How to Make Binding for a Quilt + Free Quilt Binding Size Chart

Learn how to make binding for a quilt with our easy step-by-step tutorial. Get our free quilt binding size chart to know exactly how much binding you need for your quilt.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small comission if you make a purchase on any of the affiliated sites (with no additional cost to you). Learn more here.

Aww, binding. This is controversial, but it’s actually one of my favorite parts of making a quilt. I think it’s because it’s one of the last steps before the quilt is finished and it’s the last bit of love you give into the quilt.

I know some of you don’t share my love of binding, and that’s ok. But whether you like it or not, it has to be done.

Before you actually start sewing binding onto your finished quilt sandwich you have to make the binding strip. And that’s what this article is about: learning how to make binding for a quilt.

If you’ve already made your binding strip and you are ready to sew it on the quilt sandwich, please see our Machine Binding Tutorial here.

What is a Binding Strip?

A binding strip is a strip of fabric sewn around the edges of a quilt (kind of like a frame). It covers the raw edges of a quilt sandwich and creates a neat finish to your quilt.

How To Choose Fabric For Binding?

A binding strip is usually made from the same fabric as your quilt top (quilting cotton or something similar).

When choosing the color or print, this really depends on the effect you want to achieve.

For example, you can use a fabric that you used in your quilt top to create a harmonious look. Alternatively, you can use the backing fabric to visually tie the back and front of the quilt together.

What I really like (and we often do around here) is using the binding to create an accent to the quilt, like this stripey binding in our Underlined quilt or this colorful binding I made for a playful baby quilt using fabric scraps from the quilt top.

Difference Between Straight Grain Binding and Bias Binding

There are two main binding strip types: straight grain binding and bias binding.

The difference between the two is in the way you cut the binding strips from yardage. You can cut:

  • along the grain of the fabric (producing straight grain binding) or
  • at a 45-degree angle (producing bias binding)

Straight Grain Binding

There are actually two ways you can cut straight grain binding: either lengthwise (parallelly to the selvage) or crosswise (perpendicularly to the selvage).

Both produce similar binding strips (with the crosswise strips being a tiny bit stretchier). I find cutting crosswise to be the easiest method, so that’s what I recommend.

Straight-grain binding strips work well for rectangular quilts, so if you’re not working with curves, this is your go-to. This is also the method I am describing in the tutorial below.

However, if your quilt has curved edges, you will need to make bias binding. Why? Read on.

Bias Binding

As I explained earlier, when making bias binding, fabric threads are cut at a 45-degree angle. The bias cut makes the binding strip more stretchy and therefore more flexible. This makes it perfect for binding curved edges.

This method does require a bit more yardage than straight grain binding strip (as you cut the fabric diagonally).

We talk about bias binding extensively in How to Make Bias Binding for Quilts, so if you’re dealing with curves or strange shapes, I suggest you head over there. In this tutorial, we’ll be focusing on straight grain binding.

How to make binding for a quilt

How to Calculate Binding?

There is some math that goes into learning how to make binding for a quilt. But don’t worry, I’ll walk you through every step of the way.

Even better, we’ve created an easy quilt binding size chart to help you with avoid the math. So if you want, you can go ahead, and skip to that part, but for all the quilt geeks (I know you’re out there), here’s some theory first.

UPDATE! We now have a handy Quilt Binding Calculator which calculates everything we talk about here: the required length, the number of WOF strips needed, and total yardage (depending on the width of the fabric you are using). It’s very user-friendly, so click here to calculate your binding hassle-free.

How Wide Should Binding Strips Be?

First, you’ll want to decide on the width of the binding strip. The required width of the binding strips depends on how wide you want your finished binding to look.

The standard choices are 2 ¼” or 2 ½”, so if this is your first time making quilt binding you can’t go wrong with either of those. With time you’ll see what width works best for you.

We prefer a narrower look, so most of the time we make 2 ¼” binding strips. This produces a finished binding that is a little less than 3/8″ wide (we use a 1/4″ seam allowance to attach the binding).

How to Calculate the Length of the Binding

To calculate the total length of the binding you need to bind your quilt, measure the dimensions of the finished squared quilt sandwich.

