Apply Binding with your Longarm Machine

Here is a short little lesson on how to apply binding to a quilt with your longarm machine.

We do this for lots of clients.  They like it because they don’t have to struggle with the bulk and weight of the quilt while feeding it through their domestic machine.

Usually the client brings binding already made.  In this case, she brought the fabric, I cut the strips at 3″, sewed them together and pressed in half lengthwise.  The binding was ready to apply.

After you have quilted the quilt (Steve did this one) leave the quilt on the machine, just where you finished.  We always start on the bottom edge of the quilt, approximately 10-12″ from the right corner….as it looks on the machine from the front.  Pin the binding at the starting point.  (shown below)  Start sewing the binding on with the longarm, about 4″ from the pin.  This leaves a place unsewn where you will tuck in the tail as your last step.  You can use a ruler if you like, but we dont.  You will be sewing from right to left across the bottom, all the way to the corner.  Stop about 1/4″ from the corner.  We use the hopping foot as a guide along the edge of the quilt and binding.

Note:  This is the ONLY time we ever use our needle down feature on our Gammill.  With needle down, it holds the binding in place while adjusting the next section you will sew.  It also allows you to put on the entire binding with only one start and stop.


Turn the corner by mitering, just as you do when you apply binding on your domestic machine.  If you dont know how to do this well, I suggest you look in the general instructions in the back of most Leisure Arts quilting books.

Now you will be going up the left hand side of the quilt from bottom to top.


I usually have the whole long binding dragging on the floor at this point, off to my left.  Be careful…..


Or OOPS!  it will get run over by your wheels.  (wish I had a dollar for every time I have done that!)


Continue sewing until you are to the take up roller.  Leaving needle down, carefully release the take up roller and position machine toward front of machine so you are ready to continue up the left side.  Keep repeating until you are to the top and turn the left top corner, mitering as usual.

Continue to apply binding across the top edge of the quilt.

Sometimes, a corner isn’t very square.  I like to “fix” that for the client by applying the binding squarely, even though that corner was not square when the client made the top.  If you look carefully, you can see below how I did that.


Continue sewing the binding on the right side of the quilt.  Again, you will use needle down position for each time you need to roll the quilt to the next section.  At the bottom right hand corner, turn and miter the corner.  You should be close to where you started now, and will usually have a long tail of binding left.


I cut this off at an angle, so that the pointy end sticks down into the first part of the binding and makes an overlap of several inches.


Tuck in that excess, hold it flat and stitch the remaining few inches.


And now you are done!  Wasn’t that easy?


This entire process took a half hour (including stopping to take photos!) on this queen size quilt.  Usually it is about a 20 minute job.

A good money maker, easy for the client…… WIN-WIN!

Hope that helps someone…. happy binding!



24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vicki W
    Aug 24, 2007 @ 17:42:35

    thanks Gayle! Excellent tutorial. I haven’t had the nerve to try this yet but will soon.


  2. Nancy Hughson
    Aug 24, 2007 @ 21:15:18

    Great tutorial Gayle!! Exactly how its done.


  3. wiquilter
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 08:39:07

    Thank You Gayle! I’m going to give this a try.
    Great pictures.


  4. AllenQuilts
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 09:45:44

    Wow, thanks Gayle, for taking time to post these instructions. I’m a little dense sometimes :-), so I’m not completely clear on the beginning and ending part, but maybe when I actually try it for the first time, the fog will lift from my brain…lol.


  5. Lynn Douglass
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 13:02:11

    I’ve always wondered how anyone could do this. I’m a visual learner, so the pictures were a real eye opener for me! It would take a heck of a lot longer to stitch that down on a domestic machine, and my hands would be killing me! Thanks so much, Gayle!


  6. Jan Thompson
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 17:57:36

    Thanks for the tutorial, Gayle – it actually does look easy.


  7. Eileen Keane
    Aug 25, 2007 @ 22:25:44

    Thanks, Gayle. I’ve been so hesitant to do this, but you’ve made it look easy. I’ll have to give it a shot on one of my own quilts, though, before offering it to customers.


  8. TeresaL
    Aug 27, 2007 @ 15:31:39

    Gayle, thank you for doing this tutorial! 😀


  9. Gina
    Aug 27, 2007 @ 17:06:29

    Hey Gayle, I NEEDED to see that in photos! I waste soooooooooooooooooooooo much time wrestling them on the DSM! Again, Thank you:)


  10. Peggy
    Aug 30, 2007 @ 21:16:18

    Hey Gayle. I haven’t checked out blogs for an age, and lo and behold, here is this fantastic tutorial. I sure chose the right time!

    What a great job.

    Thanks for the lesson.


  11. Diane F
    Sep 02, 2007 @ 15:52:03

    OMG, my light bulb just went on. Thanks Gayle.


  12. Gina
    Sep 08, 2007 @ 16:07:26

    Gayle, I had to come in this morning and give Another shout out and a personal THANK YOU SO MUCH for this tutorial! I did 2 yesterday , and I gotta tell ya… THIS has made my life so much easier!20 minutes, queens! DONE! BEAUTIFUL! NO WRESTLING! YIPEE!!!!


  13. Susan Contreras
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 07:08:25

    Thank you! I will certainly try this one!! you made it look so easy!


  14. Jo Ann
    May 17, 2008 @ 01:58:20

    Great tutorial, Gayle!


  15. ramona-quilter
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 11:48:57

    Gayle – I had heard that this could be done but just could not see how. This tutorial showed me (in photos and words) the steps. Thanks so much.


  16. Aggie
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 06:56:06

    Wow I can.t wait to try this out… Great pics and instructions… thanks….


  17. Debra McCracken
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 10:22:41

    I am definitely going to try this now too… I took a class from Debbie Wendt at Innovations and her suggestion was to put the binding into a ziploc bag and close it most of the way. Then feed it out of the open part and then you don’t have to worry about it dragging!

    Thanx for the tutorial!


  18. Linda Vitzthum
    Nov 12, 2014 @ 00:14:45

    How do you do the back side of the quilt with this binding?


    • Gayle
      Nov 12, 2014 @ 00:20:59

      Hi Linda,
      When using this method of attaching the binding to the front of the quilt by longarm, I trim the excess batting and backing, then flip the binding to the back and sew it down by hand.


      • Linda Vitzthum
        Nov 12, 2014 @ 01:02:36

        Whew! I was worried, thought there was something I was missing, lol! I just started quilting on an older Grace Queen frame, bought a Viking quilting machine to do this, and I’m almost ready to do binding. Saw your site, liked the tutorial, but I wasn’t sure about the back part. Thanks for responding so quickly – have a great rest of the night . . . I’m here in The Great Land, Alaska!

  19. Marsha Nichols
    Jul 17, 2015 @ 08:39:58

    great tutorial. Where can I get a printed copy of the pictures and instructions? I have to read, re-read and look at pictures several times to remember the process. Thanks
    Marsha Nichols


    • Gayle
      Jul 17, 2015 @ 09:44:29

      Glad the tutorial is helpful to you. You should be able to print it right from your computer.
      At least, I can, using my desktop and Windows.


  20. Charlene Bezdicek
    Aug 18, 2017 @ 13:17:19

    Hi. This seems like a long shot but are you the Gayle from Great Falls Montana?


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