Stashbuster Tutorial: Back-to-Front Blanket Binding

blanket bindingOne thing that I’ve never really understood about modern quilting is how much stuff you’re encouraged to buy. Batting, backing material, interfacing- holy smokes!

My inspiration as a quilter is definitely NOT this contemporary (and commercial)Β take on the craft. Instead, I think more toward the origins of quilting, when women sewed their beautiful quilts out of what they had on hand.

I, too, sew my quilts with what I have on hand to spare, primarily denim and T-shirts. I never buy batting, I don’t buy fabric just to quilt with, and to back and bind my quilts, I use blankets from my linen closet.

A blanket adds a sturdy support system to your quilt top. It’s generally thick enough to substitute for that batting that you’re not going to add, and if you choose one that’s just the right size, you can wrap it around for an easy and attractive quilt binding, as well. Here’s how:

You will need:

  • A blanket at least two inches wider than your quilt on all sides. Any blanket can work here. I’ve used everything from wool to fleece to actual bedspreads.
  • A quilt top ready to be quilted and bound.
  • A large gridded cutting mat, a plastic gridded ruler, and a rotary cutter for use with fabric.
  • A sewing machine with matching thread.

1. Stretch and quilt your quilt top to your blanket backing as you’d normally do. If the material of your blanket backing is at all different from the materials that you’re used to quilting, don’t let that discourage you. Just go slowly and indulge yourself with lots of pins. Seriously, LOTS of pins.

blanket binding 2. After your quilt top and your blanket backing are quilted together, lay them out and smooth them out. Now figure out how wide you want your binding to be, and multiply by two. That number is the width of blanket that you’ll want to leave on all sides of the quilt. The rest of the blanket will be trimmed away.

3. Lay your cutting mat underneath where you’ll be cutting, and using your rotary cutter and ruler and the measurement that you divined in Step 2, trim the blanket away on all sides of your quilt top.

blanket binding 4. To make the binding, fold the edge of the blanket to meet the edge of the quilt top, and then fold it over again. You’ll end up with a binding half the width of your Step 2 measurement over your quilt top, with the raw edges hidden. Top stitch this to your quilt.

Corners are only a little tricky:

1. Fold the corner over the quilt top, so that its edges are perpendicular to the edges of the quilt top.

blanket binding2. Double fold each side of the blanket, as in Step 4, and top stitch.

3. Trim the protruding bit of corner with your thread scissors. Or, if you’d like to avoid this step, trim that corner, or fold it back, before you double-fold and stitch the binding here.

When you’re finished, you have your favorite blanket, and your new favorite quilt, all wrapped up in one! What could be better?

9 thoughts on “Stashbuster Tutorial: Back-to-Front Blanket Binding”

  1. Jo-Anne Jackson

    I would like to see a large photo of the WHOLE finished quilt. I’m having difficulty envisioning what you are describing when I can only see the small detail pictures. Can you provide this? Thanks!

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  5. I was so delighted to read your comments/criticisms regarding the “requirements” that seems to be the criteria for making quilts these days….or so the experts say! I, too, have made my quilts with what I have at hand at home, many times! Not everyone can afford all the trinkets, tools, batting, $5 a yard cotton, etc. etc. that fills the expensive Craft magazines!! In my opinion, the “merchandisers” have taken the fun out of a simple skill that everyone, no matter their economic level could do and enjoy!! It seems ….according to the “experts”….(who must have way more money then most of us)….that a quilt cannot be made without the best of material, complicated sewing machines, special classes, myriads of quilting tools and a craft room! I was therefore delighted to come upon your website and read your COMMON SENSE opinion!

  6. Ìve really enjoyed reading your article on the Postage Stamp quilt. Manys years ago my dear Mother sewed a Postage Stamp quilt entirely by hand. She did not use a sewing machine, If she had it would have been a Singer treadle machine which by the way I still have. I was in grade school when she did this quilt. I wish I could send you a picture of her quilt. Again really enjoy your articles.

    1. I wish I could see a picture! I bet it’s so beautiful! I have a few quilts that my great-grandmother sewed by hand, and I think of her so often just because I use her quilts so much. I don’t think she was ever brave enough to sew a postage stamp quilt by hand, though!

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