cutting fabric to make bias tape

How To Make Continuous Bias Tape or Bias Binding for your curvy quilted projects

Making bias tape or bias quilt binding has lots of advantages:

  • Make it to match your project using the same fabric or a coordinate of your choice
  • It can be made from the same type of material so your project will look professional
  • It is cheaper than buying ready made bias tape
  • You can use up those remnants or even fat quarters

(If you are working on something with straight sides, you can use straight edged binding which is easier and quicker to make. Learn how here)

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SUPPLIES:

Determine Binding Length Needed

Measure the outside of your project you want to bind or need bias tape for whether it’s straight sides, curves or both.

Add at least 20″ to account for overlap when matching bias tape or binding and loss of length for mitered corners, etc.

get free pdf instructions for how to make bias tape and continuous binding

WRITTEN DIRECTIONS: How To Make Bias Tape Or Binding In Continuous Lengths

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Determine the size square fabric you need

Take the length of binding you need and multiply by the width of your binding.
Example: 140 inches x 2.5 inches wide = 350

Now grab a calculator that has a square root button or go to this website. Enter the number and hit the square root button. Round up to the next whole number to determine the size fabric square you need to use.
Example: Enter 350 then hit โˆš = 18.708 = 19″ square of fabric

NOTE: I have found that the length I get from a square is often a bit less than this calculation but this is the math I find everywhere I search. For example, when I made 2 1/2″ bias binding from a 15″ square it ended up 78″ long instead of 98″. For this reason I cut an inch or two larger than the math tells me too. I’d rather have too much than not enough.

If you find yourself short you can always add more bias strips – either single bias cuts or another square cut as continuous bias – to the end.

Cut your square

Cut a square of fabric on the grain (cut parallel to the selvage). Using a quilting ruler, rotary cutter and mat, cut your square diagonally – from corner to corner. This will cut the fabric on the bias. (BIAS: 45 degree angle from the selvages or cut edges of fabric.)

Pin & sew triangles

Right Sides together (RST) – place two opposite sides of your triangles together (A and A or B and B from fig. 1). The corners should be 1/4″ offset. (fig. 2)

Pin together and sew with a 1/4″ seam. Press seams open.

cut square apart

figure 1

how to offset fabric and pin for Continuous Binding

figure 2

Mark your lines

Place the fabric on your workspace, wrong side up. (fig. 3) Draw parallel lines the desired width of your bias strips, starting from the bottom long side. (fig. 4)

Use a pencil or pen that will show on your fabric and not bleed through to the front. Don’t use heat erasable pens (as much as I adore them!) because they will disappear when you sew and press the next seam open. I also found a chalk line disappeared too much when moving the ruler, pinning and sewing.

Cut off any excess that is less than your desired strip width from the top.

fabric sewn together and seam pressed for making bias tape

figure 3

fabric with lines to make Continuous Binding

figure 4

Form and sew fabric tube

Flip your fabric over so the right side is up. Fold in the short ends.
Match the lines with the bottom right fabric corner lining up with the first line on the left. The rows are shifted so you will be able to cut the fabric into one continuous piece. (fig. 5)

When you pin the short ends together, you need to make sure the lines will match up after sewing a 1/4″ seam. If they match perfectly on the raw edge it won’t be right.

Here’s how I get the lines set up to align after sewing:

  • Put a pin straight through one line, 1/4″ down from the raw edge.
  • Flip your folded fabric and put the coordinating line on the pin – 1/4″ down from the raw edge.
  • Keep the pin in the fabric and pivot the fabric to line up the raw edges – pin together. (fig. 6)
  • Doing this on the second line should have everything line up as you match the raw edges but it never hurts to double check before sewing.
  • See this technique in the video starting at 4 mins 23 seconds.

Sew with a 1/4″ seam and press seams open.

Using fabric scissors, cut along the line until you have one big bias strip. (It’s like magic!) (fig. 7)

Now you have a bias strip of fabric that you can press into bias tape or bias quilt binding.

how to offset the fabric and lines to make bias tape

figure 5

fabric pinned together to make Continuous Binding

figure 6

cutting fabric to make bias tape

figure 7

Make Bias Tape

With right side down, insert strip into the your bias tape maker tool to fold in the long edges. Pull the fabric through an inch or so and use your fingers to get the fold started and press. (fig. 8)

Move the bias tape maker a few inches at a time and iron until you have pressed the entire length of your fabric. You now have single fold bias tape. (fig. 9)

For more crisp fold lines and structured bias tape, spray the bias strip with ironing spray or spray starch before threading it through the bias tape maker.

If you want double fold bias tape to use as binding on clothing, bags or other smaller items, fold in half and press.

using a bias tape maker

figure 8

single fold bias tape rolled up on cutting mat

figure 9

Make Bias Quilt Binding

To turn your bias strips into bias quilt binding, simply fold in half, matching the raw edges, and press. (fig. 10)

GET THE FREE PDF OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS

bias quilt binding rolled up on cutting mat

figure 10

๐ŸŽฏ SHORTCUTS TO SPECIFIC TOPICS:
00:00 Introduction
00:15 What is straight edge binding
00:27 grainline of fabric
00:31 cross-grain of fabric
00:36 bias of fabric
00:47 When to use bias binding vs straight grain binding
01:12 Cut the square
01:37 Pin pieces and sew
02:11 Draw lines on fabric
02:50 Why a chalk line won’t work
03:15 Trim off extra fabric
03:32 Pin together
04:23 The secret to pinning the edges together
05:57 Cutting the bias pieces apart
06:18 How to make Bias Tape
08:27 How to make Bias Quilt Binding

Bias binding will give your curved quilts and projects a professional finish without the bunching you will get if you try to use straight grain binding. With a little practice, you’ll master this binding method and take your quilting projects to the next level. Happy quilting!

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๐Ÿงต Tara Reed

P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!

 

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