the quilt, considering that they need to be tucked inside each other a little. Start sewing them on a corner of the quilt, aligning the raw edges and using a quarter inch seam allowance from the quilt’s edge. Pin them in place, adjusting them so they cover the quilt side evenly. Stitch down and flip them, taking the seam allowance to the back of the quilt. You might need to press again to keep them in place. When all four sides are finished, the edge of the quilt is finished by folding the backing down and blind-stitching it, to cover all the raw edges.


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