With kid quilts, t-shirt quilts and others that are destined to be heavily used, I like to sew down my binding by machine. I make traditional French fold binding from 2-1/2″ strips. I attach my binding using this method. I flip the binding to the back and hold it in place with those little red Wonder clips. You could use the Elmer’s glue baste method used by many award winning quilters to hold your binding in place, but I can’t stand sticky fingers! Once the binding is all secured with the Wonder clips, I let the quilt sit for a bit (or overnight) before I stitch the binding by machine.
Which stitch to use? Of course, you can always use a straight stitch. However, my current go-to stitch is the center needle lightning bolt stitch on my computerized Janome machines (#5 on 3160QDC and #6 on 6600). It’s actually designed to be used with knits, but it does an excellent job of attaching quilt binding. The zigzag is so narrow it works with the straight stitch plate in place. I use the A foot and let the “ditch” ride along the inner left toe of the foot. You could also use a narrow zigzag (1.0 width x 2.0 length) to get a similar effect. If you have a machine with preset zigzag stitches (like the Jem Gold 660) then experiment with the tiny zigzag and a 50# thread or the 3 step zigzag with a decorative thread such as a 40# variegated to see which one you like best. You may have to adjust your work slightly to the left since these stitches form from a left needle position on the Jem Gold 660.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to stitch that baby quilt binding down in under 30 minutes. Talk about a timesaver!