Friday, September 21, 2012

Make Bias Binding - Tutorial

Want to know what is really great? Making your own bias tape! Yes you can! It does take a little time and effort, but is well worth it. Because I work primarily with natural fiber fabrics, I find that making my own bias tape out of the same fabric type produces much better results and there is that whole “variety is the spice of life” thing. I do use packaged bias binding as well for the sheer convenience of it, but make my own whenever I can.

I thought perhaps some of you lovely folks might like to have a gander at this tutorial that didn't quite make the final squeeze into my book.

What you will need:
A good size rectangle of fabric (for this example I used about a ½ yard (1/2 meter) of cotton print, but you can use a smaller rectangle no problem)

A fabric marker, pencil, or tailors chalk

A long ruler (clear quilting type works great!)

Rotary cutter & self-healing mat or fabric shears

Bias tape maker tool (not essential, but highly recommended)


Iron & Ironing board

There are a few different methods to making bias tape, I will be showing you how I make mine, but you should explore other methods to find what suits you best.

Bias tape making tools are pretty nifty and inexpensive gadgets that come in a couple different sizes from ¼” up to 2”. The width marked on the package is for single fold bias tape, so a 1” bias maker tool will make ½” double fold, etc.
Clover makes several sizes of this great tool.

To Make: Click the pics to enlarge for detail

Lay out your rectangle of fabric wrong side up. To find the bias, simply fold the fabric so that the edges meet to form a triangle as shown. Press the fold and this line is the bias grain. Unfold fabric.

Using a long ruler, begin marking off strips along the bias by measuring equal distances from the line you pressed. Your strips should be twice the width of your completed bias tape. Since I am making 1” (2.5cm) bias tape, my strips are going to be 2” (5cm) wide. As I get close to the corner, the strips become quite small so I generally discard those as I don’t want to bother with the really little bits.

Once you have marked off your strips, use a rotary cutter, ruler and self sealing mat, or fabric shears to cut along the lines to make your strips. I then cut off the angled ends of the strips as shown.

Place two strips at 90 degree angles with the right sides together, raw edges matching and pin in place. Sew diagonally across the two strips as shown. Continue sewing the remaining strips together in the same manner to create one long strip. Sew each one the same way so that your seams are all in the same direction. Trim all of your seam allowances to a scant ¼” (6mm) and press the seams open. Trim the seam bits again.

Now that you have a nice long bias strip, let's make it into binding!

Bias Tool Method:
To insert the strip into the bias tape maker tool, fold one end into a point with the wrong side facing up, insert the strip into the wide end of the tool. You can use the tip of a seam ripper to gently guide the strip through. Make sure that your strip is centered in the tool as shown.

Gently pull the tool as you hold the end of the strip and press with the iron as you go. Continue to press the entire length of the strip. You now have a nice amount of single fold bias tape. If you would like to make it into double fold bias tape, simply fold the tape in half with the single folds on the inside and press.

So, the little Bias Maker Tool is totally worth investing a few dollars in!

You can do all of this without the handy little tool. Begin by folding your strip in half wrong sides together and press to create a center crease. Open up the strip and fold both raw edges in to meet the center crease and press for single fold bias tape. Fold in half again as shown above to create double fold bias tape.

Now wrap your sweet new bias tape around a bit of cardboard to keep it nice and neat.

How much bias tape will it make? You can first calculate the area of your fabric rectangle by multiplying the length by the width, and then divide that number by the width of your strips. This will give you a rough approximation since you may not be using the smaller corner strips of the fabric. To tell you the truth, I don't do the math, I just go with this bit:

A half yard of fabric will yield a good several yards of bias binding of most widths.

I will often make a smaller amount for a specific project that requires only a little bit of bias tape, so it's up to you how much you make at any given time.

Now, go give it a try!

Any questions? Feel free to ask and I will try to answer them in the comment section of this post.

Happy Making!


Katiebee said...

thanks so much for taking the time to post this! (it is so very clear & easy to follow) i made bias tape once a very long time ago and lost my I can make it again...yeah!!!!!!

generationSue said...

Great tutorial! Thank you so much! I am just about at the stage to bind a baby quilt and this is perfect! I am definitely going to get one of those tools. It seems it would make things a whole lot easier. Have a great weekend!

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

I NEED to make bias binding! I've never really felt the need before, but I do now! Thanks! Have a great weekend! Ada :)

Sherri B. said...

Oh, thank you, thank you!! I have that tool and thought..."Someday I will try to figure it out". You have made this so easy, that I totally understand and will have no problem making all sorts of beautiful bindings...Yeah!!! xo

Pomona said...

I have one of those little gadgets and had never worked out how to use it - thank you for such an illuminating tutorial!

Pomona x

Flaming Nora said...

If I had £1 of every time I've used my bias binding makers I would be a very rich lady now.

harmony and rosie said...

What a great tutorial. I, too, have one of those tools in my cupboard (unused) :)

@LyndseyMayhew said...

Thank you for posting this great tutorial! Something I have always wanted to do but have been a bit lazy and haven't! It looks so satisfying I must!


vintage grey said...

Thanks for sharing!! I have these tools, and they are great! It has been awhile since I made bias tape, so thanks for inspiring me to. Happy Autumn! xo Heather

Annie Cholewa said...

Great tutorial! I have one of those tools and find it indispensable :D

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

Homemade bias tape gives you so many more choices! Amazing tutorial ♥

june at noon said...

I have usually made my own binding for my mini quilts, because I like using a variety of fabrics in the binding. I purchased the little tool at some point, too, but haven't tried it yet--just been doing the very tedious by-hand version. :)

Unknown said...

Awesome tutorial! Especially for those of us who are new to the craft. Thank you, ma'am. Also, I love your banner!