Question & Discussion about Double Folded Binding 

 A Quilting Forum discussion

From time to time I collect a thread of messages about a topic of interest to quilters from our own Quilting Forum. Our Forum is a wonderful group of all levels of quilters who help and advice each other.  This discussion of using double fold binding is an interesting one and so we are sharing it.






The Question:

From: mareyeka (MAREYEKA1)
I double fold all my bindings. In other words, I cut the strips and then fold them in half lengthwise, press them and then attach. I didn't do this at first but after a few quilts, learned this technique and began using, and I have ever since.

Now, I explained this technique to a new quilter (who asked for advice) but another quilter challenged me (not very nicely, either!) and said that she never folds her bindings and that there was no need to, why on earth was I saying to do so?

I explained that I did it this way for two reasons. One, is that it makes the binding stronger because it's two layers and two, I find it easier as I don't have to worry when I'm doing the final sewing on to the back. (I machine stitch the cut edges to the front, and then flip to the back and hand stitch down.).

Now that I've been challenged, I'm wondering, how do most people do their bindings? Single layer or double? I'm not going to change the way I do it, but I thought that the double layer as the most common one.
Marijke, in Montreal

The Discussion:

From: oxala (OXALA1)
For what my opinion is worth, I absolutely agree with you about the double binding and the reasons for using it. It makes logical sense to me. What doesn't make logical sense is why someone would bother to take (rudely, apparently) issue with such advice-it isn't like you were suggesting anything really bizarre!

I have always double folded, and for one reason, it last longer. If you use the quilt, it wears out there first. Double, just logically lasts longer.
From: suntosh
I do mine double AND bias. That makes strong, long-lasting edges for well loved quilts.


From: DryHeatedQuilter (DRYHEATEDQUI)
Don't you just love people who think their way is the ONLY way??? *sigh*
I'm on your side...I do a double binding. Always have, always will. It's how I was taught, and I can't imagine doing it any other way....not that other ways are wrong either!
France in sunny Arizona

From: TRIBO1
I have always done a double fold binding. First thing is that it is much stronger than a single fold, and second is that I happen to think that it looks nicer. Just my two cents here. To each his own. I have read many quilting books and most (if not all) of them have done the double fold binding.

From: Dorothy (DOROTHYA)
I do, for the same reasons you do. First, it lasts longer, and second, because I don't have to worry about pressing under seam allowances - cut it, fold it in half, sew it one, wrap it back and sew it down.

Double fold continuous bias - ALWAYS!!!! I do have a wall hanging that calls for single fold because there are a couple of points and I have had to look up how to do this in a book because I've been doing the double fold continuous bias for so long!!!!

I have a webpage where I address *exactly* that situation. Here's an excerpt from my page ...
"If your quilt has curved edges, if you're doing Celtic knotwork designs, if you want an extremely durable binding (even for straight edges), then bias tape is what you need. So, just WHY do you need bias binding rather than straight-of-grain? Here's what I've learned over the years, both from experience and from my reading.

Straight of grain binding (whether single or double fold) is very economical, as you generally speaking are cutting crosswise (from selvage to selvage), although sometimes, if you are intentionally using a border print, you might be cutting lengthwise (oohh! that's a LOT of yardage there!). Straight of grain binding is also very simple to construct. It is best used on wall hangings or other items that will NOT be getting a lot of use.

Why? Well, when you fold straight of grain binding, you are exposing (theoretically) a single line of thread on the fold. Quilts that are loved to death or items like placemats (ask me how I know about *this* one) get *very* hard use on the edges and that line of thread(s) gets punished by wear. Over the years, through use and laundering, that folded edge *will* wear out and you will be left with two flapping edges instead of a folded binding. You can only use straight-of-grain binding on straight edges, not curved edges, of your quilt simply because the straight-of-grain binding won't "give", which is need to navigate the curves.

[Incidently that sort of hard wear is *the* single-most reason why one should never wrap the backing around to the front for a binding. Yes, it's easy to do, but if you ever have to replace the binding because it has worn through, you're going to have to replace that wrap-around binding with a separate binding anyway. I've also heard that judges will downgrade a quilt for having wrap-around binding, but that's a topic for another discussion.]

The point here is that quilted items that are going to get *used* (as opposed to simply being displayed) will rapidly wear out their binding if it's straight-of-grain.

