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I'm Really Bias!

You've probably heard teachers say or read in books to cut your binding on the bias. Do you understand the reason for this?

Have you ever looked at a vintage or antique quilt and thought to yourself, "why did they do the binding that way?" On most of my vintage quilts most of the binding strips have been cut straight of grain. Straight of grain is the weft and warp threads are horizontal and vertical. One reason they might have cut the binding on the straight of grain is because they were using old clothing to make their quilt. Maybe they only had a small amount of fabric to work with. Maybe they thought it was just easier to cut it straight of grain.

The binding gets a lot of wear because that is where you're grabbing to pull the quilt on the bed. It gets handled the most. After spending all my time and money to make a quilt, I want it to stand up to use. Cutting binding strips on the straight of grain makes a weaker binding.

On the straight of grain if a warp thread breaks, that thread runs the whole length of the binding which could be 80" - 100" long. The binding is weakened along the entire edge. If you have several warp threads break, the binding can open up all along the edge.

There are several reasons why it is better to cut your binding on the bias. One reason is it stretches and will go around curves easily. If your quilt has rounded edges, the bias easily curves around the edge because of the stretch. My main reason for cutting bias binding is because it's stronger and can hold up to lots of handling. The warp thread runs from the front of the quilt diagonal to the back of the quilt. It might be a total of 1/2" to 3/4" long. If it wears and breaks, that's all that will be weakened. Several could break and it would still only be that short distance that is weakened.

I know it’s so much easier to just cut the binding straight of grain and use less fabric. But, after all the work I put into making a quilt, I want it to last. I buy quality fabric, thread, and batting to have a high quality quilt. Why skip this step that would make my quilt last years longer?

There are some great YouTube videos on how to make a tube to cut your bias strips. I usually just fold a square of fabric into a triangle and cut on the folded edge of the triangle.

Now I'm wondering if I've made you change how you'll bind your quilts?

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