Self binding is not my usual approach to finishing a quilt, but when I found myself without enough coordinating fabric* to do my usual double fold binding, I decided to give it a shot. I have no idea if this is how other people approach this technique, but it seemed to work beautifully for me. Here's what I did if you'd like to give it a try:
Prepare your quilt sandwich the way you normally would making sure your backing fabric is at least 1" larger than your quilt top and batting on all four sides. For the record, your quilt top and batting need to be exactly the same size. I found it easiest to trim them to size before placing them atop the quilt backing. Be sure the quilt top and batting are perfectly centered on top of the backing fabric.
Baste the layers together using pins or spray adhesive - whichever you prefer.
Now, here's where things start to deviate a bit. Normally, this is where you would begin the quilting process. You would either machine or hand stitch a pretty little pattern all over that quilt top of yours. But, with self binding, you need to do one more step first before we get to the quilting stage.
With the layers of your quilt sandwich well secured so that they won't shift, stitch along all four sides of the quilt top using a 1/2" seam allowance, like so:
The backing fabric outside that line of stitching is now your binding fabric.
Now, you can go ahead and quilt your quilt. Just make sure your quilting lines stay within the confines of your stitching from step 3.
Along one side, fold and press the raw edge of your backing fabric in to meet the raw edge of your quilt top, like so:
Fold and press that edge over again so that the folded edge of your backing fabric just covers your stitching line from step 3, like so:
To turn a corner, make a 90 degree fold toward the side of the quilt you'll be moving on to next. Press the living daylights out of that corner.
Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 along the remaining sides of your quilt. Your corners should look something like this:
Normally, you would hand stitch your binding to the back of your quilt. But with a self bound quilt, you need to hand stitch the folded edges of your binding to your quilt top instead. Here's what the finished edges and corner will look like when all is said and done:
From the back, your quilt will look like this with just a simple line of stitching about 1/2" inside each edge.
*Confession time: Remember that old adage "Measure twice. Cut once." The truth is, I had enough fabric when I started. However, when you cut your strips a full inch wider than you intended, you're gonna wind up with fewer strips than you need to make it around your quilt.