So, what to do? Well, that's where bias binding comes in so nicely. Since the fabric is cut on the bias, you get a series of crossed threads at the fold instead of a single line of threads. The crossed threads will take the abuse of lotsa loving over time and not fray as quickly as straight-of-grain. You can use bias binding on both straight edges, as well as (obviously) curved edges. In fact, to belabor the point, if you have curved edges on your quilt, you *must* use bias binding if you want the binding to lay flat. You can ALWAYS use bias binding to bind a quilt, whereas there are limitations to where you can reasonably use straight-of-grain binding.

Now, the deal with the "double-fold binding" or "French fold binding" .. and heaven knows where *that* term came from ... that's just a binding that is double thickness but once folded in half and is treated just like single fold binding. The double thickness of bias fabric as binding serves to make this a *very* durable binding method, whether used on straight edges or curved ones. To use it, you align the raw edge of your quilt with the raw edges of the French fold binding (both of them) and sew a scant 1/4" seam. Fold the binding over the seam to enclose it, making sure the folded edge of the binding covers the seam line you just made. Topstitch or hand-stitch in place. You can start your sewing either on the front or back, as is your preference. "

And if you're interested in learning a VERY easy way of making yards and yards and yards of continuous bias tape, surf on over to my webpage at

This webpage also give you a chart on how much bias yardage you can expect to get from a specific length of fabric.
Shelley Rodgers
Walnut Creek, CA

From: warmntoasty
I have never used anything but double fold binding. Not always on the bias however.
i always do a double fold bias binding, for the same reasons all the other posters do - it's easy to the point of being foolproof, and it always turns out nice.
Honestly, I haven't heard of using anything but double fold binding (straight grain or bias) for years and years. Look in any book or magazine published in recent years and you'd be hard pressed to find mention of single fold binding.
From: ClaireFromOz
I do it just like you described and found it to be a very easy way to bind. I learnt to do it using the directions in one of my Patchwork and Quilting mags.

Up until now I have used strips on the grain, but plan to try bias binding 'a la Pirate' for my next attempt :-)
From: doli50
Thank you Shelley - in one of the other threads you answered my question regarding binding. I sewed the continuous BIAS binding as you suggested using the brushed cotton on the flannel quilt. I sewed it on the back fused it down on the front with 1/4" fusible tape (didn't need any pins then and helped with the thickness of the flannel, and machine sewed it on the front with a fancy zigzag. The binding turned out beautiful and I don't think that little boy will be able to tear it up. The only time I have heard anyone say to use singlefold was on wall hangings or on miniature quilts. Personally, I have always used double fold - and will use bias in the future - much easier and finishes so nice.

Hi Marijke,
I suspect that if you'd said you did single fold binding, she would have said you HAD to do double fold.

Some people are snots! No matter how old they are, some cute little granny types have turned VISIOUS about the RIGHT way to QUILT.

Either binding is fine. I do both, I tend to double fold my 'better' quilts, and do a fast single fold... for charity quilts.
I like the sturdy feel of double fold binding.

And sometimes I make it straight of grain, others... on the bias. Depends on amount of fabric I have left over and it's shape.

I'm pretty much and ... know as much as you can person... then I can make informed choices...
Keep warm !
Jane in Austin.
From: mareyeka (MAREYEKA1)
Thank you all. I wasn't trying to be "right," but she did have me wondering as to what others did.

I do have to say that I've never (gulp, confession time) done the binding on the bias. I do plan on trying it though! I'd not heard of doing single bias on a small wall hanging but that would make sense, now that I think about it.

I guess I just feel that the double bias is easier. As was pointed out earlier in the thread, no need to worry about pressing in seams and stuff which is what I was doing in the beginning.
Thanks all!
Marijke, in Montreal

From: Grannyjo(Joan)
Double for me, always! And on the straight of grain, if it's for straight sided quilts.
From: djskatie80
I'm with you. I've tried both ways. I will always do double fold. Leaves a nice smooth, even finished edge to sew down. In my opinion it's easier.

I do mine the exact same way you do.

I know you've heard from several others, but I do it exactly the way you described. I have done both bias and straight cut. I prefer straight cut, as I found when I used the bias that simply pressing the long edge together was giving me stretching problems. I have applied the binding by hand only, by machine only, and have now settled on applying the front by machine and the back wrap by hand. I get the best results that way. I also like that little bit of handwork at the end.

From: Tamaera (TAMAERA1)
Not that I'm a very experienced quilter but the few I have made I've always used double fold. I not only like the way it looks but I think when it's doubled it helps to hide that end edge of the quilt (if you have darker fabrics etc in there or prints). I'm not sure I'd trust a single fold binding.
~~~~Tammy~~~~  Oshkosh, Wisconsin



Susan Druding


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