Sara’s Favorite Machine Sewn Binding Technique

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Sewing Tips

I have a secret…I am not good at sewing my binding on a quilt by machine. It never looks good and I usually end up ripping it out and either hand stitching it or handing it over to Edna our resident expert sewing machine binder.

Recently, I had a quilt I needed finished for a class and Edna was no where in sight! Sniff. I was going to have to do it myself. Drat. Then I remembered a technique I had tried years ago that resulted in a successful machine sewn binding.


You need four items:

  • 1/8″ thick yarn
  • Cording/Couching foot (a foot with a hole in the middle)
  • Water soluble thread
  • Edgestitch foot (a foot with a blade down the middle)
  1. Start by pressing the 2 1/2″ binding in half like you normally do.
  2. Wind water soluble thread on a bobbin and thread the machine with a neutral color or a thread color that matches the binding fabric.
  3. Attach the cording or couching foot. If you don’t have a foot as described, use an open toe or clear foot.
  4. Select a zig zag stitch wide enough to cover the yarn and increase the stitch length to 2.5mm or 3mm.
  5. Stitch the yarn down the center fold of the binding strip.
  6. Using a walking foot, attach binding to the top side of the quilt like normal. (See binding video below)
  7. Attach the Edgestitch foot or foot with a center blade.
  8. Remove water soluble thread from the bobbin and replace with a matching thread.
  9. Set machine for a straight stitch in the center needle position and a stitch length at 2.5mm or 3mm.
  10. Starting in the middle of a long side, roll the binding to the back of the quilt past the sewn line.
  11. Align the blade of the Edgestitch foot in the ditch making sure that the cording on the back is situated to the left of the blade.
  12. Continue around the entire quilt mitering the corners as you come to them. If the corners are hard to get tucked under the foot, sew to the corner and stop. Reposition the quilt and start on the next side.
  13. The water soluble thread will dissolve when the quilt is washed.

Click here for more Finishing School binding tips!