Hi, I’m Devi and have been invited to contribute a blog or tutorial.

This blog/tutorial first appeared on my website at the end of last year and may have been seen by a few of you already.  Since writing it people with far more experience of quilting that I have told me that the method is also known by other names but rather than spoil it by mentioning the correct names here I will save them until the end.  I still rather like the idea of a bit of ‘magic’ being involved though.

First of all a confession: I don’t know the technical term for this technique. It certainly isn’t new but it is new to me. For now I will refer to it as a ‘magic’ binding but it could be called a hidden binding or an interface binding.

This method of adding a binding to finish off a quilt is very effective if you don’t want to ‘frame’ your quilt. The absence of a visible binding creates a modern look that is appealing and it’s a method I have now used on a number of projects. The beauty of the technique is that it is remarkably easy and can be applied on quilts of all sizes.

Here is an example of a small quilt I made where I added a ‘magic’ binding. The fabric you can see at the edges is the sashing not the binding. The binding is not visible on the front at all, it is all on the back of the quilt.

And here is an image showing a section of the front and back.

So where is the ‘magic’? To demonstrate the technique I made a small eight point quilt sandwich and added a ‘magic’ binding.

Instead of adding the binding in one continuous length the binding is in four pieces.

I like to use binding that is 2½” wide. That’s just personal choice, so if you like to have a narrower or wider binding just cut the width you prefer. Bear in mind all the binding will be on the back of the quilt and this is an excellent way to use up scraps and the binding won’t be seen!

Measure the sides of the quilt, cut two pieces of the binding to size, starch and then press. I am a great fan of spray starch as it makes fabric so much easier to handle.

Fold the binding in half and place on the edge of the quilt top with the raw edges of the quilt top and binding facing in the same direction.

Using a ¼” seam allowance sew the binding on each side.

Next cut two more pieces of binding but this time make them slightly smaller. The best way to get the correct size is to measure the distance between the two seams on each side of the quilt and take a smidgen off that. The photograph below hopefully shows what I mean.

Spray starch and press the binding in half. Place the folded binding (with the raw edges facing outwards) on top of the quilt top and on top of the binding that you have sewn in place on the sides. If necessary pin the binding to make sure that it does not go past the stitching on the left or right of the side binding strips. The top and bottom binding pieces needs to lie in between the side seams.

Once the top and bottom binding has been applied carefully snip the corners to remove the bulk, making sure that you don’t cut into any of the stitches.

And now for the ‘magic’. Ordinarily if you are adding a binding where the binding is sewn onto the front you would fold the binding so that part the binding remains visible on the front and the rest is on the back and you either finish it by machine or hand. For this technique you have to fold the entire binding on the seam all the way round so that none of the binding is visible on the front. The corners may need a bit of manipulation to get a neater finish and then use Wonder Clips or pins to hold the binding in place.

The last stage is to hand sew the binding in place.

And voilà! ‘Magic’ binding.

As I mentioned earlier, since initially posting the blog on my website, I’ve been told that this method is also known as French binding, or facing, or interface binding.  I do hope you’ll give the method a try and welcome any feedback.


  1. Maggie Attfield

    A nice idea for quilts which need no retraction from the front. I wonder how the seam on the edge will stand up to hard use, though? I remember a QG lady talking about stitched edges traditionally needing several rows of stitching because if this.

    1. Devi Chapman Post author

      That is a very good point. Having said that one can always simply replace the binding. Scraps or mismatching binding can be used as it won’t be seen on the front and shouldn’t affect the overall appearance of the front of the quilt. I tend to use the technique for wall hangings where wear and tear are less of an issue but the potential for wear and tear on a quilt that is used is certainly a possibility.