It’s time. I’ve had so many requests for a tutorial on how to do big stitch binding! And really, I don’t know what took so long, it’s one of my absolute favorite things in the world to do. I already love binding quilts (I know that’s weird) but adding big stitches makes it truly exceptional.
Why Big stitch?
Right now you might be thinking.. what happened to the good ol’ fashioned whip stitch? Can’t I just do what I’ve always done?! Or even wondering why hand stitching is even worth it compared to machine binding.
Well I’m here to tell you that big stitch binding is special for a few reasons:
- It adds a handmade, human touch
- It’s relatively fast (depending on the stitch)
- It’s a nice excuse to watch Netflix
- It will be memorable
Really, my favorite is number one. I don’t have time to hand quilt, but I do have time to hand stitch the binding. So let’s go through how to do it.
Items Needed for Big Stitch Binding
- Needles – I use DMC Embroidery Needles in size 1-5 (pick one from the middle)
- Thread – I DMC perle thread in size 8 or 10
- Needle Threader – Definitely necessary
- Thimble – I use this one – Clover Leather Thimble, it’s my fav
Ready? Gather your supplies, your nearest WIP, and let’s get started. Before beginning you’ll need to sew your binding onto the front of the quilt. The raw edges of the binding should match the raw edges of the quilt sandwich. Then we’ll fold the fold over and big stitch it to the back.
How to do Big Stitch Binding on a Quilt
The process is very similar to a whip stitch. However, instead of whip stitching, you’ll be doing a running stitch (is that right? I need to google stitches, I’m not an embroiderer, I’m a quilter).
There are only a few things you need to know.
Stitch through all the layers.. except the very last one
Fold your binding over and secure it with a clip or some other method. Thread your needle with your thread, and make a quilters knot at the end (or just a double knot). It should be a single thread, not doubled.
Start your needle under the binding so that when you pull it up, the knot will be completely covered by the binding. This will ensure it's hidden.
When you’re pushing your needle through the layers, you’ll need to catch every layer, EXCEPT the very last one. This takes practice, and I always turn my quilt over to see if my stitch accidentally went through to the top (which is what we don’t want). If it did, pull the needle out slightly and try to catch a little less fabric.
Stitch at the bottom of the binding
This is important to prevent flaring. Make sure that your stitches are at the very bottom of the binding strip, not the middle or top.
Stitch length is up to you..
…However, I do think that smaller stitches may result in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, but that’s just me, you do you. I try to do dainty stitches, mostly because I like the look of them, but I’ve seem them done longer and that works fine too!
Stitch Until the Thread Runs Out
When you're nearing the end of your thread it's time to consider stopping and making a knot to secure the section that you've stitched.
Do one last stitch but instead of going to the next one, have your needle come out between the binding and the backing. You'll peel it open a bit and make a knot, tighten the knot so that it's under the binding, and of course trim the tail and tuck it under.
Keep stitching until you've reached a corner.
Big Stitch Binding Corners
Corners really aren't that different than the rest, you get to decide what you'd like to do! I usually do X's just because I think they're cute, but I've also done two parallel lines, etc. The key is to secure the corner so that it doesn't flare up after use/washing.
Stitch until you reach the bottom of a corner, to make an X there's a few ways (and no wrong way!). Have the needle go up to one of the tops of the X, then down and up on the other top of the X, then down to the diagonal bottom of the X and then finish by coming up on the other side of the corner so that you can keep stitching.
If that was confusing, there is a Youtube video on how to do it!
You'll keep stitching until you've reached the end, it gets a bit tricky, but do one last stitch, and pull it open a little so that you can get a know in there. And then of course trim the thread!
I hope this was helpful, it's one of my absolute favorite things to do! Tag @quiltdstudios on social media so I can see all of your beautiful stitching!