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Embellished Binding with Thread Tutorial

While working on a new Walk Around the Block quilt, I decided I wanted a colorful binding to enhance the very colorful quilting I did. When I went to select colorful fabrics for the binding, I realized it might compete too much with the border so I decided to try something new. I stitched the same colorful thread onto my binding!

I have a tutorial below for how to make embellished binding with thread, but I want to put a note of caution first. At this time, the quilt has been washed and dried and in the real world for only a couple of days. Quilt bindings are some of the most loved parts of a quilt, especially by little hands. I think that the thread could get snagged/worn out/come apart on a well-loved quilt. I don’t have any proof of this but it’s my feeling about the durability. I think that this technique would be amazing on mini quilts!

A very important note: these directions are for when you will hand bind! It’s still possible to do embellished binding for all-machine binding, but these specific directions (stitching on one side and the way the binding is attached) are done for when you will hand bind the quilt.

Embellished Binding with Thread Tutorial from Maeberry Square (Jessica Plunkett)
1. Make standard binding. I prefer 2.5” inch strips. Press the binding in half as you normally would.

2. Select the threads you want to use to embellish the binding. I used Aurifil 50 wt thread – 2120 (yellow), 1114 (green), 2810 (teal), 2540 (purple) and 2535 (pink).

3. You do not need to embellish both halves of the binding as one side is tucked under. Lay one end of the binding on the quilt and clip or pin just a few inches in place. Take a marking tool and put a small “x” on the side facing out. This side, now marked with the “x,” will be tucked under so there's no need to stitch it.

4. Once you have the “x” marked, open the binding back up. You’ll see a crease down the center where the binding was folded. One side has the “x” and one side does not. You want to stitch on the side that does NOT have the “x.”

5. Consider the following two things while stitching. First, a ¼” of the side you stitch on will be lost as seam allowance when you attach the binding to the quilt. While it’s fine to stitch that low, you don’t need to add much thread to the small part that will not be seen. You can simply eyeball where the ¼” line is. In the image, the ruler shows that there is about 1” of space that you’ll quilt the length of your binding (after taking into account the lost ¼” to seam allowance). Second, I suggest being careful not stitching right over the crease. When you go to hand bind the quilt, you are bringing your needle in and out of that crease area and you don’t want to accidentally rip the thread you used to embellish.

Tip: make sure the bobbin has enough thread to last the length of the binding before starting to sew.

6. Start stitching! I used my standard 2.5 stitch length. Since you are only going through one layer of fabric, you could try a shorter length as well. Begin at one end of your binding and continue until you reach the other end. I chose to do a simple wavy line with all five threads.

Tip: if your machine has decorative stitches, this might be a fun opportunity to try them out!

7. After the stitching is complete, clip or pin the binding onto the quilt making sure that the “x” mark is facing up. Remember – that means you won’t see the stitching you just added! The image below shows the binding correctly laying on the quilt and the next image shows my finger pulling it back so that you can see the stitching underneath.

8. Machine sew the binding on the front of the quilt. Once attached, you can proceed with hand binding on the back. As you work your way around the quilt, you’ll see the stitching as you fold the binding to the back. It's visible on the front and back side of the quilt.

9. Celebrate! I really like the final look of my embellished binding!

If you try this technique, be sure to tell me! Tag me on Instagram using @maeberrysquare or feel free to email me maeberrysquare [at] gmail [dot] com and show me your embellished binding!


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