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How I Sew Strips Together for Quilt Bindings

Most tutorials for sewing strips together to make quilt bindings tell you to line the end of the strips up perpendicular to one another like this:

Line up ends

Then you are instructed to draw a diagonal line from the top left corner of the top strip to the right corner of the bottom strip like this:

Draw diagonal line

Then you are told to sew along the line.

Sew on the line

But when I do that my joined strips almost always look like this:

Strips not lining up

I’ve tried sewing exactly on the line.  I’ve tried sewing a little to the right of the line.   But I still ended up with strips that didn’t line up properly.  It was soooooo frustrating.

After some more experimenting,  I’ve come up with another method for joining strips that works for me every single time.

First, instead of lining the strips up perfectly end to end, I overlap each strip about an eight of an inch like this:

Overlap slightly

Then I draw my diagonal line from the point of the 90 degree angle formed where the two strips overlap at the top to the point of the 90 degree angle formed where they overlap at the bottom.

Draw line from V to V

Then instead of sewing exactly down the middle of that line, I sew along the right edge of the line.  Kind of like carpenters have to know which side of the line to saw on, I had to figure out which side of the line to sew on.

Next I trim my seam allowance and press the seams open.

trim seam

It’s so satisfying now when I flip the strips open and see they are lined up perfectly.

perfectly joined binding strip

That is one thing that I’m learning about quilting.  You can find all sorts of tutorials on-line that show the “correct” way to do something.  But if that way doesn’t work for you, experiment until you find something that does.

My method of joining strips may not be the “correct” or most widely used method of joining strips but it’s the method that works for me to get the results I want.



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  • RedDeliciousLife
    July 23, 2015 10:10 pm

    I bind mine the same way but always sew directly on the line, which means sometimes I’m still just a bit off. So my question to you is this — when you say you “sew along the RIGHT edge of the line” — which side is that? Are you sewing a bit closer to the side you end up cutting off? Or are you sewing a bit closer to the side that remains part of your binding? Just need clarification. Thanks!

  • Ruth
    July 21, 2015 11:03 am

    Great instructions – mine never line up right – thanks for this!

  • Cindy
    July 21, 2015 7:10 am

    Well done tutorial with clear instructions. Ihave been overlapping like you have and found that works better. Now to try sewing to the right of the line.

  • Stephanie
    July 20, 2015 10:36 pm

    Susan – Such a fantastically clear tutorial and perfect pictures, as always! I do this too, but have never tried sewing to the right of the line. I will definitely try it next time. I’d love to highlight it again tomorrow in my Tips and Tutorials Tuesday post just in case anyone missed it.

  • Tracy
    July 15, 2015 7:27 pm

    eureka! I do what you do as far as extending the pieces slightly (which does help some) but I hadn’t yet figured out to sew just to the right of my line. I do love perfection 😉 so thanks for the tip!!

  • handstitch
    June 8, 2011 9:40 am

    THANK YOU for such super tutorial. I look forward to put this to the test when my gypsy-along quilt gets to that phase 😀

  • Mary Grace McNamara
    June 8, 2011 10:19 am

    Excellent! I hate joining strips and I love using bias binding so I use the method I showed in my never ending bias binding tutorial on my website. But for straight-grain binding, your method is great! I’ve had that same thing happen to me where the strips don’t line up, but I never took the time to figure out how to do it differently so they would line up. Thanks for sharing your discovery!


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