Learn how to make continuous bias tape without having to piece together lots of fiddly strips. This is especially handy when you have large amounts of bias to make for quilts or other big sewing projects. This method can save you a lot of time, and even beginners can start to make continuous bias tape (also called continuous bias binding).
Continuous Bias Tape Tutorial
What is Continuous Bias Tape?
Continuous bias tape refers to the method used to create bias tape in a spiral tube. Many sewers prefer continuous bias tape as it has fewer joins and no individual piercings, which saves time and frustration. This is the favorite bias tape method used by quilters and clothing sewers doing larger projects.
Continuous Bias Tape - Supplies
What you will need to make continuous bias tape:
- FABRIC - At least ½ yard (0.45m) of tightly-woven fabric that can be pressed. Natural fibers such as cotton are best. I like to use squares of quilting cotton. Try and choose fabrics with a small-scale print, as they will look the best when cut into strips. Fat quarters are great for making continuous bias tape.
- MARKING - Marking pen or chalk with a sharp tip
- MACHINE - Sewing machine that does a small straight stitch
- FOOT - All-purpose sewing foot
- MEASURING - Ruler
Continuous Bias Tape - Video
Watch this quick video from my YouTube channel so you can visualize the process before you start. It is just a few minutes, so relax and enjoy!
How to Make Continuous Bias Tape
Here are the step-by-step instructions for making continuous bias tape:
Step 1 - Cut the Diagonal
Cut a large square piece of fabric. The larger the square, the less piecing you will have. Mark halfway down 2 opposite sides. (see the circles) Cut along the diagonal so you have 2 equal-sized triangles.
Use a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler for a really clean straight cut. If you use a rotary cutter, don't forget to put a self-healing mat underneath to protect your table.
Step 2 - Joint the Triangles
Place your triangles right sides together with the marks matching. See how they overlap and offset each other.
Stitch a seam about ¼ inch (6mm) from the raw edge. Trim the seam to ⅛ inch (3mm) and press it open.
TIP: We sew a ¼ inch or more seam and trim it down because most sewing machines do not like sewing much narrower than that without getting the fabric caught underneath.
Step 3 - Draw Strips
On the wrong side of the fabric, mark lines at your desired width.
IMPORTANT - Notice that the lines are drawn parallel to the longer sides of the fabric.
Here is how you work out the width of these strips for continuous bias tape.
- Single fold bias - this will be 2 x your final width. (For example, cut 1 inch (2.5cm) for ½ inch (12mm) bias.)
- Double fold bias - this will be 4 x your final width. (For example, cut 2 inches (5cm) for ½ inch (12mm) double-fold bias tape.)
Step 4 - Create a Tube
Now we need to create a tube of continuous bias tape. Bring the short diagonal sides together, forming a tube as below.
IMPORTANT - See how it is the shorter ends that we are bringing together in the center. Do not sew the seam yet.
Step 5 - Offset The Strips
Move the edges so that the lines are offset by one strip, and carefully pin matching the ends of the lines.
VERY IMPORTANT – Note I said offset lines. If you join the lines up with the edges even, you will have tubes (a bit like calamari) and not a continuous strip. Offset the rows by one.
Step 6 - Stitch the Edges
Stitch a ¼ inch (6mm) seam. Trim the seam to ⅛ inch (3mm) and press the seam open.
Step 7 - Cut in a Spiral
Cut along the lines in a continuous bias tape spiral. A couple of my lines went a little off at one of the seams, but I just cut as carefully as I could. If you are off just a small amount, you can cheat the width when you do the pressing later.
Step 8 - Press into Continuous Bias Tape
Your continuous bias tape is now ready for pressing. Learn how to use a bias maker.
Pressing the Continuous Bias Tape
You can press the strips into single or double fold bias.
See my blog post on how to make bias tape for pressing instructions if you are new to this, but here is a summary.
- For single fold bias, press the raw edges to the center on the wrong side. You can do this with a bias tape maker or just freehand. If you do it with your fingers, just go slowly as the tape does get hot, and you don't want to burn your fingers. Generally, if I am pressing long strips, I will use a bias tape maker, and if it is only a small bias strip I will just use my fingers.
- Double fold bias is pressed a second time so the folded edges meet and no raw edges are visible.
Continuous Bias Tape - Diagram Summary
I have put together some diagrams below to help you better visualize the process. Good luck, and I hope you enjoyed learning how to make continuous bias tape.
I'd love to hear in the comments about what you are going to use it for.
Continuous Bias Tape Projects
Now you know how to make continuous bias tape, you are ready to sew some projects. The makeup roll pattern featured is one of my free patterns, so why not give it a try. It is great for storing pens for kids as well.
More Articles On Bias Tape
- How to Make Bias Tape
- How to Sew Single Fold Bias Tape
- How to Sew Double Fold Bias Tape
- How to Make Continuous Bias Tape
- How to Sew Mitred Square Corners with Bias Tape
- Types of Bias Tape
- Bias Bound Seam
- Hong Kong Finish
- Sewing Bias Tape
- Types of Bias Tape
- How to Sew a V Neck with Bias Tape
- Sewing Basics
- Square Piece of Fabric
- Cut a large square piece of fabric. Mark halfway down 2 opposite sides. (see the circles) Cut along the diagonal so you have 2 equal-sized triangles.
- Place your triangles right sides together with the marks matching. Stitch with a ¼" seam and trim to ⅛". Press seam open.
- On the wrong side of the fabric, mark lines at your desired width. (1" for single fold, 2" for double fold) Mark paralell to the longer sides.
- Bring the short diagonal sides together, forming a tube.
- Move the edges so that the lines are offset by one strip, and carefully pin matching the ends of the lines.
- Stitch a ¼ inch (6mm) seam. Trim the seam to ⅛ inch (3mm) and press the seam open.
- Cut along the lines in a continuous bias tape spiral.
- Press into single fold or double fold.
yes, definitely wash it if the final product will be washed. Wash your main fabric too.
This looks like an excellent time saver! Do you usually prewash the fabric for the binding?
Make sure NOT to use heat-erasable pen for the markings, as it will... erase.... with heat... from pressing the seams open (dangit!)
This is well written. I am using it to finish the neckline & make straps for an apron.
I am making bias binding for 6 table runners that I made as Christmas gifts for my daughters. I have been quilting for over 15 years and this is my first attempt at bis binding. I watched several videos and yours was the best. Thank you.
Double fold bias is folded in 4. Single is folded in half. So if you want 2 inch single fold bias you will cut 4 inch strips.
There is one part I still do not understand - if I want to use the 2" bias tape maker to make double-fold bias tape, how wide do my strips of fabric have to be? 2" or 4"? That is, does the 2" bias tape maker make 2" single fold out of a 4" wide strip? Thank you for the help!
Hi Tamara, that was a great idea. I'm going to try that next time I do bias. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I found putting the tube on the end of my ironing board to cut it out was very helpful in cutting the tape and letting the cut strip pile on the floor. THis way I didn’t accidentally cut the material in the wrong place while twisting it to cut. THis was one of best explanations on how to make bias tape!
This is a very helpful tutorial. I have the folders in all sizes and have not used them. Thanks again.
Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂
GERALDINE L ROTHSTEIN
This is the best explanation of sewing with double fold bias tape that I have come across, including mitered corners and v necks. Thank you.
Hi Maria, For the continuous bias tape, you stitch the ends together so there is a tube. Then you can start cutting along your lines in a spiral motion. This will save you so much time. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂
When you stitch the second diagonal that is offset by one row, do you stitch it to the other piece so it is all shut or do you somehow stitch it so there is a tube or a letter O?