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Decorative Binding Techniques for Custom Quilts

Decorative Binding Techniques

scrappy quilt binding

Binding is almost always the last step of making a quilt. So we’re concluding National Quilting Month with creative touches to create decorative bindings for your custom quilts. Read on for FIVE decorative binding techniques to incorporate into your next quilty project.


Piece together leftover fabric strips featured in a quilt to create a scrappy binding. Strips that are 2 1/2″-wide are perfect for this, so grab a jelly roll or cut strips from fabrics in your stash.Save leftover binding strips from other quilts until you have enough to piece together to create the scrappiest binding of them all!

Karie Jewell, of Karie Jewell Quilting, designed the Orange Jewell-ious Quilt for Sulky, featuring a scrappy binding. The binding strips tie in the other fabrics featured in the quilt and finish things off with a special touch. GRAB THE PATTERN NOW>

Orange Jewell-ious Quilt Pattern



Insert flat or corded piping, pom-pom trim or fringe into the binding seam before sewing the final binding fold. Try layering two different types of trim for even more fun. This decorative binding treatment is especially great for kid quilts or fun table runners used for holidays or birthdays.

Baste the trim to the quilt perimeter before the final binding seam is sewn. Then hand sew or machine stitch the binding fold in place, securing the trim.

pom pom trim on binding fold


Insert ribbon loops into binding seam to create a “fidget” quilt for a baby or toddler. Either use the same ribbon or change it up and insert loops of different colors, widths and types for a sensory experience that little ones will love. Small play mats, car seat quilts and throws are the perfect size for a “fidget” quilt.

fidget loops inside binding fold


When was the last time you used a decorative stitch on your sewing machine? Create a stitch sampler with bindings in mind to test out different stitches and save it for future reference. Note the stitch length and width used, and what works for the binding widths you prefer. When securing that last binding fold, choose a decorative stitch that’s sure to penetrate the foldline as well as the quilt and binding, too. Use Sulky 30 wt. Cotton solid or Blendables™ Thread for a nice, pronounced stitch that’s easily seen. You’ll want this handiwork to show!


Quilting the binding is a great way to dress up premade or packaged binding and make it your own. Add matchstick quilting lines to the binding for decorative embellishment. This is particularly pretty with 30 wt. Blendables™ Thread, paired with a 90/14 Quilting Needle. Either mimic the quilting that’s on the quilt itself, or choose equidistant lines or wave stitches for a different look.

The binding shown below is featured on our Quilty Coasters, but this also works on larger quilts, too.

quilting lines along binding

While most may believe that the binding is the last step of making a quilt, you may feel differently now! Custom decorative binding might just become your signature, so play around and discover the possibilities!

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!