Facings: An Alternative to Traditional Bindings

At our recent Charlotte Guild show I did a demo on how to add facings to our art quilts. There are many ways to finish a quilt. Of course there is the Traditional Binding whereby strips are cut, joined end to end and stitched onto the quilt. The “Escape Hatch” or pillow case finish is just that….an escape through a slit at the back so that the quilt can be turned right side out.

My favorite method however is the Facings finish. I find that that this technique gives the most clean finished edges because it folds completely to the back. It is especially useful for small art quilts because there are not any distractions to interfere with the art on the front.

Follow along as I demonstrate how to achieve this look. Please note that for this demo only I used two different fabrics so you can see clearly how each side is positioned as you sew. I usually use the same fabric as my backing so that the facing and the backing blend as one continuous piece.

A walking foot is ideal to help move the 3 layers along but sometimes I do use my 1/4″ foot as well.



~fabric strips
~fusible web
~thread to match fabric

Facings Directions

Square quilt (if necessary).

Cut 4 strips 2¼” x the length of each side.   For example, for an 18″ x 24″ finished quilt—-cut 2 strips 18″ long and  2 strips 24″ long.

Fold over ¼” on one end. Press (see below).


Cut 2—1″strips from fusible web the length of each side measurement above. Set up strips with folded edges of 2 strips (same length) facing each other like below.


Center fusible web on strips and fuse in place….don’t let folds overlap while fusing.


Crease release paper of fusible web by folding in half. Cut along center line. *BE CAREFUL TO NOT CUT INTO FOLDS*



I start with the top and bottom strips for this next step.

Peel off release paper for top strip. Pin to front of the quilt at the top aligning edges (click to enlarge photo).  Start stitching at folded edge, backstitching at beginning and end.


Turn quilt and take one diagonal stitch across corner (2nd photo above). Turn again and continue to end taking another diagonal stitch at other corner. Repeat for bottom strip.

Peel off release paper and pin one side of strip to quilt overlapping  just past the folded edge of 1st sewn strip. Cut off excess so that other end overlaps fold.


Begin stitching from line of previous stitching towards other end backstitching as before. Repeat for other side.


Clip corners close to diagonal stitch.

cutting-off-corners diagonal-stitch

One of the techniques I have taken from my clothes making days to make the facing lie flat is stay stitching the edges.  This type of garment stitch is a row of straight stitching done ⅛”along the open edge of a seam to prevent seams from rolling to the front and to prevent unwanted stretching. I employ it here to keep the facing towards the back of the quilt.

Next step is to stay stitch edges, keeping seam in same direction of facing (3rd photo).

sty-stch-1 sty-stch-2


Fold facings to back, pushing corners out.




Fuse in place, pressing facing edges completely to back so not seen on front.

fusing-to-back fused-facing

Turn quilt over and iron from front. If the quilt will be shown in a quilt show I would stitch the edges down by hand just like you do for regular binding. I know, I know it’s just not something you can get away from, even using facings to finish you work although the samples I make for my workshops I just leave as fused.


The only thing left to do now on your quilt is to add sleeve, a label and you’re done.

The 1st photo below is a close up of the front of the quilt with edges nicely stitched and folded under. The 2nd photo is how my facing usually look matching the backing fabric so it blends in well and almost disappears.

BTW, isn’t that the most funk-a-delicious fabric I have on the back? So very 60’s!

finished-facing-closeup same-fabs-facing

And here’s the finished piece.


For this one I walked in my studio one day and felt the need to play with shapes and such using some of my hand dye fabrics….NOT a piece I will put in my repertoire….I mean c’mon…..the facings are different from each other and the backing as well.

I will be putting this link on my Tutorials Page (see tab at top of blogunder banner). If you would like a PDF file of this turorial to have in front of you while you practice this easy technique please email me (see sidebar) and let me know. I will gladly get one off to you.

Send me some pics of your finished art quilts using this technique. Also, if you have any questions let met know and I’ll try to answer them for you.

See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,

14 Responses to Facings: An Alternative to Traditional Bindings

  1. yetunde says:

    girl, i was saying what the heck,is she doing i don’t understand. but the more i kept reading the more i was understanding.

    thanks for the tip, i will use it.


  2. delanequilts says:

    Nicely done. Good tutorial!

  3. JJ says:

    This is a great tutorial, very clear! I will definitely be trying this technique soon. Thank you.

  4. gracehowes says:

    Thanks…had loads of fun doing the demo at the show. Glad you could put it to use in your work.

  5. Marguerita says:

    Hi Grace, impressive tutorial! Thank you so much for presenting it.

  6. Thanks for this! I have been trying to decide whether to bind or face a quilt I am almost done with but didn’t really know how to face it.

  7. Thanks sooo much for your tutorial on facings. I just tried it on a class sample. The directions were clear and concise.
    Thanks again.

  8. Carol Scorso Poplaski says:

    Grace, Thanks so much for this tutorial and sending me the PDF. It is so easy to understand – I can’t wait to try it out!

  9. […] Barnyard Chatter shares her favorite method for finishing an art quilt. Go here for the how-to. […]

  10. […] Gossip Write Up Hey, look at that….my Facings Turorial that I posted last month was written up in […]

  11. Marie Bernegger says:

    I’d love to get the PDF on this tutorial, too. Thanks in advance.

  12. Julie Shipp says:

    Great tutorial. Can you please send me the PDF? Thanks!

  13. […] Facings: An Alternative to Traditional Bindings […]

  14. Megan says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I had put off finishing a baby quilt because I didn’t want to bind it but I tried your technique and it really works great. Looks wonderful too!

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