Here's how to finish the edges of a place mat, quilt, bag, or other project with continuous binding, which is binding in one long strip with no breaks except where it begins and ends. Love this place mat? Get instructions for it here.

TIP: The type of binding shown here is called double-fold or French-fold. It provides the most durable finish for a raw edge. The 2-1/2x42" strips used for this type of binding are cut on the straight grain of the fabric. Use the crosswise straight grain rather than the lengthwise grain for more give and elasticity.

Materials for Binding:

Enough 2-1/2x42" strips to go around all edges that are to be bound, adding some extra to allow for diagonally seaming and finishing the ends of continuous binding

1. To make binding for place mat, mark a diagonal line on one end of a 2-1/2x42" binding strip. Position and pin strips perpendicular to one another with raw edges aligned and right sides together.


2. Stitch along drawn line to join strips with diagonal seam.


3. Trim seam to 1/4".


4. Press open seam. Trim edges of seam that extend beyond edge of strip. Top strip shows seam pressed open; bottom strip shows diagonal seam from right side. This type of seam eliminates bulk in finished binding. If you have more than two strips for binding, add each strip in the same way as shown here.


5. With the wrong side facing up, fold over 1" at one end of the binding strip; press.


6. Press binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside. The binding strip is now 1-1/4" wide.


7. Place binding strip against the right side of the place mat top along one edge, aligning the binding strip's raw edges with the right side of place mat raw edge (do not start at a corner). Using a 1/4" seam, begin sewing the binding in place 2" from the folded end.


Turn the Corner:

1. Stop sewing when you're 1/4" from the corner.


2. Backstitch a stitch or two, remove from under the sewing-machine presser foot, and clip the threads.


3. Fold binding strip upward, creating a diagonal fold, and finger-press.


4. Holding the diagonal fold in place with your finger, bring the binding strip down in line with the next edge, making a horizontal fold that aligns with the quilt edge.


5.  Start sewing again at the top of the horizontal fold, stitching through all layers. Sew around the place mat, mitering each corner in same manner.


Finish It:

1. When you return to the starting point, encase the binding strip's raw edge inside the folded end and finish sewing to the starting point.


2. Trim the batting and backing fabric even with the quilt top edges if not done earlier.

3.  Turn the binding over the edge to the back; pin binding in place or use binding clips such as Wonder Clips.


4. Thread your needle with thread that matches your backing and binding fabric (we're using black so you can see our stitches). Knot the end of your thread and take one stitch close to the edge of the fabric, so your knot will be hidden underneath the binding.

5. Take a stitch through the backing fabric right underneath the binding. Then pull the needle and thread through the very edge of the binding fabric.


Tip: Don't pull the needle and thread through the batting or front of the project or your stitches will show on the front.

6. Travel your needle through the fold in the binding about 1/4". Pull the thread tight.


7. Continue this process of taking a stitch on the backing fabric and then traveling through the binding until you reach a corner.


8. Fold the corner fabric to make a flat, mitered corner. Take one stitch through the bottom of the corner.


9. Travel the needle through the fold in the binding to get to the center of the corner.


10. Take one stitch in the center of the corner.


11. Travel the needle back through the fold in the binding.


12. Continue this process of taking a stitch on the backing fabric and then traveling through the binding until the binding is hand-stitched in place.