DIY Bias Tape
One of my favorite sewing staples is Bias Tape. It is also one of the hardest to get right when starting to sew. The key is knowing that one side is longer that the other. The longer side goes on the back so that when you top stitch you catch the longer edge in your stitching. It takes practice. Today I’m going to show you the best way to DIY Bias Tape. Next week I will show you how to sew the tape.
Cotton fabric. I use quilting cotton.
Basic sewing supplies
Prewash all fabric before sewing.
Square up the fabric and trim the edges. True Bias Tape is cut on the bias meaning at a 45* angle. This allows a little stretch and give to the tape that you do not get when you cut straight strips. Why is this important? When using the Bias Tape as a binding on curved edges such as collars the binding will lay flat.
I’m cutting straight strips for this project. If you want true bias tape it is a good idea to use a Fat quarter. (a pre cut quarter yard of fabric) wash and Iron the fabric flat. fold the fabric in a triangle by matching up the selvage (side) and cut (top) edges. You will have a little left over fabric on one side.
Cut along the fold and cut away the excess fabric. If your ruler is not long enough fold the fabric again corner to corner along the fold/cut line.
Cut 2″ strips of fabric for 1/2″ double fold Bias Tape. I cut straight strips.
If cutting on the Bias start cutting at the cut/fold line in 2″ strips.
There are 2 ways to sew the tape.
Option 1 (Straight strips)
Line up the corners and pin. Sew at a 45* angle.
Make sure that the strips will make a continuous strip once sewn. It is a good idea to test the strip by folding it open to know where to sew. If the fabric has a right and wrong side you want to make sure the fabric is right sides together to form a continuous strip of tape.
Sew along the 45* angle from corner to corner.
Option 2 (Bias strips)
You can sew the straight strips this way as well you just have to cut the edges at a 45* angle.
Line up the angled edges to form a straight line. Pin carefully and keep the edges lined up. As you get better at making your own bias tape you can forego the pinning and sew and match as you go.
Sew across the center point.
Trim away the excess fabric. I leave 1/4″ seam allowance. clip the overhang to straighten up the strips.
Iron the seams open and flat.
Fold the bias tape.
There are a few ways to fold the Bias tape by hand, with a bias tape folder, or with a paper folder template you can find online. If you plan to make a lot of bias tape it is a good investment to buy a tape folder.
Here is how to fold the tape by hand.
Fold in half and Iron to find the center point. You now have a 1″ fold.
Fold one side all the way to the center fold line. Fold second side toward the center but not all the way to the center line. this will be your longer side.
Fold the tape and iron. Fold along the center line and iron it again.
Your 1/2″ Bias Tape is ready to use. To store the new Bias Tape wrap it long ways around a note card. This will keep the Bias Tape from tangling or creasing in the wrong place. As you can see one edge is a little longer than the other.
Step 6 (sewing)
There are a few different ways to sew Bias Tape stitching in the ditch where you stitch the bias tape along the short fold line with right sides together and then fold the back over and stitch in the ditch created by the first row of stitches catching the back of the bias tape in the process. Or top stitching through both sides at one time. I tend to top stitch more often than not. I will have a tutorial up soon on both methods.
Do you have a sewing question you would like me to make a tutorial on? If so let me know and I will see what I can do.
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