Once you’ve sewn the binding around the front of your quilt, you’ll need to join the two ends together before being able to sew the binding on the back. It’s a little bit more fiddly than when you joined the binding strips together but only a little bit.
Draw a 2 1/4 inch square with a diagonal line running through it on the wrong side of the left hand tail. I tuck a cutting mat or a sketchbook underneath the fabric so I’ve got a firm surface to draw on….just peeping at the top of the picture is the little 4 1/2 inch gridded square I use for small patchwork measurements, and it came in very handy drawing the square. Because it’s see-through you can check your square is nice and level against that pressed top seam which you’ve been using to sew along.
The diagonal line you draw this time is from the bottom left to the top right. (once you turn your binding over it rotates and the seam will run the same way as the other seams in the binding. You can always peep under the binding to check. When it’s been a while since I’ve sewn on any binding I think I’m doing this bit wrong, I check underneath and then think “why don’t I just trust my own notes”)
Checking that you are folding exactly along the drawn line, carefully fold the binding over and with your thumb nail press along the fold and then pin the fold together so it doesn’t wiggle about.
With the left hand side of binding underneath, carefully lay the binding from the right hand side over it, just smooth it out so it’s nice and flat. Carefully remove the pins keeping the fold in place and now put them along the top edge of the binding and one through the bottom edge. You need to keep the two pieces of binding in place.
Now this is the fiddliest bit (if I haven’t already got one I make a pot or cup of tea)…..when I showed you how to start sewing the binding in place I said to leave a nice sized gap about 10 inches wide. This gap means you can turn the binding in on itself and also position your hand in to move the fabric so you can see what you are doing.
Slide your left hand under the binding to support the two pieces of binding. The pins in the binding are holding 3 layers of binding together and you need to un-slide the pins from the bottom layer and secure them to just the folded over flap. Carefully so you don’t disturb the position of the binding, remove the top pin very slightly so it un-pins from the bottom layer of binding, and then just slide it back through so only the top layer and the flap are pinned together. I find putting the pin through the folded 1/4 inch seam helps a lot.
Now do the same for the second pin, I find it’s easiest to remove this one and then to re-pin it along the right hand side so it’s at a right angle to the top pin.
Now you should be able to turn the pinned flap of fabric over, and you’ll see your drawn diagonal line. Pin this carefully into place and remove the two pins from the other side.
Turn your work back and just check that it’s all laying flat and that the two pieces of binding are in the right position.
Turn the folded over flap back and sew along the pinned drawn diagonal line (starting and finishing with a couple of over stitches rather than a knot.) I always end up at this stage with the quilt in my lap all higgledy piggledy while I’m sewing this piece into place.
Open up the seam and finger press it open (again, putting a small cutting mat or sketchbook under the binding helps to get a nice firm press)….sometimes the wider pressed seam doesn’t quite match up (I think mine was out something like a 1/16 th of an inch), but as it’s just a tiny fraction, that really won’t show once the binding has all been sewn into place.
Trim the sides of the flap so you have a neat edge (1/4 of an inch or 5/8) and then continue to sew along the rest of the pressed 1/4 inch seam.
When you come to the open flaps, just sew them down wide open along the pressed seam. Sewing the flaps open makes for a less bulky edge when you turn the binding over.