Wednesday, July 22, 2020

tips & tutorials: binding on spools

The fabulous Kathleen from Kathleen McMusing hosts a Tips & Tutorials on the Twenty-Second each month.  I've been wanting to link up, and finally have a tip to share.  This is how I store & use my binding.  There is nothing revolutionary here, but I've seen many tools on the market for this and my way is free!  After all, who doesn't have an empty spool or two or dozen around?

Binding is a step where many quilters lose their momentum.  My solution to this is to make my binding as soon after I finish the quilt top as possible.  I measure my top to determine how many strips I need, then cut it and prepare the binding right away.  This has the added benefit that my fabric from the quilt is usually still out, so I don't have to dig it out again or find where I stashed it.  Then I wind my prepared binding onto an empty thread spool and secure with a pin.  I can now keep out on the sewing table without it taking up much room, or keep it with the top, whatever makes sense. 

When I'm ready to attach my binding, I attach the extra spool pin that came with my machine.

My extra spool pin; it's removable
The spool pin is designed to hold a spool of thread, so of course the fit is perfect!  Just slide your spool with binding right on the spool pin.

Now I can just gently pull my binding down to be even with the quilt.  As I sew along, the spool pretty naturally will spin to give you more binding.  Occasionally I need to give a gentle tug.  Every once and while, my binding will unwind on it's own, but that's pretty rare and I can usually stop it with my hand.  Most of the time, it just flows really well as I sew along.

When I have leftover binding, I just put the pin back in to secure the end.  Then I store my leftovers in a bin all together to wait for a project that seems right for scrappy binding. 

I reuse the same thread spools over and over and I keep a small box from Ikea for the empty spools.  When the box is full, I don't keep any more empty spools.A word about thread spools: I mainly use two brands of thread: Aurifil and Gutermann.  I imagine that any thread spool would work for this.  I use the Gutermann spools for my binding for two reasons: they are a little wider and I like that for winding binding onto the spool, and since I reuse my spools over and over again, most are from years ago before I started using Aurifil. 

I've been storing my binding this way for years and it's not only great for storage, it has really helped me during the process of attaching my binding.  If I'm attaching my binding literally right after I make it I don't always bother to wind it onto a spool, but I try to make my binding earlier in the process so most of mine end up on a spool. 

I hope you've enjoyed this tip!


  1. Makes sense, Emily--make your own binding buddy out of an empty spool! Great economical idea!!!

  2. A great way to use and reuse. The only drawback for me - my sewing machine does not have an upright spindle. I have a binding baby (because it's cute - haha) but this is a great idea!

  3. Thanks for this tip. I like having my binding ready to go and hadn’t thought of the spool idea. Also it keeps the Binding off the floor.

  4. Love your tip! My left over binding is stored in a box, but not wound on spools ... I may have to re-think how I do this! Thank you!

  5. Such a great hint and thanks for the shout out AND linking up. You are awesome and this is a perfect way to do it. I usually use a toilet paper roll and let it have its fun time on the floor, but I am tempted to try this next time I have an empty spool. Binding early (at least when making backing) is always my goal!

  6. I put my binding below my table, actually in a little pile in my lap. I think having it drape over the front of the machine would get in my way. But, I can see that your idea would certainly corral it and keep it clean and manageable.

  7. A very efficient way to prevent tangles and great way to store bindings till they are needed.

  8. GENIUS!! Why don't I ever think of these things? Thank you!