I used to join the ends of my binding by folding one end back 1/2" and nestling the other end into the fold, then attaching the joint to the quilt and hand-sew around the joined binding ends to hold them together. This was a pain to do and led to a bulky, straight-seam lump instead of the smooth diagonal seams where my binding strips are joined.
So a last week, I tried joining the binding ends with a diagonal seam to make the binding continuous, i.e. when you're done, you can't tell where you started attaching the binding. It's so easy!
Here's how I did it in case you've never given it a try before:
First, when you start attaching the strip, you'll want about 6" of loose strip before you start sewing it to the quilt. Stop attaching the binding strip at least 10" or so from the start of your attachment (I ended up having to take some of the seam out in this example because I sewed too far).
Next, overlap your strips and trim the ends so that you have exactly as much overlap as the width you cut your binding strips (I cut 2" binding, so I had 2" overlap).
I unfold the binding ends that have been folded in half and ironed.
I'm lazy, so I don't mark a diagonal line, I just fold the end and finger press it to get a diagonal crease. I do this to my right binding end, and for my instructions it's important that you fold it the same direction as I do in the picture below.
Now, this is important: Twist the right strip towards yourself, as you see below and place right sides facing on the left strip so that the binding ends are at right angles. If you twist the right end in the wrong direction, you'll get a twist in your binding strip and have to do it again. I always check whether the binding will be a smooth strip if I fold my strip along the yet-to-be-sewn seam line. Pin on either side of the diagonal crease because you don't have a lot of wiggling room with the quilt attached and the binding ends will shift by the time you get to your machine.
Sew along the diagonal crease.
Your binding should now look like this:
Trim the seam down to 1/4".
Finger press the seam and smooth out your quilt and you should get this:
Back to the sewing machine to join the last few inches of the connected binding.
Depending on how stretchy your quilt is and how exactly your measured, you might have a bit more binding than quilt to attach to - that's okay!
I lift my foot and push some extra fabric under the foot along the way, so that I don't end up with a huge crease at the end but instead just little creases that are spread out along the seam.
In my example, I ended up having a little crease, but the beauty is that this is the inside of the binding - you can't even see it from the other side, so once the binding is sewn down on the back, no one but you will ever know :)
Tada, you're done! Wasn't that easy? And I love especially that I don't have to struggle with nestling seams at the end anymore!
I've also started sewing my labels down with the binding, because it saves me from having to applique 4 sides of the label - now I only have two to do, and the label will be more secure.
I just align it on the back of the quilt with the first corner where I attach my binding. Also super easy :)
Some day, I'd like to make more professional labels than hand-writing them with permanent marker. How do you label your quilts? Do you order your labels or make them yourself? I would love to hear about the different ways of labeling a quilt that are being used!
2 hours ago