How to Cut Fabric for Quilt Binding

Antique Iron And Pressing Board image by Scott Williams from

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Calculator
  • Binding fabric
  • Iron
  • Cutting mat
  • Quilting straight edge
  • Rotary cutter

When you finish piecing and quilting a quilt, you are almost finished with the intricate work. The last step you must complete to finish your work of art is binding the quilt. Binding is finishing the outer edge of the quilt by attaching a strip of fabric to encase it. Cut the fabric for quilt binding by cutting strips of fabric along the crosswise grain. The crosswise grain of fabric is perpendicular to the selvage edges.

Measure the length and width of the quilt with the tape measure, and add all four sides together. Add 12 inches to this total to provide extra binding. The final amount is the number of inches of binding you will need.

Divide the total from Step 1 by 40 (an average fabric width) to find the number of strips you will need. Multiply this answer by the width of your binding strips (generally 2.5 inches) to find the total number of fabric inches you will need to purchase of binding fabric. For example, if you determine you need 27 inches of binding fabric, this is approximately 3/4 yard of fabric.

Iron the fabric to remove all wrinkles. Fold the fabric in half with the right sides of the fabric facing out, matching up the selvage edges. The selvage edges are the fabric edges that often have printing. Iron the fold to ensure that it is crisp and flat.

Place the folded fabric onto the cutting mat so that the fold is at the top and the selvage edges are at the bottom nearest you.

Place the straight-edge ruler onto the fabric at the right edge and square the ruler over the fabric, using the folded edge and the markings on the ruler. Trim away any excess fabric along the right edge of the fabric with the rotary cutter to square the fabric. Hold the ruler tightly and run the rotary cutter carefully along the edge of the fabric to cut the fabric accurately.

Flip the fabric over so that the squared edge you just cut is on the left edge of the mat.

Place the quilting ruler over the fabric to cut your first binding strip 2.5 inches wide. Continue moving the ruler over to cut as many 2.5-inch binding strips as you need to bind your quilt.