Here's what I do:
I measure the length and width of the quilt and add them together, then multiply by two. This number is the total length of binding I will need. I then divide by 40 to see how many cuts I need to make. The quilt I am working on now is 63 x 81 so the total needed was 288" but divided by 40 (width of fabric) I needed just over 7 strips. Easy enough, I cut 8 strips.
Here's the shocker...my strips are 2" wide. I know, crazy, but it works for me. I cut strips on the straight of grain (unless it is a stripe or plaid that will look cute on the bias) and then I piece them end to end using a 45 degree angle. I clip the extra triangle off, and press the seem open. Then I press the entire length of binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. This gives me a 1" wide double fold binding.
I pin the binding to the quilt (that has been quilted and trimmed to size) and I leave just the slightest amount of the quilt peeking out from behind the binding. I sew the binding down by machine using a quarter inch guide from the edge of the quilt.
When I get to a corner (during the pinning process) I fold the binding away from the corner I am turning and then fold it over flat. I pin it in place and continue pinning.
When I am sewing, I simply remove the pin and sew until I get to the fold line.
I then raise my presser foot, and turn the quilt. I lay the binding back in place and start sewing from the edge. This is very easy because the fold lines act as a guide.
When I get to the end of the binding and need to join it to the beginning, I simply overlap the ends by two inches (or whatever width of strip you are using) and trim.
I then join the ends at a 45 degree angle and pin in place. I sew along the pinned line and trim the excess.
I finger press the seam open and once I lay the quilt flat, it is the perfect fit!
The seam is exactly like the others that were sewn prior to starting. Sew down the remaining section of binding and you are ready to press, fold and hand stitch!
I then hand stitch the binding down along the back edge of the quilt. I do not tuck or fold it on the back side. This gives me a wider binding on the back than the front and I like that!
I like how full and tight the binding is, yet it lays very flat. When folding the quilt, it's nice to not have the edges thicker than the body of the quilt. (Just my opinion). And yes I use a smaller needle than the one in the photo, but I was too lazy to walk upstairs to get my glasses to thread the smaller needle. But you get the idea. :)
This method also works if you prefer to machine sew the binding in place once it is folded over. I have done this but find it is difficult to get the perfect finish that I prefer. It works well on baby quilts and charity quilts that will get lots of laundering though.
One method is not always best in every situation, but I find this method is the one I use almost all of the time. Finally, if you made it this far, you deserve a piece of cake!
Enjoy every stitch!