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How to Bind a Quilt – video tutorial

How to Bind a Quilt - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

This is a longish video for me – but it shows you in tremendous detail how to bind a quilt.

You won’t find me being judgmental about many things – but I’m pretty dang picky about quilt bindings. It kills me when I see a quilt that’s beautifully pieced, meticulously quilted. . . and sloppily bound. All that work! All that money (fabric isn’t cheap, you know)! It’s like buying a beautiful piece of art and sticking it to the wall with masking tape.

Binding a quilt the “right” way is NOT hard – but it does involve some hand work. There’s just no way around it. I’ve tried lots of all-machine binding techniques and I’ve never liked the results of a single one of them. So pop in a movie, get comfy, and give your beautiful quilt the binding it deserves. Don’t you know it’s going to be an heirloom?

There’s a free doll quilt pattern here, if you want to practice your quilt binding on something small.

If you remember how to bind a quilt but you just popped back over for a reminder of how wide to cut your strips – I cut mine 2 1/4 inches wide. I cut mine on the straight grain – there’s no need to cut on the bias unless you’re going to go around curves.

There’s a video here showing how to join strips with a diagonal seam to make your binding strips.

Update: I get a lot of questions about that lion block. It’s one of the blocks in the Safari Animals quilt pattern. It’s also available as a single block pattern here. His name is Liam. 🙂

Enjoy binding your quilt!

Here are all my posts about how to bind and finish your quilt.

Finished with this topic?

Return to the Let’s Make a Quilt main Table of Contents.

Move on to more info about other things (not quilts!) that you can make with your applique patterns.

Happy stitching!


  1. i’m beginning to feel a bit like a stalker…but i just cannot offer this enough: i appreciate how you present your skills. your instructions are so clear i’m left with no doubt that i can accomplish what you present. heartfelt thanks. gratitude is the currency i have in greatest abundance right now, so here’s buckets of it! (cue deluge of swimmy, sparkly, happy sensations from the top of your head down to your toes!)

    • Dee Skinner SAYS...

      I couldn’t agree more, Patricia. I am also a HUGE fan of the Shiny Happy World patterns, ideas, instructions and videos. I’ve done many projects and they were all a success because of Wendi–an extraordinarily talented woman! When I happened upon her website, I happened upon pure joy! I’ve made 3 of her quilts, placemats, pillows, charity bears, bear lovies, rice snakes, rice bags, and a scrap quilt with the leftovers. All since this time last year when I saw a cute puppy on a quilt block and decided to check it out! Thank you Wendi!!!!

    • Annette Dombrowski SAYS...

      Watch these videos and reading the blogs is a joy in itself. I just printed the free lovely butterfly applique and plan to add it to my quilt.
      Thank you wendi!

  2. I do my bindings the same way and you are totally right… that’s what tv’s are for! 🙂 I wouldn’t say that I love to hand stitch but I do enjoy getting to the hand sewing part of projects because it gives me time to quietly admire what I just made… right before I start another project. Thanks Wendi.

  3. Patricia – I feel positively sparkly!

    Michelle – You’ve hit on it exactly! I love that time when the project is nearly finished. Finished enough to actually finction as a quilt, warming me while I stitch on the binding. It’s SO nice to pause and admire!

  4. Yup, it’s official, you’re amazing. I loved this video and seriously … you are so thorough, but I don’t feel like a child when I listen to your instructions (make sense?). You do an excellent job and I too appreciate that taking the extra care to hand stitching make a huge difference in the finished product! Too be honest, much of quilting/sewing is therapeutic to me and hand stitching is no exception.

    Thanks again for the great video!

  5. Thanks so much Kari! Your kind note made my morning!

  6. Thank you so much Wendi for that great tutorial. I am new to quilting and could not figure out how to bind properly. I have watched numerous tutorials but alas I still could not bind. You have just showed me how simple and straight forward it is. Thanks again, Siobhan :

  7. Dear Wendi,
    I found your blog some weeks ago and I’m a real fan! Thank you for all your wonderful tutorials – they’re simply great – even a child could understand it! I’m really excited to buy my sewing machine and start doing your patterns!! I really would like to make a quilt for my son’s bed and I want to ask you something: in the video did you use remains of fabric you kept? Again, thank you so much for your time and effort!

  8. Thanks Beatriz! Yes – I made the video in the quilt using leftover scraps. I used to buy fabric for quilts (when I made more of them) but now I just make them when my scrap bins start to overflow. Which is. . . now. I have a quilt in the works that I’ll share with all of you next week.

  9. Wendi, still on the quilt issue and since you have on in hands, would it be too much to ask you to post a video showing how you sew the scraps together, please?! Thank you, that would also be a great help so start my quilt 🙂

  10. I’ve got a quilt pattern in the works right now – along with a couple of additional quilting videos. Stay tuned!

  11. Anonymous SAYS...

    Christmas time and time to sew. Love you instructions to finish off this awesome quilt the RIGHT way 🙂

  12. This is by far the best video tutorial I have come across. I have struggled with the binding for my finished quilts. No more, thanks to this video! Thank you for putting this out there!

  13. BTW…how wide do you cut your fabric for the bindings?

    • Thanks Gina! I cut my strips 2 1/4 inches wide.

    • Thanks again Wendi…I’m new to quilting…been about a year…and I am always buying the pre-packaged quilt bindings but it’s never as nice of a finished look as quilts I see that use the fabrics from the quilt itself to finish off the binding.

  14. What a wonderful video. I have despised bias binding [because I’m not good at it :^)] but am encouraged to do more of it and pray it works out well!

    Do you have instructions on how you achieved those no-bulk bias strips? I’d love to know!

