I don't like hand work... never have, probably never will. So binding for me is done by machine. I used to use the burp method for all my quilts... even the king size flannel I made in college! I learned how to do binding from a lady named Ann I think. That was way back in college too... I've changed it a bit, but it's relatively the same way she taught me and my mom. Mom has been my other teacher for bias binding, but that's a whole other ball game.
I start with binding strips either 2 1/2" or 2 1/4" wide. I use the wider for when I sew the binding on the back and do a decorative stitch on the front to finish, but I use the narrower for when I sew to the front and pull around to the back. I think it's really personal preference.
To join binding strips I take one strip and lay it horizonal right side up. Then take the strip you want to join to it and lay it vertical at a 90 degree angle with right side down.
I usually use the salvages to figure out the 90 degrees, but a square also works.
With the two lined up, I mark a line from the upper left hand corner where the two pieces meet to the lower right hand corner. This is the sewing line. You can pin it to hold, but I usually just hold it and sew. I've also just winged the sewing line too, but to start a line helps to make sure it comes out even. If you need to put more than two strips together, take the other end of the face down piece and put it horizontal face up and add the next strip face down vertically and follow the same steps. I have found if I do it the exact same way all the time, I never mess up. Consistancy is key here. Always horizontal face up, vertical face down, adding strips to the right end.
Sew down the line you marked, directly on the line. I use my walking foot for all steps in this process as it helps all the layers stay together.
Then using the ruler, add a quarter inch seam allowance and cut off the corner. This would be to the right of your sewing line.
Then press the seams either way. I press to the right, as you can see in the picture the binding strip is upside down from the way I sewed, but I pressed it to the right.
Now you are ready to add the binding to the quilt. Fold the binding in half wrong sides together, evenly. I don't press this, but let it lay naturally. I leave 6 -12 inches of the binding free at the beginning. This will be the tail to meet up with at the end. Six for wall hangings, 12 for bigger quilts. More is easier, but you don't want too much or it will have too much give. My finger is pointing out where I will start sewing the binding to the front of the quilt. The piece to the left is my 6" tail.
Sew the binding on with a quarter inch or slightly less 1/4" seam allowance. I sew to 1/4" from the corner. I don't get out the ruler all the time, but I stop 1/4" from the corner, lift the needle, pull the thread out a tiny bit (maybe 1" at most) and turn the quilt.
When the quilt is turned, fold the binding strip at a 45 degree angle with the corner. The unfinished edge of the binding should be straight with the right edge quilt when it is folded like this. It's hard to see in the picture because the quilt is white, but on the bottom you can see the shadow where the quilt edge is.
Holding this fold in place, bring the binding strip straight back down, raw edges of binding, aligned with raw edge of quilt. This creates a little triangle of fabric in the corner as you can see in the picture. Start sewing a quarter inch from the edge and continue sewing the bind down, repeating all corners the same way.
When you reach the end where you will be matching the pieces, leave a gap 7-13" long. About an inch longer than the tail you left at the beginning. Back stitch to hold it in place and cut your thread.
Fold the original tail piece up ( it probably didn't stay in place while you were sewing) straight with the edge of the quilt. Then fold the end tail you just finished sewing over it. Make sure these are laying perfectly flat. I will even pull them away from the machine and do this on my table if it's easier. The end tail should be to left as you are working and the beginning tail should be on the right.
Using a scissors or snipper, cut a little less than 1/4" snip through all four layers of binding about 1" from the left end of the beginning tail. (Yes this is on the underside, but you should still be able to see it.) Make sure you have about 2 1/2" on both sides of the beginning and ending stitching. Sometimes this snip will be right in the middle.
Because it's too hard to see the snip in the pictures, I put a ruler down and drew a line so you could see where they are. Pull the top (or left or end piece of binding away and lay it flat, right side up. The second picture shows where the snips are in the binding.
Now fold the beginning tail (on the right side) will be place right side down and the end tail. Line up the left side of the beginning binding with the two notches on end tail. On the beginning tail, line up those notches with the top of end tail. In the picture below you can see where the notches are marked by the ruler edge.
Keeping these together, draw a line on the diagonal. In the picture below I marked the diagonal from upper left to lower right with the ruler (left side of ruler). The picture is taken at a funky angle, so it's kind of hard to see.
This picture shows the little blue water wash away line that I drew. Sew directly down the line, just like when you were joining the strips of binding.
Pull it flat to check that you have it right. I've had a few mishaps in the beginning of getting pieces twisted or not lined up right, so I always check that it will lay flat.
Then add a quarter inch seam and cut off the excess (this would be like the corner of the binding strips).
Press that little piece to one side or the other. The same direction you pressed all the other joints is good, just don't open the seam as it makes the binding weaker.
This is what the binding should look like when it is on the front. Then press the binding flat from the front out. This makes it easier to have it roll around to the back.
You'll have to excuse my ironing board men... it was the easiest spot to take pictures.
I use Steam - A-Seam 2 1/4" strips that come on rolls.
I press on the SAS2 on the back side right along the stitch line. Since I took a 1/4" seam, it fits perfectly there and unrolls as I need it. I leave the paper on and do all four sides.
I pull back the paper and fold up the binding around the edge. It holds in place while I fix the miter on the corner. I always fold the left side up first, then fold the right side in. The extra fabric from the front, folds up and in, forming a perfect mitered corner. Then I steam the binding down. I do a small section at a time.
This is what it looks like on the back when the binding is steamed in place.
I use my walking foot and position the needle right next to the binding on the front. I use a thread that matches the quilt, but not necessarily the binding. The bobbin should match the bindng though. I stitch in the ditch all the way around the binding on the front side. In the pictures you can see how closely I get, but don't actually go onto the binding.
This is the back side of the binding. For this tutorial I used 2 1/2" binding strips since it was a kit and that's what it came with. Normally I use 2 1/4" and the stitching is closer to the edge of the binding on the back. I also pin when i don't have SAS2. I pin from the front, make sure all the pins hit binding in the back and sew the same way. I'm just not a big pinner, so I like the SAS2.
I also do this method in reverse. I sew the binding to the back, flip around to the front and do a decorative stitch on the binding. With this method I do use a 2 1/2" strip of binding.
Hopefully this will help someone learn an easier way of making binding, or adding a little trick to make their own way of doing binding easier. Please let me know if something needs to be clarified or if you have questions. I'd like to make binding as easy as possible, so people aren't afraid to finish their quilts.