This is a really fun and easy project and if you love perfectly mitered corners then you will adore this tutorial for a self binding table square. I love mine!
You can use this concept for a table square, table runner, napkins, anything that's square or rectangular. I'm making a medium sized table square to go under my cake stands and once I'm done it will be 21" x 21". A good way to figure out your finished size is to add the dimension of the smaller one to the dimension to the bigger one then divide by two and subtract the seam allowance. 18 + 26 = 44 (both heights added) then 44 ÷ 2 = 22 (divide by 2) then 22 - 1 = 21 (subtract total of all seam allowances). I hope that makes sense.
To get started you'll need to mark sewing lines on all of your pieces. I'm using disappearing ink which will wash off with just a dab of water when I'm done. I use these disappearing ink pens all the time so if you haven't tried them grabbed your 50% off coupon and treat yourself to a wonderful new sewing tool. If you're using a pencil make sure you don't get your mark beyond the 1/4" seams allowance where it will end up showing when you've finished.
The center piece (with the bird on it) is 8" smaller than the big piece (the bottom and binding) so divide 8 in half and mark the big piece 4" from each corner edge.
Then on the wrong side of the center piece make a mark 1/4" from each corner.
Now, work with two opposite sides and pin your center fabric so it's between the marks on the larger binding fabric (just scrunch up the larger piece of fabric underneath until your sides reach each other). Starting on the small corner dot, stitch across each side starting and stopping at the dots (don't stitch all the way to the ends). Use a 1/4" seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch as you start and stop.
Here's a closeup of what it will look like. You can see the fabric is right up next to the blue line underneath and I've stopped stitching at the blue corner dot.
Now you're going to sew the other two sides. You'll need to "scrunch" the larger fabric piece underneath and pin the un-sewn sides of the center fabric to the un-sewn sides of the larger binding fabric (make sure the fabric is between your markings like you did on the previous step. You can see a closeup of a corner below. Be sure to move the underneath fabric out of the way so it doesn't get caught in your stitches.
Stitch from dot to dot (be sure to backstitch again) but leave a 3" opening along one side for turning your fabric right side out.
Here is a closeup showing how the stitches meet at the dot but don't go past it.
Your larger fabric will be big and loose like this.
Now fold a corner so the raw edges meet up together and place a ruler along the fold. Draw a straight line from the fold to the dot where your previous seams met (a drew a dot on the outer fabric to make it obvious). Do this on all four corners. Don't draw all the way to the raw edge because you won't be sewing to the raw edge, you'll sew between the dot and the folded edge.
Sew between the dot and the edge (remember to backstitch).
Cut away the extra fabric.
Now press the center fabric's seam allowance toward the larger fabric. This will make the next step so much easier and cleaner.
Here's a close up of the un-sewn opening after it's pressed.
Now reach in and, starting with the corners, pull the fabric through the opening.
Here's the opening after you've turned it inside out. The previous pressing step made the binding fabric nicely folded on that edge and ready to stitch shut.
Press your table square and make sure that opening fold is just the way you want it so it blends in with the rest of the binding seam. Top stitch around the binding, pivoting at the corner seams where it's nicely mitered. Now nobody will ever be able to tell where that opening was.
Here's a picture of the stitches underneath.
Now press your table square smartly and place it somewhere you can enjoy every time you walk by it.
These make great gifts, especially for newlyweds or house warming gift giving. You can use this method to make a cute set of napkins (make the big square 19 x19 and the small square 15 x 15 for a nice sized napkin), or a table runner for a baby's dresser. The ideas are endless!