Learn how to repair quilt binding by replacing it!
Do you have an heirloom or much-loved quilt whose binding is frayed or torn?
Frayed edges are a common problem since they get a lot of wear and tear. Replacing the old quilt binding with a new binding is a quilt repair that is easy to do.
To repair torn or frayed binding, you have three choices:
- Sew a new binding on top of the old binding
- Completely remove the old binding before sewing on the replacement binding
- Partially remove the binding
Today's tutorial is on how to rebind an old quilt by removing the frayed binding and replacing it with a new fabric binding.
Not only will I provide a photo tutorial with step-by-step instructions below, but I even provide a video tutorial you can follow by simply clicking on the link below to go to a YouTube video tutorial.
For information on the care of quilts and more information on the repair of quilts, go to our How to Wash, Care and Repair A Quilt page.
COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to
watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Rebind an Old Quilt to watch in Youtube.
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For this tutorial, the beautiful quilt I repaired is a 30-year-old quilt that has received lots of use over the years. The quilt has sentimental value as it was made by my mother. All around the quilt, the binding was frayed.
A little about the quilt
This giant star quilt was a pattern featured in the book, 50 Country Quilting Projects, by Rodale Press. To make the quilt 3,249 (yes, 3,249) 1 1/2" squares were cut and pieced together.
My mother machine sewed the squares together according to the pattern direction and then she hand quilted the entire quilt. It must have taken her hundreds of hours to make and been a daunting task; making this quilt even more precious.
My goal was to replace the binding in order to preserve the quilt but I plan to retire it. I want to treasure it by folding it and displaying it in my home as a constant reminder of my mother's quilting expertise and love.
How to rebind a quilt by removing old binding
WHAT YOU NEED to replace the binding:
INSTRUCTIONS for repair quilt binding:
STEP 1: Remove the old frayed or torn binding
The first step is to completely remove the old binding. It's easily accomplished with a rotary cutter and quilter rulers.
Before removing the binding examine it front and back.
The binding on my quilt is made with the same fabric as the border. And the front and the back are not the same width. The front was about 1/2" inch wide and the back was about 3/4" - 1" wide.
To preserve as much of the quilt as possible, you want to remove the binding by cutting as straight and close to the binding seam as you can.
Since the binding on my quilt was wider on the back, I removed the back stitching so I could lay the binding flat before cutting it away from the quilt.
Lay the quilt on a table or large cutting surface. If the quilt has an outer border, this can be used as a guide by simply lining up the straight-edge ruler on the inner border seam.
In this case, that is exactly what I did. I lined my ruler on the 8" mark along the border seam. Then, cut along the edge of the quilting ruler.
To trim the corners, align a large square ruler with the desired measurement and trim the fabric on both sides.
Continue removing the frayed binding from the quilt.
STEP 2: Baste Edge
After removing the binding, machine or hand baste along the entire perimeter edge of the quilt. This will hold the backing, batting and top together so it will be easier to sew on the new binding.
STEP 3: a new binding
If possible take the quilt to the shop to purchase new fabric for the binding.
On this quilt, the same fabric was used for the outside border and the binding. I chose fabric for the binding that was “intentionally” different. I opted for a light blue fabric.
How much fabric do you need? How many fabric strips do you need to cut?
We have a handy free quilt binding calculator that will aid in the calculation of the amount of fabric yardage to purchase and the number of strips to cut from the binding fabric.
STEP 4: Make Binding Strips
Most quilter preference is crosswise grain strips which are cut across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage. If you used our quilt binding calculator, cut the required number of binding strips needed as determined by the binding calculator.
Another way of cutting binding strips (which I used for my rebinding) is lengthwise grain strips; where the strips are cut parallel to the selvage. Lengthwise cutting requires fewer strips and fewer binding seams in order to make the necessary length of binding. A disadvantage is more fabric is required.
To cut binding strips my preferred cutting tool is the quilter's slidelock because it holds the fabric securely without any slipping or sliding. A demo and review of the quilter's slidelock can be found here.
To make the crosswise or lengthwise binding you will also need a standard straight edge ruler. Position a standard 24" quilter's ruler on the edge of the fabric at the desired strip width.
Butt the quilter's slidelock against the ruler, press down in the center of the wooden handle, slide the ruler away and cut.
For this tutorial, 8 layers of fabric were cut with one pass of the rotary cutter. Watch the video to see me do it. The quilter's slidelock is suppose to hold up to 10 layers securely.
After cutting the binding strips, join the binding strips together with a diagonal seam.
STEP 5: Attach new binding
There are several ways to sew binding on a quilt. You'll find helpful binding tutorials here.
If you want to be authentic, attach the binding using the original binding technique. Or use whatever technique you prefer.
Again, to keep it authentic, the new binding for this quilt was machine-sewn to the front of the quilt.
It was pressed and folded to the back of the quilt, enclosing the raw edges and held in place with sewing clips.
To finish up, I hand-stitched the binding in place on the back of the quilt. But you can use whatever technique you prefer.
The Final Result
I really like how it turned out.
It was fun to breathe new life into this 30-year-old quilt!
I hope this was a helpful post for anyone who has a quilt that needs the binding replaced. Be sure to pin, bookmark and share. Make sure to check out some of Needlepointers.com's other videos on our YouTube channel. While you're there, please subscribe to our channel so you don't miss future craft projects.
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