I have tried a number of different techniques to sew that last seam in the binding. You all know the one .. the seam that cannot be sewn until after you've stitched most of the binding onto the outside edge of the quilt to get to the point when you can determine how much is excess. Getting this last seam in easily and neatly was a struggle for me until...
I found a tutorial for "Joining the Binding" by following a link to Sew Happy Quilting from someone coming from there to my blog. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have discovered an easy and sure-fire way to figure out the needed length and best way to seam it together. I've bookmarked that post, but have had difficulty following the steps to manipulate the fabric because the binding is white fabric that makes it difficult to determine the laps and folds in those photos. My initial purpose for snapping these was for my personal reference. But I'm so thrilled with this technique I've just got to "spread the word".
My bindings are cut longer that I know they need to be. I start stitching the binding to the quilt about 10-12 inches in from its end. I stop stitching the binding to the quilt about 12-18" from the start. Somewhere near the center of that gap where the binding is not attached to the quilt, fold the binding strip on the right side straight up towards the middle of the quilt.
Lay the left end of the binding strip across the right one and fold it toward the center of the quilt parallel to the right one.
Trim away the excess length of both ends.
After cutting it will look like this.
To make a diagonal seam that matches all the others in the binding, open both ends of the binding, pin those cut ends perpendicular to each other, draw a diagonal line across the corner.
Stitch the seam on the drawn line. Then trim away the excess fabric.
Finger press or iron the the seam, refold the binding, then pin and stitch that perfect length with a perfect seam to the edge of the quilt.
Yeah! It's done! It was easy! It's neat! There's noway anyone could ever tell where you began or ended sewing the binding to your quilt.
These instructions with the photos can be downloaded from Scribd as a PDF file to your computer for you to print. (Just click on the red type to do so.) My printed copy is pinned on a cork board next to my sewing machine.
PS: Here's an excerpt from an email I received from the author of the "Sew Happy Quilting" blog:
Nellie, I'm so glad you found it useful. I've never seen the method used either. It was just something I figured out on my own when I first started quilting and knew there had to be a way to join and make them look good. I didn't have the Internet then to help out or I guess I'd just do it like everyone else but after trying desperately I finally figured a way. I still to this day do all my binding this way and it works out great.What a clever woman to figure out this marvelous method. No wonder I could find no reference to this way of connecting the ends of the binding on the web. I'm so pleased to have stumbled across that particular post on her blog. It pays to "surf".