Ruffle Binding with Violet Craft

on February 14 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 3 Comments

You probably know Violet Craft from her lovely Madrona Road collection (there’s still a little in the shop!) and as the designer of popular patterns and tutorials like our Society Stripe Skirt. You can see her latest Broken Herringbone Quilt pattern in her shop and on her Violet Craft blog.

Today Violet joins us to show you how to add a ruffle binding to your quilts! She has four different techniques to share, and lots of great tips too. Violet is going to share a little about how she did the words on the mini-quilts (below) later today on her blog, so check it out if you want more info. Tell us about ruffles in the comments… Do you love to add ruffles to the things you sew?! Have you ever tried a ruffle binding?

Oh, hi! Today I want to tell you a little about ruffle binding. You could say I have a bit of a thing for ruffles. In fact, of all the quilts I’ve made in the past three years, only three that I can think of don’t have a ruffle finish of one kind or another.

Freshcut Quilt above from 2010 was completed using the Single Bind Ruffle method.

That doesn’t include the table runners, pillows, mug rugs, skirts and other ruffled stuff I’ve practiced on over the years. I’d like to share some difficulties I’ve overcome, techniques I’ve learned and one method I have been developing myself. I have made four small quilts (or “snack mats”) to use as examples for four methods.

Each of these tutorials will work for rounded or square corners. Ruffles must be at least 2:1 for the corners to naturally lie flat. This means that double the fabric required to go around your project must be gathered into the ruffle fullness. For example, if the perimeter of your project is 40”, you must use at least 80” of fabric strips gathered into the ruffle. If your ruffle is not that full, additional ruffle must be gathered, pinned and sewn in the corners for the ruffle to lie flat with the quilt top.
For our purposes, I have not included instructions on how to make a quilt, create a ruffle or hand-sew binding. When preparing ruffles and binding pieces allow enough length to edge the perimeter of your quilt plus several additional inches for turning corners.

A downside to three of the finishing methods– Quick Turn Ruffle Edge, Self-Bind Ruffle Edge and Single Bind Ruffle– is the bulk created in the edge. In each of these the ruffle seam allowance is turned back on itself to create a double thickness around the perimeter of your quilt. The results are not always as clean as I would like and this is why I have been working on perfecting the fourth method: Double Bind Ruffle. This method does not produce bulk and most closely resembles traditional binding.

Read through all of the methods before deciding which is the best for your project. Good luck and happy ruffling! Because seriously, what’s not happy about ruffles?

Quick Turn Ruffle Edge
This Quick Turn method involves sewing around the four sides of a quilt either omitting quilting, or prior to quilting. Although some quilters would say it is never the appropriate finishing choice, I disagree. If a quilt project falls within a couple of guidelines Quick Turn might be the best choice: a project that will not be quilted– for instance a quilt that will be tied or a pillow covering OR small projects that will be quilted– a small wall hanging, mug rug or table runner. No additional pieces are required and there is no binding visible on your project.

1. Cut all three layers of your project (top, batting and backing) to the exact same size.

2. Press your ruffle as flat and straight as possible and trim seam allowance to ¼”.
3. With ¼” seam allowance, sew the ruffle onto the top layer of your project with right sides together and with raw edges aligned. Take care to pin the corners out of the way so that you won’t sew through them in the next steps. In this example I have chosen to only put ruffles on two sides. I started my ruffle placement at â…œ” from the edge. Press the ruffle firmly flat.

4. Place your top with ruffle face up on your work surface. Layer the backing face down on top of the top. Layer the batting on the top. Ensure they layers are all still the same size. Trim if needed.

5. Mark an opening an appropriate size to pull your entire project through. For this snack mat, I left a 4” opening. For a regular quilt, 12-18” should be sufficient.

6. Using â…œ” seam allowance, sew a seam around all four sides except in area marked for the opening. Clip corners.

7. Turn the project right sides out through the opening. Use a pointed object such as a chopstick to push the corners out. Press out all seams in a smooth line.

