Several years ago, I found someone who sold a tool made specifically to help apply binding onto the quilt top with the longarm machine while the quilt is still on the frame. Wow, what a concept. I immediately bought the tool, proceeded to then put bindings on by my longarm machine. After several times of applying bindings in this fashion with the tool, I pretty much gave up and started doing my bindings back on my domestic. The tool was not long enough, cumbersome to use, difficult to place over my hopping foot, and ended up getting in the way while I did the top edge of the binding. What a pain and a half it is to pull a big queen or king sized quilt through a domestic machine to apply binding but I went back to it all because I didn't like the tool that I had purchased just for that purpose.
The other day, I was watching a video on QNNTV.com (a great site with tutorial videos on everything quilting) called Quilt It - the Longarm Quilting Show. I was watching episode 401 "How to Construct a Quilt on your Longarm From Piecing to Binding". They showed us how to construct the quilt (very cool I might add) and at the end she explained how she puts on her binding on the machine. I was mesmerized because I didn't like using that silly special tool and the speaker in the video was simply using a straight edge ruler to place the binding onto the quilt. Hello.....now why didn't I think of that.
So here is my step by step (with pictures) on how I accomplished the task of placing binding onto the quilt top while the quilt is on the longarm frame. Super Cool.
The only tool you will need is a straight edge ruler. I use Gadget Girls grided ruler because I love the fact that there are quarter inch grids throughout the tool. . Lay your binding on the edge of the quilt just as you would as if you were sewing the binding on your domestic machine. Make sure you leave a long tail when you start sewing in order to kiss the beginning and end of the bindings together. The foot on my longarm is a quarter inch thick so I know that I'm getting a good quarter inch seam just by using the edge of the foot as my guide. But I don't always sew straight, so using a straight ruler is the only way to go for me. I placed a piece of blue painters tape on the bottom of my ruler along the line where the edge of the binding (on the inside of the quilt) will be to guide me where to place my ruler when I'm sewing. It's easy peasy and I keep asking myself why didn't I think of this.
As a longarm quilting professional, I do charge for this service. If the customer has already sewn together and ironed their binding strips, and all I am doing is sewing the binding on the front, I charge $.05 per linear inch of binding. My charges goes up for different methods of binding with the highest being $.20 per linear inch for doing it all.
As for that special tool I bought years ago? It has a nice view over my quilt room in the ruler holder gathering dust and feeling lonely.