An imperfect tutorial: Easy ruffled flange binding.

So I have had this binding in my head for some time. I knew how I wanted it to look but hadn’t seen an actual example. It’s easier than it looks, believe me.

100% machine stitched (yay!) and there are a thousand variations.

I love the opportunity to use a contrast color in the binding. The combination of aqua and red is such a happy combo! I’m sure if it weren’t a rainy day in November in Michigan, this quilt would look much more cheery. Sitting there all draped over the rocking chair surrounded by desolate woods makes it look so …. abandoned. Believe me the second I finished taking these shots while standing on freezing cold brick in bare feet, I hightailed it and myself back into my toasty home!

Okay. The imperfect tutorial. Here goes:

First, once your quilt has been quilted, prepare it for binding as you would any other quilt, by trimming the three layers to the same size. Measure all four sides of the quilt and calculate the fabric you’ll need for your ruffle and your bindings. FYI, this is as “mathy” as I get. Anything more difficult and I get that faraway look in my eyes and begin thinking about painting something.

Ruffle:  For the double-sided ruffle I used my gathering foot. A gathering foot is different than a ruffler in that there are no pleats, just gathers, and no complicated equipment to install. For my machine, a Viking, I just pop the gathering foot on. In order to calculate how much fabric I needed for the ruffle, I did a test with a 45″ wide strip of fabric. On my machine, a 45″ strip of fabric gathers to approximately 18″. The finished dimensions of my quilt are 45″ x 44″ x 45″ x 44″. I know, this is where my eyes glaze over too, but believe me, if I can do this part so can you! Just add the four numbers (178″) and divide by 18″ (9.89 rounded up to 10). This means I need TEN widths of 45″ fabric (450″) to gather to 178″. For my quilt, I wanted the ruffles to be 1.5″ deep, finished, so I doubled that to get 3″ and added 1/2″ for seaming. Because of the bulk, I also added 1/4″ just for a fudge factor. So I cut ten strips 45″ x 3 3/4″. My quilt required just over a yard of fabric for the ruffle.

Double/flange binding:  Using that same number calculated above (178″) cut enough strips of the fabric you want to be closest to the center of the quilt (flange) to equal 178″. I cut the strips 1 3/4″ thick to get a 1/4″ flange. If you like a piping look rather than a flange, cut the strip slightly narrower. For the red (contrast) strip above, I cut the strips 1″ thick. I always add more to the length since it’s much easier to lop off excess than to stop what you’re doing to add-on more length.

Once you’ve cut your strips, assemble them into one long strip. Fold your ruffle strip in half the long way and press. I always serge the raw edges to cut down on strings. Run your ruffle strips through the gathering foot and you’ll end up with this!

For the flange/contrast binding strips, Join together with a 1/4″ seam, like this:

Press the binding with raw edges even.

Now to apply the ruffle and binding.  This is the “imperfect” part. I had expected to attach the ruffle and binding with mitered corners so I pivoted at the corners for the ruffle and mitered the binding. That didn’t work when I flipped it over to stitch the binding down. I had to fudge my corners to get some semblance of a miter, but they turned out so bulky and off that I’m not even going to show you a picture. My “easy fix” would be to use a small drinking glass to round the corners of the quilt. The ruffle and binding should look much nicer this way. I don’t have a finished picture to show you since I didn’t do this myself. Sorry. I haven’t yet, in my over forty years of sewing, created a masterpiece that is completely error free. This quilt is no exception. :-)

Okay, on to the binding. Start by flipping your quilt to the back. Machine baste the ruffle, raw edges together as close as you can get to the edge. If you have a walking foot, now would be a very good time to use it. I have one but was too lazy to attach it so I fought with the layers. Duh.

Now, stitch the flange/contrast binding ON TOP of the ruffle, placing the binding like so. This isn’t a great picture, but just remember to place your contrast binding down. Stitch a 1/4″ seam. Just round the corners as I’ve suggested and they should be fine.

Almost done! The final step is to flip the quilt over to the right side. Bring the ruffle and binding to the front and stitch-in-the-ditch! Yay!

Done and done!

As much as I’d love to show you the fabulous machine quilting I did, let me just say this is my first free-motion machine quilting project. I need practice, people! It’s kinda hard. And my back hurts. Oy!


I’m linking up!

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10 thoughts on “An imperfect tutorial: Easy ruffled flange binding.

  1. Ellen, another masterpiece from your creative mind and hands!
    Love the freshness of the fabric prints and colors!

    LOVE that flange binding, so beautiful and adds such a detailed edge that looks complicated!

  2. Enjoyed the tutorial – you did good! I understood every step. I also have a Viking, and need to get a gathering foot. I already have a walking foot and a stitch-in-the-ditch foot. The ditch foot is great for quilting in the ditch! I also need lots of practice doing the free motion thing. Thanks for the inspiration to try that binding – love the look. Sally

  3. I love the extra detail. I think this would work great to finish off tea towels or aprons also. Saves a couple steps in the hemming and attaching ruffles. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I can’t wait to try this. Once I used store bought ruffled binding and could not figure out a nice neat way to join the ends. Although you didn’t show here how you joined the two ends, I can visualize how to do it. Your flange or binding is sewn on separately, so joining he ends should be much simpler.

Sooo....what do you think?

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