8. Hand-stitch the opening closed. Baste and quilt or tie as desired.

Self-Bind Ruffle Edge
The Self-Bind method is aesthetically pleasing to someone who does not want the traditional binding pieces on their project, but is an alternative for those wishing to apply all over quilting to their project. It is not suitable with all quilting methods since the quilting is interrupted around the perimeter of the quilt. In this example I have used a random overlapping rectangles free-motion quilting style. This was easy to stop at a point 2” inside the perimeter and then continue to finish to the edges after the ruffle was applied and bound.

1. Apply the quilting stitches to your project leaving a 2” area with no quilting around the entire perimeter of the quilt. This method works well with quilting patterns that can be stopped 2” from the edge and then filled in during a later step, for example all-over meandering.

2. Flip the project over and pin the 2” unquilted area of the BACKING ONLY towards the center of the quilt to keep it out of the way.

3. Press your ruffle as flat and straight as possible and trim seam allowance to ¼”.

4. With â…œ” seam allowance, sew the ruffle onto the top of the quilt sandwich (top and batting only) with right sides together and with raw edges aligned. Check the ruffle corners to ensure there is enough ruffle slack in the corner to lie flat. After sewing each corner, again hand press out to make certain the corners will lie flat.

5. Remove the pins on the backing and with the backing lying on your work surface, fold seam back into the space between the top and the backing. Press firmly in place.

6. Flip the project over fold the backing in towards the quilt top/batting sandwich and press in the seam.

7. Hand-stitch binding in place. Finish your quilting pattern to the edge of your project.

Single Bind Ruffle
The Single Bind Ruffle method utilizes traditional quilting methods. The project is completely quilting and squared up before applying the ruffle. This is the most commonly used form of ruffle-binding. Other than your quilted project and ruffle, one double-fold binding strip is necessary.

1. Apply the quilting stitches to your project and trim to the desired size and shape. For this example I have quilted with an all-over free motion meandering style and rounded the corners of my project.

2. Press your ruffle as flat and straight as possible and trim seam allowance to ¼”.

3. With ¼” seam allowance, sew the ruffle onto the top of the quilt sandwich with right sides together and with raw edges aligned. For both rounded and square corners, make sure your ruffled corners will lie flat. Pin to the corners and hand press the ruffle out to see that there is enough ruffle slack in the corner to lie flat.

4. After sewing each corner, again hand press out to make certain the corners will lie flat.

5. With â…œ” seam allowance and raw edges together, sew straight of grain double fold binding on top of the ruffle. In this case, the original fabric strips were 2” wide folded and pressed in half lengthwise. For a curved corner, pull the binding taught around the corners as you go. When finished, the corners will begin to curl inward on their own.

6. Flip the project over and pull the binding to the back side of the project. The ruffle should pop out to lie flat with the quilt top. Press binding flat and hand-stitch down.

Double Bind Ruffle
The Double Binding method also utilizes traditional quilting methods and is the most similar to traditional binding. There is no additional bulk in the perimeter and the ruffle lies perfectly flat with the quilt top. Other than your quilted project and ruffle, two double-fold binding strips are necessary. In this example, binding strips are 2” wide, folded and pressed in half lengthwise

1. Apply the quilting stitches to your project and trim to the desired size and shape. For this example I have quilted with an all-over echo style around the word “hello” and squared the corners of my project.

2. Press your ruffle as flat and straight as possible and trim seam allowance to ¼”.

3. With raw edges aligned, layer a binding strip, ruffle and binding strip. I chose to stagger my starting places by 1 ½” so that the seams would not be all in one place when it was time to hand-sew them closed. This will add one step to the alignment of the brinding ends but produces a smoother finish to the allover appearance of the binding. Sew together the three pieces from beginning to end.

4. Lay your project flat on your work surface and align the raw edges of your project with the raw edges of your ruffle binding sandwich. Pin only the first few inches in place. Begin to secure in place using a wide zigzag stitch.

