I do not like the look of machine-stitched binding! Never have! I know a lot of quilters rave about how much time it saves, but I still don't like the look of it. However, as I was finishing up two T-shirt quilts for a customer, I felt that I should consider machine binding the quilts to save me some time and save my customer some money.
I contemplated how I wanted to go about it. I do not like the look of the "stitch-in-the-ditch" method. The problem with that method is that it is almost impossible to stitch neatly in the ditch on the front AND consistently catch the binding on the back. I don't even like the look of "stitching in the ditch" when it comes to machine quilting. As one quilter eloquently stated, "it ends up being stitching in the vicinity of the stitch, not the ditch!" And, it's not always possible to find a thread color that won't be noticeable from the front since there are likely so many different fabrics used in a quilt.
But, I do like the look of topstitching. And for a casual quilt like a T-shirt quilt, it actually looks appropriate. So, I stitched the binding to the front of the quilt, wrapped it around to the back, used basting glue to hold everything securely in place, then topstitched from the front. That way, the front looks great, and the back is pretty darn good, although not perfect.
Zig zag all the way around the quilt before attaching the binding. That will keep all your raw edges nice and flat, which makes glue basting so much easier.
A washable glue with a fine tip is best. I really like Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It glue, with, but it's my understanding that Elmer's Washable School Glue works well too. I really love Roxanne's for applique, and a little goes a long way.
Glue baste small sections, then give it a quick press with a steam iron to help the glue to dry quickly and eliminate any shifting.
The front ends up looking great!
The back can look pretty good if you're careful about the gluing process - even the corners!
It's definitely a time saver, and with some more practice I think I can get the back to look as good as the front. I may have to consider doing it more often in the future!