Invisible-Faced Binding

How many ways can you think of to bind a quilt? There are tons of options for finishing your labor of love (I already have written a tutorial—Master Machine Binding—for  completing the task completely on your machine), and every project requires you to assess what technique is best for that quilt. Single fold or double fold, bias or straight of grain, but what about visible or invisible?

Sometimes, you want to be able to bind your quilt without seeing anything at all on the front side. For this, I present to you faced binding. This technique creates an elegant, seamless-looking finish on the front side of the quilt that’s very popular for art quilts or wall hangings.

While this technique is certainly beautiful in its simplicity, it also has another benefit: there’s no need to stress over mitering corners on this technique. If you’re someone who can never seem to get those corners quite right, then I welcome you to give this a try. It’s a fantastic finish for both beginners and the most experienced sewists out there!

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial BERNINA WeAllSew Blog

Supplies to Create an Invisible-faced Binding

Step 1. Cut fabric for binding

Start by calculating how much binding you will need. Measure each side of your quilt and add up those lengths—that’s the total required length. Let’s say we’re binding a 40” x 30” wall hanging:

40 + 30 + 40 + 30 = 140 inches of binding

Since we can’t cut 140 inches of continuous length of binding, we next need to figure out how many strips will need to be pieced together, end to end, to create this length. Assume we have 40” of usable width of standard quilting cotton fabric:

140 ÷ 40 = 3.5

The answer here is the number of strips we need to cut from our binding fabric. We’ll be using 2” wide strips for this technique and since I can’t cut half of a strip, I will be cutting four strips from my binding fabric.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - Cutting

Unlike a traditional binding with mitered corners, there is a second element we need to cut from our binding fabric—our corner pieces. Cut four squares at 5” each.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_cut_squares

Step 2. Press binding

Fold the binding strips in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_press_binding

Fold the corner squares in half diagonally with wrong sides together and press those as well.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - pressing corners

Step 3. Pin to quilt

Begin by pinning the corner squares (now pressed into triangles) to the right side of the quilt by aligning the raw edges to each corner of the quilt.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - pin corners

Next we’ll pin the rest of the binding. Take your continuous strip of pressed binding and place the end on top of one of your corner squares, overlapping the strip and the corner piece by at least 1.5” and aligning raw edges together. Pin all the way down this first side of the quilt.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - Pin Strips

When you reach the next corner, again make sure that the strip of binding overlaps the next corner pieceby at least 1.5” and cut the strip of binding with fabric scissors. Repeat this process along the remaining three sides of the quilt.

Step 4. Attach binding

Attach Walking Foot #50 to the machine, using the standard sole for this presser foot. Place the quilt under the presser foot and attach the binding with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure to secure your seam at the beginning and end with a couple back stitches.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - attach Binding

When you reach a corner, simply stop with the needle down, raise the foot using the Free Hand System (click HERE to read a blog post about the BERNINA Free Hand System), and turn the quilt to pivot around the corner. This is one of the best parts about this technique—no starting and stopping to miter corners!

Invisible-faced binding technique - pivot

When the binding is attached all the way around the quilt, use a hot iron to press the binding strips toward the seam allowance.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - Press

Step 5. Understitch

Before the next round of stitching, we need to change the sole on our walking foot. This is most easily done by removing the foot from the machine first. Use the small screwdriver that comes with the walking foot to loosen the small screw on the right side of the foot. The sole of the presser foot will separate from the main component of the foot when the screw is loosened enough.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_remove_sole

Align the edgestitching sole with the appropriate holes on the walking foot and tighten the screw to secure it in place. With this sole in place, reattach the walking foot to your machine.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_edgestitch_sole

Next we’ll understitch our binding. This means we will stitch the binding to seam allowance. This will help our binding lay flatter and prevent the binding from shifting toward the front side of the quilt. To do this, move the needle position to the right to position 3.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_set_stitch

Now place the quilt and binding under the presser foot, starting at the top end of one of the binding strips and nesting the center guide of the edgestitching sole against the seam of the binding.

Invisible Faced Binding Tutorial - understitch

Begin the seam with two or three backstitches then sew all the way down the strip of binding, securing the seam at the end of the strip as well. Cut your threads and repeat the process on the remaining three sides.

Step 6. Clip, turn, and pin

Clip the seam allowances at the corners of your quilt. This will reduce bulk and help create clean, sharp corners.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_clip_corner

Now turn the corner pieces out so that they lay on the back side of the quilt and the ends of the binding strips are hidden. Use a point turner, like the OESD Expert Point & Press Tool, to press the corners all the way out.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_turn_corner

Press the binding smoothly on the back side of the quilt and pin it down all the way around. You can also use Wonder Clips by Clover for this as they work nicely to secure the bulky layers of a quilt and its binding.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_pin

Step 7. Stitch it down

Finally, hand stitch the binding to the back side of the quilt all the way around.

Invisible_Faced_Binding_hand_stitch

Now you have a beautiful, invisibly bound quilt to use or hang in your home!

Invisible_Faced_Binding_close_up

11 thoughts on “Invisible-Faced Binding

  1. Where you get to the ironing you say “fold….with right sides together.” Unless you’ve turned this inside out somehow shouldn’t it “wrong sides together?”

    1. There are no wrong sides at this point. The binding strip was folded and pressed in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together, so both sides of the strip being used are right sides at this point. When you are folding it over to the back of the quilt, you are also folding to a right side of fabric (the backing).

  2. Is the photo with handstitching a blooper?. I see the one side binding beneath the corner triangle, the other side the side binding is on top of the corner triangle. Other than that, this is a great technique for the bag of tricks!

  3. I thought it was interesting and wanted to give it a try, HOWEVER…..white background, white binding and white thread…really? I couldn’t differentiate it well enough to make sure I understood it. Please, use contrasting colors!!! Just makes things a little easier

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