How Much Binding Do I Need?

Binding on Signac's Table

I’ve just completed a binding marathon: five quilts in two days. I love creating bindings and using unique fabrics for them. However, I’m not great at determining how much binding I need for a quilt. So I always just guessed at it and ended up with too much and lots of leftover pieces.

Until now. I found this fantastic method, and after testing it with five quilts I can confidently say it works every time. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Add the measurements of all four sides of your quilt.
  2. Add 20″ to that number to allow for seams and the binding start/finish.
  3. Multiply your sum by the width of your binding, usually 2.25 (2-1/4″).
  4. Take that number and get its square root. There are lots of online calculators for doing this, including this one.

Your result is the size of the square you need to cut enough bias binding to bind your quilt. Really. It’s that simple.

Here’s an example for one of my quilts:

  1. The quilt is 58″ square. So in adding up all four sides, I get 58″x4= 232″.
  2. Now I add 20″ to that number: 232″ + 20″ = 252″.
  3. Multiply my total by the binding width: 252 x 2.25=567″
  4. Get the square root: 23.81 or 24″ rounded up.

I need a 24″ square to cut enough 2-1/4″ binding for my quilt. That tells me a fat quarter isn’t enough.

Hope you find this useful. Bookmark it and use it often. It saved me from cutting too much fabric for my bindings. And I love looking like a math person, when I’m really not!

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