Now, calculate the perimeter of the quilt (2x width + 2x length of the quilt) and add an extra 10-12” to account for joining the ends of the binding strips.


Quilt dimensions: 28” x 37”

Quilt perimeter: 2x 28” + 2x 37” = 130”

Extra 10 inches for joining the ends: 130” + 10” = 140”

I need 140” binding for my quilt.

How Many WOF Strips do I Need?

Now that you know how long your binding needs to be, you need to calculate the number of WOF (width of fabric) strips you need to cut.

To get the number of strips you need to divide the final length of binding needed by the width of the fabric (usually 42”). Round up the result to the nearest whole number.


The final binding length: 140”

Number of strips needed: 140” : 42” = 3,3  — rounded up to 4

I need 4 WOF strips to make my binding.

How Many Yards of Fabric do I Need for Quilt Binding?

Finally, after all this math, you can calculate how much yardage you need for quilt binding.

Simply multiply the number of strips needed by the chosen width of the binding strip.

The number you get is in inches, to get the result in yards divide it by 36. Round up the number to the closest 1/4-yard increment. The result is the yardage you need to make a quilt binding strip for your quilt.

(I suggest buying a couple of inches extra to account for cutting mistakes etc.)


Number of strips needed: 4

Chosen binding width: 2 ¼ ”

Yardage in inches: 4 x 2 ¼ ” = 9”

Yardage in yards: 9” : 36 = ¼ yd

I need 1/4 yd. fabric to make my binding.

Quilt Binding Size Chart

The handy binding reference card includes standard quilt sizes and tells you the total binding length, the number of WOF strips, and the yardage needed to bind the quilt.

Our quilt binding size chart assumes you are making 2 ¼” wide binding strips. If you want to use a different binding width or need a different binding length, use the binding calculator!

So how do you get this chart? Easy! Just sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you the chart as a welcome gift!

How To Make Binding for a Quilt?

After you calculate everything and cut the required number of WOF (width of fabric) strips from yardage, it’s time to sew these fabric strips into a continuous binding strip, which you will later attach to your quilt.

Tools to Sew Quilt Binding:

– Sewing machine
– Straight pins
– Quilting ruler
– Rotary cutter
– Iron & Ironing board

Binding Strip Materials:

– The required number of fabric strips, cut from the chosen fabric
– Thread

How to Make Binding Step by Step:

Step 1

Lay two strip ends right sides together at a 90-degree angle. Use a straight pin to keep the strips in place.

Step 2

Sew a line diagonally from the left corner to the right, as shown in the picture. (If you want, you can draw a line to follow using a fabric marker.)

Step 3

Trim the seam with a ¼” seam allowance (meaning ¼” away from the sewn line).

Step 4

Trim away the dog ears (the little triangles coming form under the strip).

Step 5

Open the seam with your fingers. This will distribute the seam bulk.

Step 6

Sew the remaining WOF strips using the same method to get a long continuous fabric strip.

Step 7

Press the binding. Fold the binding strip wrong sides together along the entire length and press. I like to first fold and press with my fingers before iron-pressing the entire strip.

Don’t forget!

Sign up for our newsletter and get your FREE binding chart!

This is it! You’ve just learned how to make binding for a quilt. The next step now is to sew this binding strip to your quilt. And we’ve got a great Machine Binding Tutorial for Beginners you can follow. Happy binding!

Further Reading

Finish a Quilt in 5 steps

If you’re new to quilting and you’re overwhelmed with how to finish a quilt, here are the 5 basic steps with useful links:

  1. Choose backing for your quilt (we also show you how to calculate yardage here).
  2. Choose batting for your quilt.
  3. Baste the quilt.
  4. Quilt the quilt sandwich (either machine quilt it with a walking foot or hand quilt it).
  5. Make quilt binding and bind your quilt.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small comission if you make a purchase on any of the affiliated sites (with no additional cost to you). Learn more here.

Quilt Binding FAQ

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3 thoughts on “How to Make Binding for a Quilt + Free Quilt Binding Size Chart”

  1. Thank you this chart is so very helpful! I still need a good standard way to join my binding ends seamlessly while sewing on my binding to finished quilt. Do you have a video to help me with this process? Many thanks!

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