Flange Binding

A few months ago, at a day-long sew-in, I sat next to a quilter who was sewing a flange binding on to her wall hanging.  I LOVED the look, it gives the quilt a special little pop and finish.  That day, she showed several of us fellow quilters how to do it, but I didn’t have the right quilt to try it out on until now.

This is my friend Brandy’s quilt; she hired me to do the binding work on it.  She graciously gave me permission to experiment and play with adding a flange.

After I measured the perimeter of the quilt and determined the length of the binding – 310 inches – I cut several strips of pink at 1″ wide, and several of yellow at 1.25″ wide.   I like a fairly narrow binding; you can cut yours wider if you wish.  The easiest thing to remember is to simply cut your flange fabric 1/4″ wider than your binding fabric.

After sewing all the strips together so I had one long pink strip and one long yellow strip, I sewed them, right sides together, lengthwise.

I pressed towards the binding (pink), then folded it lengthwise with raw edges even, and pressed again.  You can see the yellow flange peeking out at the bottom.

I sewed the binding on the quilt.  A flange binding is different from a regular binding in that you do not first sew it on the front  –  you sew it to the back.  I aligned the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the back of the quilt quilt, and sewed.

Notice how I sewed with with flange fabric facing up. If you sew it with the binding fabric facing up, call me, I’ll bring my seam ripper and a couple of bottles of wine.

When you get to the corners, you treat them exactly the same as you would with normal binding:

Stitch along the edge until you get 1/4″ away from the corner, turn and sew off the corner.

Fold the binding diagonally and up so the raw edge is even with the raw edge of the quilt.

See how my finger is holding the bottom left corner of the binding in place?  You want that corner to stay right there.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Fold the binding back down, keeping the raw edges of the binding aligned with the raw edge of the quilt (on the right side).  The binding fold at the top should be even with the top edge of the quilt.

Starting from the top edge and keeping raw edges aligned, sew with a 1/4″ seam down to the next corner.

Lather, rinse, repeat.Here is how I join the ends of my bindings.  This method works perfectly no matter how wide your binding is or what kind you use – with or without flange.  First, measure how wide the binding is.  In my case, it’s 1 3/4″.

Then I overlap the ends by that measurement – see the green dotted line?  That’s where I cut the end off that strip.  Don’t cut the bottom strip, though, or you’ll need to start all over and I’ll have to bring more wine.

I stuck a pin through the seam where the pink and yellow fabrics met.  More green dotted lines to help you see exactly where…

Here’s the inside view.  You can see how the pin goes right through the center of those seams.

Then I stitched the two strips together diagonally, making sure I went right over the spot where the two seams met.  See the red dotted line?  That is where you sew.


Press that last section of binding together, raw edges even, and finish stitching it to the back of your quilt.

Now it’s time to flip the binding around to the front of the quilt and sew.

I used a color of thread that blended well with the yellow, and stitched in the ditch, right at the edge of the pink binding.

When I got to the corners, I folded the binding into a miter and held it in place with a stiletto.  I stitched as close to the corner as I could get before I turned the quilt.  I reduced my stitch length on a couple of corners because doing that enabled me to get right next to the pink binding without stitching into it.

And it’s done!  Here’s the front:

Front and back together:

I was very pleased at how quick and easy this binding was.  Brandy loved it and really liked the extra detail provided by the yellow flange.  I hope this inspires you to try a flange binding on your next quilt!


29 thoughts on “Flange Binding

  1. Neat little tutorial. I gave it a go yesterday. Your sewing skills are better than mine. I struggled with such a tight binding. Even though it came out quite nice, I think I’ll be adding a 1/4″ to the strips in the future. The pictures were a great help in finishing the ends. Thanks for taking the time to share instructions.

  2. I am trying to figure out the width of the binding with the flange pressing the
    flange to to the middle.
    I hope you can figure it out for me I used 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 for the fabric.
    seems like I should bed trimming them to the same width?

    • Hi Marianna,
      No, if you trim them to the same width, you won’t have a contrasting flange showing. Sew the strips together, then fold it lengthwise with the raw edges together, as it shows in the tutorial.

  3. Great Loved it and will try it very soon Please keep me in the loop when you have more great ideas. Marolyn

  4. I hope to do this technique on a large hand appliqued quilt this week and would like to add a narrow cording inside the flange, can I use a continuous bias binding and perhaps slip the cording into the flange color as I sew strips together? Can I use a Double-fold (French-fold) Binding? or would that be to bulky?

    Your tutorial sure has gotten my mind spinning and I am looking forward to do flange binding on some of my quilts, thank-you for the information.

    • Hi Louise,
      Wow, that’s a great idea! I don’t see why you couldn’t use a cording, although going around the corners will be interesting. I would make a little 12″ practice quilt out of scraps and try it on that first. It would be a shame to sew all that binding together and then not have it work like you wanted it to. I don’t see why you couldn’t use a French fold binding, but as I said, make a sample first.
      Does your quilt have curves? Personally, I would not use a bias binding unless it has curves or some other kind of shape that requires flexibility. I have a tendency to pull my binding taut, and I would invariably stretch it and cause my quilt to warp. But that’s just me. 🙂
      Please send a picture of your quilt when you get the binding finished, I’d love to see it!

  5. Never heard of this type of binding until recently. Your tutorial is well written, easy to follow and your supporting pictures are fantastic. But the best bit – your witticisms, I found myself laughing out loud at the vision of you and bottles of wine and a stitch ripper. Brilliant. Thanks for much for explaining this brilliant technique – I will be having a go on a baby quilt I am currently making. Thanks again.

  6. This is probably the most useful tutorial I have ever found. I love the flange binding – how it looks, how it works and how easy it really is. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Hi – thank you so much for this. Is there ANY way it will work by machine to the front and hand finish to back? I’ve been trying on scraps for over 2 hrs, and am about to re-evaluate whether it’s too early for wine,

  8. As a follow up to my previous post, I ended up attaching it to the quilt front with a long “basting” stitch by machine. Then, I lifted the flange on the front and did the hand attachment stitch there. After I removed the machine baste, completely invisible!!! YAY!!

  9. Thank you for this tutorial! I followed your directions on a table topper and am so pleased with the results!

  10. Wonderful tutorial! It was so easy to follow! Wish they were all so precise. Thank you for taking the time to help so many of us (!) Learn to do this well! Barbara

  11. Thank you so much! I saw this binding on a quilt at a show, and loved it. My plan was to try to figure it out, but It clearly doesn’t work when you begin on the front side! I’m glad to know I can do it now.

  12. Absolutely loved your tutorial! Have a quilt ready to bind, and my scant directions from a year’s ago quilting retreat had left with several questions that you have now
    Excellently answered! I am excited to do it now. Thank you !

  13. I usually make my binding 2-1/2 inches wide would I be making the flange material smaller? I tried it once and my flange did not come out even in all places. Any suggestions? I love the look and the fact that I can sew the binding on.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Terri,
      You want your flange fabric to be 1/4″ narrower than your main fabric. After you sew them together, line up the raw edges and keep them aligned as you sew the binding onto the quilt. I don’t normally press my binding in half, but you can if you think it would help. As long as your strips are cut straight, your seams are sewn straight, and you sew the binding on straight, I think you will be fine. 🙂

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