Machine Binding vs. Hand Binding

I suppose the title of this blog isn’t exactly what I wanted to get at. I don’t want machine and hand binding to duke it out, and I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. Shop Fons & Porter - BindingThe thing about quilting as an art and hobby is that there are numerous ways to practice a medley of techniques, and the quilt police don’t have a home in the cozy community at Fons & Porter. That said, there are advantages to each technique that should be considered when deciding which method fits your unique project, skills and time allowance.

Hand binding:

  • great for a relaxing evening project
  • the binding has your unique, “signature” hand stitch
  • you get bragging rights
  • you get to practice your hand sewing
  • it’s familiar/ it’s how you learned

Machine binding:

  • easier for those with arthritis or other mobility issues
  • you can be finished in a short time
  • gives binding a clean, consistent look
  • it gives you the chance to learn a new technique
  • fewer needle pricks

There are lots of other benefits to both methods. If you’ve never tried machine binding, it’s just the challenge that will expand your quilting repertoire. And a challenge it is. It’s something you’ll want to start on a small project like a placemat or a small wall quilt because, just like when you learned hand quilting, there will be bumps along the way. With a little practice and a little help from the Jenny Kae Quilts, you’ll be adding a new binding method to your skill set.

Here’s something you can pass along to your guild or your granddaughter. Jenny’s live webinar, Machine Quilt Binding Made Easy, offers you all the information you need to learn machine binding, and have the confidence to try machine binding on your own quilt projects.

Happy Quilting!

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fons & Porter Blog, How to Finish a Quilt

12 thoughts on “Machine Binding vs. Hand Binding

  1. There are a lot of beginner quilters who are not going to like what I have to say, but here it is: slow down and pet the fabric. Quilting is a process that takes time, a LOT of time. Take technique classes. Learn how to straighten fabric, cut on the straight of grain and WHY this is important, learn color theory, learn how fabric is made and what is quality fabric, learn how to hand piece a block and sew a quilt, learn how to hand quilt, appliqué, and bind. Do this with other quilters with a real, live in-person instructor. You will learn how to analyze how a block is constructed and how to create your own quilt.

    Along the way you will discover there are some techniques you like better than others, but your bag of “tricks” will be full and you can pull them out as needed. Personally, I preserve machine piecing to hand piecing; but, I always have hand piecing projects for take-alongside when I know I will have to wait. I hand quilt, machine quilt, and tie and I know how to make an informed decision what works best for my project and me.

    Let yourself simply relax and enjoy the entire process. There are no quilt police and there is no race to see how fast and how many quilts you can make.

    1. I am so busy that if I want to quilt, I have to do it the quick way, so I do machine binding. However, I would love for you to address the pros and cons of bindings cut with the grain vs. those cut on the bias.

      1. Hi Judith,

        Thanks for mentioning it! I’m excited to hear you want to share what I wrote. If you just mention this blog as your source and paraphrase what’s written, you can use the information. Also, feel free to comment back here when you’re done so I can read it too 🙂


  2. I’m a relatively new quilter (only a year) and have been experimenting with both styles. Marlene, your comment is right-on!! I’m trying to slow myself down and not give myself deadlines just to have something done. Not always successful, but working on it. Great topic, by the way!

  3. I also like to machine stitch my binding for charity quilts. Sometimes I hand stitch it first then go back and machine stitch, especially when doing flannel quilts. For some reason I have trouble keeping the flannel fabric straight when just pinned.

  4. I love machine binding and use it for all quilts that I know are going to be used heavily. I also use it on a lot of art pieces. That said, be aware that when push comes to shove, in a juried show situation, machine bindings are a disqualifier.

  5. Good topic! As a very busy nurse, I would not be likely to ever finish a quilt if I used hand-stitching to complete my bindings! Additionally, I have tried and tried, but my hand-stitching is poor and sashiko is about the only type that I can handle (thank you Pepper Cory). But now, after 7 years making quilts, I may want to start entering shows and someone told me that if you want to show a quilt, the binding has to be sewn on by hand. Is it really so? Any suggestions?