Quilter, author, and BERNINA Ambassador Annie Smith shares a quick quilt binding tip!
When trying to man-handle the bulk of sewing the binding on a quilt, I like to use the Walking foot # 50. A plain presser foot just presses the bulk down and sometimes creates a pulled look, or even makes little tucks on the front of the quilt under the seam of the binding. “No Bueno,” as my son would say. The Walking foot #50 has little feet that “walk” on the top of the fabric in tandem with the feed dogs. The “walking” action helps feed the top layer of fabric through the sewing machine at the same rate as the bottom layer, avoiding those tucks and puckers.
Several years ago, I began using the Walking foot # 50 to handle all of the bulk. It works beautifully and I have a nice smooth quilt under the binding seam. Now that I’m using a BERNINA 830, I have the option to use the Dual Feed system—which applies a similar principle as a Walking foot! The Dual Feed acts like a little extra finger at the back of the presser foot, giving the top layer of fabric an extra pull as you stitch. The Dual Feed helps the top layer of fabric move steadily along as you sew.
I like to have a finished binding that is just a little bit wider than one-quarter inch. It just seems to me that a quilt that is twin through king size needs a meatier binding. In the past years, I have graduated to using a wider binding on every quilt I make merely because I like the look of it—not only my own quilts, but on the quilts that I see at quilt shows and on display too.
Every binding I make is bias double-fold binding. I cut my strips at 2 ¾” and then press the binding in half. The new width of my folded binding is 1 5/16″, which is an odd size. But, if I sew an accurate 3/8″ seam on the front of my quilt, my binding folds over to the back and just covers my seam line perfectly.
The Reverse pattern foot #1/#1C/#1D gives me that perfect 3/8″ seam allowance from the center notch to the edge of the foot! (This is true when using the Reverse pattern foot #1C/#1D made for BERNINA machines with a 9 mm stitch width. The feet made for BERNINA machines with a 5 mm stitch width are not as wide, and will not give you that perfect 3/8″ stitch.) If I use the Walking foot, it’s a little trickier to find the perfect 3/8″ seam on the sole plate. I love the Reverse pattern #1D foot especially because it works in concert with the Dual Feed.
The Dual Feed works similar to the Walking Foot, to handle all of the bulk of my quilt plus sewing the binding on nice and smooth. The Reverse pattern foot #1D with Dual Feed engaged makes sewing quilt binding so much easier and neater. And we all know how important a beautiful binding is for our finished quilt!
*Binding spool was made by Richard Cox, Chapel Hill, NC.