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27. Machine vs. Hand Binding

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Hi there. I’m Nicole Gilbert and you’ve joined the stop scrolling start sewing podcast. Are you new to sewing and want to start quilting, but have no idea where to begin each Wednesday? Join me as I share the ins and outs of that quote light. If you don’t have a sewing machine, have no idea how much fabric you need, or you’re just trying to figure out where the heck to stick that bobbin. This is the podcast for you.

Hey folks. Welcome to episode 27 of the stop scrolling start selling podcast. I’m your host, Nicole Gilbert. And I am ecstatic that you are here with me on today’s episode. I’m going deep on a hot button issue. That’s right. Binding, mainly machine binding versus hand binding. And no matter which side you land on, you’ve probably got some pretty strong feelings attached to why you do or don’t use the method. Okay. So I personally, I’m sure you’re like, of course, Nicole, I know what you’re going to say. I’m a hybrid person myself. I know. So here’s the thing. I know that there’s a lot of people who were taught to hand bind and so only hand bind and there’s people who are taught the hybrid method, which is what I do. And then there are people who are taught the machine method and usually most people stick to the way that they were taught, the way that they start.

Um, but occasionally people deviate. I am a deviator and I definitely see the benefits of everything, but I was taught to machine bind when I learned how to quilt. Um, and really, I, um, just kind of asked those who were a little more seasoned than I was like, how the heck do I finish this thing? And they all kind of all were like, Oh, you adorable, Wipper snapper. You should machine bind. Mostly because I think that they just thought all the new girls would machine bite. And so I machine bound and I did it for years. I now do hybrid. And if you’re not familiar with hybrid, um, it is actually a mix of both hand binding and machine binding. So what I do is I machine bind my binding to the back. I wrap it around to the front and then I do hand invisible stitches on the front.

So you never see any of my stitches similar to like when you are hand binding a quilt. However, I do speak to that first step because I use a machine on the first part. Now that’s myself in the modern quilters Academy. I actually teach my students to machine bind. Um, mostly because I think that they need a win. They need like a quick win and it is much faster to, um, to finish a quilt with the machine binding versus hand binding. And also it’s sturdier. Um, I’m sure many of you out there who have donated a quilts to quilts for kids or st Jude’s or any of these other programs, which are amazing. And if you aren’t familiar with them, I will link to them in the show notes, the modern culture seven. So you can learn about these they’re amazing charities anyway, but in these kinds of charities, they ask you to machine stitch everything, because it’s typically a surge of your stitch and these quilts are getting washed often.

Um, and, but anyway, it’s, it’s quicker and it’s sturdier. And the reason why that’s really important for my students is that, um, they’re still in the learning phase. They’re still figuring everything out. And the cool thing about the Academy is that by the time you’re done, you’ve made a quilt and you’ve really done all the steps, um, without it being like a super basic square block quilt. Um, and so it’s, it’s a cool wind, but also I want them to not get bogged down and frustrated at every step. And I think machine quilting is one of those things where like you can successfully machine quilt your first time without any real hiccups besides like, Oh, that was a little lumpy or, Oh, it could’ve looked better or, Oh, my miter corners are kind of janky, you know, but it’s good. I’ve noticed that the first time I, a hundred percent hand bound a quilt, um, I did not trust that quilt to stay together if I’m being a hundred percent honest, I really truly didn’t.

Um, and I just, uh, I think it’s a big endeavor now. I know there’s tons of people out there. I think most people out there and definitely most people who are quilters who are a little bit more seasoned than I am meaning a little bit older than I am. Um, they learned how to hand bind, and that’s the only way that they’ve bound. And so if you do some Googling, you’ll actually see whole forums where these women who are hand binding quilts, can’t get the knack of machine binding quilts, which, um, I think is pretty impressive because I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m so impressed with your hand binding skills. So you gotta kinda, you know, everybody’s different. Um, and the method that you learn tends to stick with you, but, um, I kind of wanted to go over what is involved with handwriting machine binding and hybrid binding. I went a little over hybrid already and then kind of some pros and cons. So I will start with hand binding and I would say the largest pro forehand binding is that when it’s complete, the stitches are a hundred percent invisible, which can look spec tacular when done properly. Oh my gosh. It could be absolutely beautiful. Um, what is the Cod

Is that you have to be a really good,

Well, no, you don’t have to be a really good quilter. I hate saying that. Let me rewind that I take that back. You have to be consistent with your stitch lengths in order to bind a quilt, that’s going to be used often. A lot of people only hand bind their heirloom heirloom or hand quilted quilts because it’s like a continuity thing, um, that perfection and like bang on teeny tiny stitches that sewing machines get. You don’t really want that on a gorgeous heirloom wedding gift quilts, kind of a thing. Um,

You don’t want to mix of it really. So you don’t want to have put in all this time and effort in all this hand quilting, and then you finish with a line of machine stitches. Like that’s not cool. Um, it, another big pro for hand binding I’ve noticed is that it is a great way for somebody who’s put so much time and effort into a quilt. Like we all do. We put so much time and effort and energy into these quilts and it’s like one last hurrah, um, machine binding can go by quick. You can do it in an afternoon. No problem. Um, hand binding is going to take you a minute. And so I just always get this like Norman Rockwell picture in my mind of a woman curled up on a couch, hand, binding a quilt while she’s, you know, talking about her husband’s day.

