10 Simple Things (10) - Take Smaller Binding Stitches

encouragement finishing process tips Apr 10, 2024

This one is for the hand finishers. You may not like what I have to say.

Take smaller binding stitches.

Having judged a whole two quilt shows in my life, as well as seeing thousands of quilts over the years, I am dismayed when I see a beautiful quilt finished hastily with big binding stitches. I'm not talking big stitch quilting type binding stitches where you use a thicker thread and make the stitches look like a line of quilting or embroidery. No, I am talking about your ladder stitch or little whipstitch stitches to finish off that binding. These stitches should be 1/4" or less apart. I've seen many well over 1/2" apart. 

To be clear, I am not judging anyone's skill here. No, this is about finishing a quilt so the binding will stay sewn down. The bigger the stitch the more likely it is to get caught, folded, or ripped. A small stitch provides less opportunities for damage. It also happens to look neater.

Will this take longer? 100%. Not the news many people want to hear when they already dread the the time it takes to hand stitch a binding. But rushing only creates future problems. Take some deep breaths, put on a good podcast, and enjoy all these last moments of making.