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Magic Strip Binding
featured as the Easy Lesson in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, Dec/Jan 2010
CLICK HERE
to download PDF for printing.

Cut 2 1/2" strips for binding; sew strips together to equal quilt perimeter plus at least 10 inches; press in half lengthwise. Also cut a 3/4" strip of matching or contrasting fabric to use on the front side (this will be your “Magic Strip”). If quilt corners are rounded, sew the Magic Strips together to equal quilt perimeter plus a few inches. If quilt has angled corners, you only have to sew strips together to equal each side measurement.

I love bias binding, but you could use straight-cut binding if your quilt has straight sides and angled corners. You can avoid mitering corners if you use bias binding and round the corners of the quilt. These directions assume you are familiar with the traditional method of applying binding.

This sample uses contrasting fabrics for the binding and Magic Strip, but I would recommend using the same fabric for both on your first few projects. Once you’re comfortable with the process and happy with the look, try contrasting fabrics for an extra design element.


Press Magic Strip toward edge of quilt.
All raw edges are now along the quilt edge.
Starting in the middle of one side of the quilt, pin double-fold binding to the quilt BACK, raw edges even with edge of quilt (leave a 10” tail of binding unpinned at the beginning). Pin the 3/4" wide Magic Strip to the quilt FRONT, right side down (flat, not folded), aligned with raw edge of quilt. Turn quilt over; apply binding by stitching a 3/8" seam from the back side, sewing thru all layers. Stitch until 3/8" from the corner; pivot and stitch off the corner. Turn quilt over to the front and trim Magic Strip even with edge of the quilt (pictured above).

Lay a new Magic Strip on top of the
next side of the quilt, right side down.

Press Magic Strip to the outside of the quilt. Repeat this process until you get back to where you started. Use your favorite method of connecting the binding ends.
From the back, handle the double fold binding as usual to form the miter. Stitch binding to second side of quilt through all layers (Magic Strip is the bottom layer).

Wrap binding from the back to the front, almost completely overlapping the Magic Strip. Pin.

Miter the corners. In this picture, the binding to the right of the corner is pushed under the left side to balance the bulk in the corner.

Continue pinning around edge.

Stitch through all layers, along the folded edge of the binding.
(I always use a walking foot to apply binding.)

Here’s the finished front. The stitching on the back will always lie on the binding fabric. It will never appear on the quilt backing.