    Thank you for all the great instructionals :^)

  15. UGH – I couldn’t agree with you more. I saw a lovely quilt with a binding put on by machine zigzag because she was too lazy to handstitch. Just a disaster. :(((

    : )

    whew – loving your blog. I’ll have to tell all my followers about you.


  16. Should the strip for binding be made on the bias like bias tape?

    • Only if you have curves at the corner or a scalloped edge. For a regular quilt with straight sides you can cut your strips on the straight grain.

    • Yay! Thanks so much for replying! I think I’ll bind tonight!

  17. Wendi you have shown me so much in sewing (I’m a newbie). You have managed to take the fear out of it for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to do amazing instruction and illustration in all of your tutorials. I will be a fan always!
    Nola C.

  18. Anonymous SAYS...

    Love it

    • wendigratz SAYS...


    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Thanks so much! I’m glad it was helpful. 🙂

  19. Maggie SAYS...

    Hi, Wendy! I am working on my first quilt and your tutorials on the various step have been my mainstay. One really dumb question: How do you square up and get things trimmed when you’re working on a larger (i.e., human bed-size quilt)?


    • Not a dumb question at all! I have a fairly large work table and a 34″ cutting mat, so I’m able to do this pretty easily. I lay the quilt down so one corner of the top edge is on the cutting mat. Then I use my ruler to make a good guess at a straight line across the top. You’ll find that if you lay down your ruler and start adjusting you can “see” where that line should go. Some of the quilt will dip a tiny bit below that line and you might end up cutting off a tiny bit that falls above it in places – but the top of your quilt should already be pretty straight because you joined up straight blocks to make it. The main thing is to line up as large an area as possible. My ruler is 24 inches and I’ve found that if I even things out over the full 24 inches I’ll be good. Keep working your way across the top, then use your ruler to get a nice 90 degree angle on the corner and start working your way down the side and the rest of the way around the quilt.
      Mostly – don’t worry about it too much! If you’re entering your quilt in a show the judges will look really closely at things like how square your corners are when it’s hanging flat on a wall. That’s not how most quilts are used and that’s not how most people look at them! Before I had rotary cutting tools I just took a pair of scissors and trimmed off the excess batting and backing using the edge of the front of my quilt as a guide. It worked just fine – I still use those quilts and they still look great!

      • Maggie SAYS...

        I can’t thank you enough. My binding turned out beautifully, and your videos really are responsible. They’re just so clear and panic-reducing!

      • Kim SAYS...

        Much appreciated message you pointed out about squaring up the quilt, regarding show quilts vs home use quilts. I will relax now much more. Up until now that part of squaring is so perfect was stressing me out. Something so simple makes sense that we don’t see it like hanging on a wall as it’s draped over the bed or piece of seating. Thank you

    • I’m so glad that tutorial has been helpful. 🙂 Your finished quilt is BEAUTIFUL!

      • Anonymous SAYS...

        Thank you!

  20. Wendi, hi. I wonder if you would consider a tutorial on binding a small quilt entirely by hand. There are a lot of people like me, who don’t have, or use, a sewing machine and like to make quilts but come unstuck when it comes to binding. So far I always use the backing folded over to the front but would really like to know how to use proper binding. I have tried following machine versions but they are different, the stitches and placing of the stitches, starting and finishing are different. There doesn’t seem to be a tutorial for this anywhere. I have searched Utube and Pinterest. Are you up to the challenge?

  21. Ceil SAYS...

    I love your site and appreciate all the help you give. I have my quilt with a cuddle backing and wonder how to bind it. Do I use the cuddle and fold it to the front? The front is all cotton and quilted but the back is Shannon cuddle with the longer fiber sides facing in as I wanted that plush look for the back. I’ve watched all kinds of videos on binding with cuddle but none seem to have a quilt like mine with quilt as you go cotton on the front (used warm and natural) and cuddle on the back. Please, please help.

  22. Hi Wendy, I can not figure how you start the binding. Could you tell me how you cut the start and then fold it over? Is it cut on the diagonal? Thanks,

    • I show how to prepare the start of the binding at about the 2:20 mark. The end is cut on the diagonal and then the raw edge folded over and pressed.

  23. Anonymous SAYS...

    If you are backing with cuddle fleece do you do the hand sewing portion onto the front (cotton) or back (fleece)?

  24. Christi Weinmann SAYS...

    Hi Wendi, I live from South Africa and am only doing my first quilt ever!! I struggled getting the quilt through the neck of my Bernina and nearly gave up the whole project, until I saw your awesome videos. I think I have found my niche in long stich hand quilting – nearly finished the quilt in 2 days and will be doing the binding this week.. Thank you ever so much – this is exactly my style.

  25. Cat Wooten SAYS...

    Hello Wendi ! I can’t express enough how appreciative I am to have blindly stumbled upon your videos. I have finished my first quilt and it is a queen size so after I began with someone elses video and much frustration I actually ripped all the prior stitching and began anew via your videos.. I am elated and ready for another. Thank you as your dedication to instruction is a life saver.

  26. Anita Camroux SAYS...

    Good Morning!
    How do I figure out the number of 2 1/4″ strips I need for my quilt

    • All of my patterns tell you in the cutting instructions. For other patterns you’ll need to measure the outside edge of your quilt and do the math from that, being sure to add extra for turning the corners. I usually add AT lEAST an extra foot.

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  29. Paula SAYS...

    Thank you for your adorable pattern! I can’t tell you how impressed I am with your tutorials. They were the clearest and easiest to follow. Made the whole process of learning something new fun.

  30. Karen R SAYS...

    Very clear and easy to follow instructions. Looks intimidating when initially print directions, but the patterns are easy and whimsical. I will definitely always consider your patterns for baby gifts!