French Fold Loop Binding for Small Projects
(bias and on-grain)

Use Handmade French Fold Binding
2-1/2″ Wide Binding Strip

I developed this method of binding for making small things like potholders, notebook covers, and place mats.  I find that with smaller projects, it is difficult to achieve a nice flat/crisp looking binding finish because of the lack of room to maneuver right at the end.

This tutorial takes you through the process of calculating your binding strip length, cutting the binding strip, and then closing/finishing the binding loop.

Go to Applying Loop Binding when you are finished.

CAUTION: This binding method works very well for me however it can take a bit of finesse. If you would like to try it out, please do so at your own risk.  I recommend that you actually read this tutorial carefully, along with looking at the pictures, because your chances of success will go up greatly!  

Unless you’re like me and always throw caution to the wind, I recommend you test this method PRIOR to applying it to your “good” project.

The continuous loop binding is different from your typical binding in that you finish off your binding before you apply it to your project.

This tutorial assumes you are cutting your own binding strips and making a French Fold binding.  If you wish to purchase pre-made binding, see the tutorial on Bias Tape Loop Binding.

Step 1 – Measuring Your Project

Your calculations will most likely require you to convert fractions into decimals.  If you need, you can find a handy conversion chart that you can download and print.

Square
Measure all four sides of your project.  Use a ruler that has 1/8″ markings and be as accurate as you can.  If your measurement is 5 3/16″ for example, you would use 5.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the square project has 4 sides all measuring 8 1/2″.  Add the sides together and add 2″.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 36″ long.

8.5 + 8.5 + 8.5 + 8.5 = 34
34 + 2 = 36

Rectangular

Measure all four sides of your project.  Use a ruler that has 1/8″ markings and be as accurate as you can.  If your measurement is 5 3/16″ for example, you would use 5.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the rectangular project has 2 short sides measuring 8 3/4″ and two long sides measuring 11″.  Add the sides together and add 2″.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 41.5″ long.

8.75 + 8.75 + 11 + 11 = 39.5
39.5 + 2 = 41.5

Round

Measure the circumference of your project.  Use a vinyl or cloth tape measure for this task.  Do not use a hard ruler.  If your measurement is 29 3/16″ for example, you would use 29.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the round project is 28 10/16″ around.  Add 1/2″ to this number.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 29 1/8″ long.

28.625 + .5 = 29.125

Hexagonal

Measure all six sides of your project.  Use a ruler that has 1/8″ markings and be as accurate as you can.  If your measurement is 5 3/16″ for example, you would use 5.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  Note: DO NOT ASSUME your sides are all the same length.  I recommend you double check your measurements and your math on hexagons prior to cutting your binding strip.

If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the rectangular project has 6 sides with the following measurements: 4 3/4 + 4 7/8 + 5 + 4 3/4 + 4 3/4 + 5 1/8 = 29 1/4

Measure all sides, measure again and re-check your math.  Add all six sides 29.25 and then add 2″.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 31.25″ long.

4.75 + 4.875 + 5 + 4.75 + 4.75 + 5.125 = 29.25
29.25 + 2 = 31.25

Step 2 – Cut Binding Strip(s)

Because you are making a continuous loop of binding, it is preferable to have a single seam where you binding comes together, therefore, my recommendation is to use a long cut (1/4 Yard Long rather than a fat quarter) for cutting your binding strips. On smaller projects, pieced binding doesn’t look as good.

NOTE:  If you are making French Fold binding for a round project, you MUST cut your binding strips on the bias.

Step 3 – Prepare Binding Strip(s)

Start out with a strip of fabric that is 2 1/2″ wide by a length that is at least 1″ longer than your final strip measurement.  You don’t want to cut your initial strip too short by accident because you will be cutting it down to it’s final/exact length after this step is complete.

Prepare your binding strip(s) buy ironing each strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  If you are using steam, let your strips cool and dry completely prior to cutting the final strip length.

 

Step 4 – Cut Strips to Final Size

Lay your binding strip(s) on your cutting mat along a horizontal line.  Line your edge up with the left-most vertical measuring line.  Do NOT stretch your strip, simply let it lay naturally.  Place your ruler on your strip without moving the strip and cut your length (you should cut right on the line for your final measurement).

If you find yourself needing to fold your strip in half, hold the folded edge in place with your finger.  Again, you should cut right on the line for your final measurement.  After the strip is cut, remeasure the full length to verify it is correct.

Step 5 – Attach Ends of Strip

Once your binding strip is cut, you will attach the two ends in order to form your loop.

Open up your binding strip with the wrong side up.

Fold your strip just like the photo below.  The two ends of the strip will come together so that the right sides of the ends of the fabric are facing each other (right sides together).

Draw a line like the yellow line below at a 45° angle from edge to edge (VERIFY you are drawing it just like in the photo below).

Re-adjust to keep the edges exactly aligned with no overhang and pin along the line you just drew.  You will be sewing on that line.

Step 6 – Sew the Loop Together

Sew the diagonal line, right on the line.  Remove the pins as you sew.

Step 9 – Press

When you are finished sewing, take your loop to the ironing board and set your seam with a nice press.

 

Trim the seam down to 1/4″.

 

Turn your loop so that the front is facing up.  Iron both seams in the same direction (you can press the seam open if you like, either way works).

 

From the back, your strip should look like this. . .

 

Press the original fold back into your Binding.

 

Voila!  You now have your French fold binding all finished.  You are ready to apply it to your small project.

Go to Applying Loop Binding to Small Projects for instructions.