Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Elmer's Glue For Your Quilt Binding

One of the newest online techniques for attaching quilt binding is to glue it down with Elmer's Glue-All school glue. The idea is that the glue makes it easier to hold the binding in place for hand or machine stitching it down...without needing pins or clips as you do your sewing .

I decided to see for myself whether it worked, how much I did or did not like the process, and whether or not I saw it as helpful, necessary or just a fun extra.

I attached the binding as usual, simply clipping it down to hold it in place, as I went around the edge. I used Elmer's multi-purpose glue, not 'school' glue as is recommended. My previous research indicated the name was more of an advertising ploy to get mom's to buy 'special' glue for the kids and not send them off with the old bottle of 'sitting around the house' glue. I was told by several teachers, that the glue seems to be about the same. It stays and/or washes out about the same, it holds down about the same...the multi-purpose may be a bit thicker and it aways works better on hard surfaces because of this.

I used what I had...and since I had 6 bottles of it, I wasn't inclined to go out and buy a new 'school glue' bottle ;) It worked great. I used a chopstick to help push the binding over the glue as I used the regular nozzle (I didn't have a fancy supplemental bottle tip, either) to make a thin line and/or beads (whichever came out first) along the inner crease of the inside fold edge. Even the beads never expanded outside of the binding, so that was no problem at all. I didn't really need a fancy tip, but if I'd had one, I'd probably have used it ;) The chopstick worked glue on my fingers and the binding and I remained friends without conflict.

The glued seam was dry enough to hold the binding down by the time I'd gone around the entire edge of this small baby quilt...less than 15 minutes. I experimented with some hand interference from the glue at all.

Would I do it again? Possibly. It was interesting, I'm glad to know it works. But frankly, I don't have that big of a problem with just using my little hair clips to hold the binding down as I sew, so I'm not sure I actually need another step to add in. And part of me does wonder...where does that glue go when you finally wash the quilt....does it stay put or wash all over and out?

At this point, I'm not feeling the need for any further experimentation.....this was interesting, but that's enough fun for one day. Howver, I am getting the urge to find my Crayola crayons and do some art quilting project ;)


  1. Hmmmm....interesting. Thanks for doing the test for us, but I still have to ask "WHY?" use glue? Those little hairclippy things couldn't be any easier, and I bet in a race the clips are faster too. :-) 00 Expirements are fun tho, heh?

  2. Definitely interesting, but I think I'd prefer the clips. I use safety pins though. They hold it in place better.

  3. I tried it and liked it. I made better corners with it. It was also invaluable when I made a stack and whack with a lot of bias edges. None of them stretched at all.

  4. I've tried it too, and like you, I decided that the glue trick is good to know for special occasions, but the clips / pins technique works for the most part. I just a couple of pins, that I keep moving as I work my way around the quilt rather than preparing everything up front.

  5. I had not heard about the glue thing, don't think I would use it. Like you, I prefer my clips.

  6. Interesting.. I am using just a dab of glue stick to hold a template in place on fabric. I hope it washes out.

  7. the tutorials I saw used glue and then were ironed down, making a very crisp edge and beautiful mitered corners. I think it acts like a super starch and helps prevent distortion. The tute I saw did one side at a time, glue-ing down the binding then ironing including the first fold for the mitered corner, then sewing, then moving on to the next side. I am going to try it on my next smallish quilt to see how it goes.

  8. Once I tried using glue for binding I never looked back. I use the washable school glue, and yes, it does wash out. I don't think the all purpuse glue would wash out as well. I like gluing because I can press the binding in place, it stays neat and doesn't slip. Once I start sewing I don't have to stop to remove pins or clips. I also use glue to get some appliques placed so they stay put while I sew.


Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.