Like I get this Norman Rockwell thing going on in my head, but really like totally watch reruns of Gilmore girls while high and binding. Awesome. It’s great. And I like that. I like that like comfy cozy. I can do it, you know, relaxing on the couch with my husband at the end of a long day where we can’t really do that with sewing machine binding. Cause like I’m at my sewing machine. Um, the also when you’re hand stitching your binding, it gives you this awesome like way to put a last little flare to it. So yes, I talked about how amazing invisible stitches are, and that is my preferred method for hand stitching, but it’s also because I don’t usually do it. So like when I do it, I really want to go for that look. Um, but a lot of people out there who hand buy and have like a signature hand stitch like a, like a really cool running stitch that they do or nodding or, um, even some really basic like florals and like Holy cow, those things are amazing.

Um, and so that is another thing that is, is just really cool and unique that, um, really should, should bear some thought, cause it’s kinda like, Oh, interesting. I could do that. Um, and also one of my favorite things is bragging rights. Of course I love, I mean with quilting in general, I’m like, yeah, I made that. Yup. Me, I made it super cool. Um, but when you can say you hand stitch the thing, that’s a whole nother level of bragging rights, so that’s always awesome. Um, and also I do think that regardless of what camp you land in, you should try hands, hand binding, at least once it’s like one of those things that you just gotta try, you gotta be like, okay, I tried it it’s for me. It’s not for me, whatever the case may be. I definitely think everybody should try to hand bind at least once, even if it’s a potholder, like just do it once.

Okay. So w hand binding itself. So I’ve kind of talked about some pros and cons there, but, um, handwriting itself, all of the bindings are usually done in a very similar fashion. You attached to one side, you wrap it around, you touch to the front. Um, the big thing with hint binding is that you are using those invisible stitches. Okay. So now let’s talk about machine binding. Now I started out machine binding and, um, it’s something I still do. It’s not my preferred method at this point in time, but I do still do it. I think it’s an important thing that everybody knows how to do it because sometimes you do just need to whip out quilts. And also, like I mentioned earlier, those donation and charities will usually only take machine quilted and bound, um, quilts simply because those quilts are getting washed and like industrial washers and, and they’re, they’re, they’re getting a hard life.

Um, and they’re doing such amazing things for these children and these patients, but machines provide a little bit more stability than hands now. A big pro for machine binding is that it is much easier on your hands. So for those of you who have arthritis or may have, you know, any other mobility issues, especially in regards to your hands, it can be really difficult to create those consistent, even strong stitches with a needle and thread by hand. And so obviously a sewing machine AIDS you in that. And, uh, for the most part, I think that is why a lot of people jumped ship from hand binding to machine binding is that they start to have some issues in their hands. And so the sewing machine allows them to keep quilting. Um, and I love that it is also so much faster. Like I usually bind my quilts in one sitting.

Um, I honestly can’t remember the last time. I didn’t mind a quilt by machine in, um, in more than one sitting. I can’t remember the time, the last time I did that. Um, cause it is super quick now it also gives a super consistent look. I don’t know if I like that word. Um, it gives because it’s, it honestly, there’s, there’s some big drawbacks to machine quilting not going to lie, but, um, it gives a really consistent look on at least one side. Is that, does that sound okay? I know that sounds terrible, but it does. I know that there are many times where I attach it to the back wrapping around to the front, so on the front and then I’m like, okay, it looks good, but does it look great? I dunno. Um, the smaller, my binding is the better machine binding looks typically, um, like a really wide binding, like a one inch binding never quite hits the same way when it’s machine bound.

For some reason. I’m not really sure why, but it doesn’t also, that’s a really wide binding. So it just might be that the really wide binding isn’t hitting quite the same way. So that, that is a hundred percent of possibility. Um, now I will also say that, um, my students have had difficulty with machine binding. I mean, binding in general is always going to be a little bit more difficult than people anticipate. But, um, what I, I think of the big, big thing here too, is that the crispness is that they’re looking for isn’t there. So it’s a little, a little off, um, which is understandable, especially because these are all people who are binding their first quilt. So I think everybody’s first quilt is a little bit off, um, because you just have to get, you just have to get used to the, the, the process of it all. But, um, that’s one thing and I still have every once in a while I’ll machine bind a quilt and be like, Hm, it’s just not quite

The same,

But also, um, I find it to be so much easier. So I still, I, while I do the hybrid method, if I’m deviating, I’m deviating to machine bind, I’m very rarely deviating to hand bind.

Okay. So now hybrid, I love hybrid because I think hybrid does all of the things and it checks all of the pros from the different, um, methods and they wrap it all together. So when I’m ha a hybrid binding, what I do first is I attach the back, the binding to the back exactly the same way that I would if I was machine mining. So I, so it was my machine onto the back. And then I wrap it around to the front pin it in place. Actually, I typically use wonder clips, I wonder, clip it into place. And then I hand stitch the front to get invisible stitches. And so with this method, I get the look of an invisibly stitched hand binding. I cut the sowing time in half by machine binding the back, I get the crisper finish of a hand finish because I’m hand finishing.

I don’t get the wonky stitch line that you get from machine binding, um, on the back. And so I think personally, and I know everyone’s got an opinion and I want to hear them. So please hop on the Facebook page, monoculture circle or, or rather Nicole Gilbert quilts. Oh, did you notice that happened? Um, or send me an email, I would love to hear from you, but everybody has a really strong opinion on why their method of binding is the best method. I think every single method of binding is amazing for different reasons. Um, and I will go to the mat to say that hybrid is the best. Cause like I said, everyone’s got their thing. All right, guys. Thank you. So for hanging

Out with me yet, again, you have completed another episode of the modern quilters circle podcast. Stop scrolling, start sewing. So to catch up with this episode and all past episodes, head on over to the modern quilter to learn more. Now everybody get out there, stop scrolling and start sewing.

Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
The Modern Quilters Circle