When binding anything larger than 9 x 9 inches, I use a French double fold technique, cutting 2 inch wide strips on the crosswise grain. These strips are joined with diagonal seams and are folded in half before applying. Yes, I said I start with 2 inch strips for a 1/4-inch finished binding. I like my binding to be full all the way to the fold and the same width on front and back.
However, it is impossible (for me) to do the final join on anything not having at least 9 inches on at least one side. (Yes, I know this probably leaves you with many questions, but this is not a binding tutorial!) I found an alternative for the smaller pieces. And I love it!
Recently I have found a number of excellent blogs and have added them to my Blog List on the right side of what you are reading now. The Constant Quilter (Wendy Caton Reed) has a fantastic blog, and once I found her, I went back and read all her posts from the beginning. Wendy uses what she calls "the potholder method" where she makes and quilts one block and then binds it. She does that for each block in her quilt and then whipstitches all the "potholders" together into a bigger quilt. Can you believe she actually made a "Dear Jane" with this method? Well, she did! So, if you click the link above, it will take you to her post on Single Fold Binding.
Because the Dear Jane blocks are less than 5 inches finished, I thought I'd give it a try. I had hand pieced several smaller tops while taking pics for new handouts. Here's the first one I did, using the process that Wendy has on her post.
Here's the back, along with a ruler to show how big (little) this piece was.
I admit that I was a bit unhappy with sewing a couple threads to the left of the fold lines, so I tried again; this time I sewed right on the fold lines (see Wendy's blog for her process). I was much happier this time. Try both ways and see which you like better; I may have sewed a bit left-er than Wendy suggested (read this as "it's always Sharon's fault, not the originator of whatever the technique is").
I love French double fold binding on almost everything. But this single layer binding has much less bulk and is super easy to apply and finish on smaller pieces. The potholder method of finishing quilts is not new--do a search for the term--or read more of Wendy's posts to learn more.
Another great technique to put in your tool box!