From time to time, usually each year, I enter quilts in two state quilt guild exhibitions, QuiltWest (WAQA) and Canberra Quilters.

There are various explicit rules (excellent guidelines here if you are interested) for entering quilts into judged exhibitions. Needless to say, not every winning quilt gets every rule correct. They describe a standard of excellence to strive for.

And then there are the judges rules that are not quite so clear.

One of the ‘rules’ that I heard of a year ago concerned traditional bindings. I was aware that bindings needed to be full. That is, the wadding/batting needs to extend the full width of the binding and there not be any loose or empty sections. That’s usually not so difficult as the quilter can cut the wadding to the width they want and then wrap the binding closely around it. Another trick is to stuff a small amount of additional loose wadding into the binding wherever it is too thin.

The detail that was new to me is that bindings should be the same width on the back as the front. This is a little more complicated than it sounds. It means that when stitching the binding onto the quilt, the distance from the edge of the wading to the seam line must be almost exactly half of the finished width of the binding. But the finished width of the binding will not be half the unstitched binding because the thickness of the (wadding + binding seam) will affect the finished width.

Here are two previous quilts of mine

Binding width: front 9mm, back 13mm
Binding width: front 10mm, back 15mm

It’s a bit difficult to see the difference in the binding width due to the distance from the quilt to the camera. The difference is more pronounced IRL.

In Liberty Rail Fence, I was very careful to get the binding right. To do this, I trimmed the quilt to a little more than 1/4” from the stitching line of the binding, and then folded it, doubling over a little bit on the outside edge.

The quilt extends a couple of mm beyond the binding

Then the binding was folded over and hand sewn

Both sides are almost exactly the same width 1/4” and full to the edge

I was happy with the completed quilt and binding, but it does seem a bit too pernickety.

A quilter friend who is also a judge said that this ‘rule’ is not checked unless it is a incredibly close decision between two traditional quilts for a major prize.

And of course it is quite irrelevant with a faced binding or other artistic finished edge.