5. When you are a few inches from the corner, trim a small curve into the seam allowance as shown to help turn the corner as sharply as possible. This is the only method in which what you see is what you get in terms of the ruffle flatness on the corners. If the ruffle is lying flat where sewn, it will lie flat when completed. I prefer not to pin at this point and turn the corner by hand as I sew it in place. Note the ruffle should lie flat, but the binding will naturally curve upwards and away from the ruffle at the corner turns.

6. When you get two inches away from the closest of the staggered edges of the binding where you began sewing the sandwich to the project, stop and remove the project from your sewing machine.

7. With the project lying flat on your work surface determine where each of the binding layers will butt up against their partners. Cut the remaining binding sandwich off approximately ½” longer than the furthest point which it will align. Remove the stitches holding the binding and ruffle together all the way back to where you stopped sewing the binding down. Cut each piece ½” longer than the point which it will align. Fold and press the ½” of each piece under to create a smooth enclosed edge to butt up against each partner piece. Once all three pieces are pressed and aligned to your satisfaction, re-sew the sandwich together, taking care to align each piece to its partner while sewing in place.

8. Finish attaching the binding sandwich to the project with wide zigzag stitch.

9. Press the binding forward on the front of the project and hand-stitch down. Flip the project over and repeat for the back.

Project Examples: Alternatives, Mistakes and Wins!
In this example, my Freshcut Quilt-uvet, I used the Single Bind Ruffle method. In place of a binding strip I sewed an entire envelope back creating a duvet cover. This is similar to how a quilted pillow cover would be assembled, just MUCH larger! In place of hand-sewing the binding, I machine stitched the back to the quilted portion with a double round of top-stitching.

In this table runner I used the Quick Turn Ruffle Edge method on two sides. Once completed, I finished with meandering free motion quilting all the way to the edges.

This shows my first attempt at Self-Bind Ruffle Edges on my Gypsy Caravan quilt. I used a double set of ruffles for this quilt. You can see that I didn’t allow for enough ruffle in the corners so it doesn’t lie extremely flat without being ironed into submission. Also, my handstitching of the self-bind on the back is sloppy at best.

The second time around with Self-Bind Ruffle Edges on my Obsession On Point Flea Market Fancy quilt turned out much better. I turned the corner more effectively, but probably still could have used a little more ruffle in the corners. My hand-sewing on the back is a little cleaner. I used meandering free-motion so it was simple to fill in the last few inches up to the perimeter of the quilt.

My final example is my Lock & Key quilt from Spring 2012 Quilt Market. The pattern hasn’t been released yet so there aren’t any additional pictures on my blog yet. This was my first attempt at the Double Bind Ruffle. You can see that I (again!) wasn’t paying attention to the ruffle lying flat. Also, for this first attempt I didn’t use double-fold binding. This made the binding weak and not lie as flat and crisp as I would like. It was also a nightmare to work with. My binding corners were not sharp either.

All in all though, not one of the mistakes above bothers me. In the scheme of a large quilt the ruffles add a fun, flirty detail and were worth the extra fabric and effort. I am happy that I’ve gotten closer to perfecting my techniques and look forward to even more ruffles in my future!

Thanks for reading and check out my blog at violetcraft.com for some details on the thread-painting used on these mini-quilts.

Pin It

Related Posts

3 Responses to Ruffle Binding with Violet Craft

  1. Do you have instructions for a ruffle that is attached to binding? I see what you have here but I bought this from wrights I am new to quilting & I am having trouble trying to get around the edge. You have the ruffle with a front binding & the back. I think you put the salvage of the front binding to the front of the quilt & than sew down the fold but then how do you do this & get around the corners. Is there a visual for this somewhere?

  2. Sarah Park says:

    I love seeing ruffles around. They add femininity to a plain fabric.

  3. Sam says:

    These would make really pretty placemats. Thanks for the tutorial!

« »

Subscribe to the sewmamasew.com newsletter

Sewing inspiration, projects, events and offers delivered conveniently to your email.

SUBSCRIBE +

Get the latest sewmamasew.com news via