If you learn how to make bias tape (bias binding) it can save you a lot of money and the possibilities for using beautiful fabrics are limitless. Bias tape is simply a long strip of fabric that has been cut on the diagonal therefore making it stretchy. It is used to encase raw edges and can be used decoratively on projects such as quilts or clutches or it can be used to bind armholes or necklines.
How to Make Bias Tape | Supplies
What you will need:
- FABRIC – your fabric should be lightweight and tightly woven. I normally find that fabrics with small prints work the best. A larger piece of fabric will result in fewer joins in your fabric. I recommend you start with a piece that is at least 1/2 yard (0.45m).
- CUTTING TOOLS – Scissors or a rotary cutter
- SEWING TOOLS – Ruler, iron and general sewing supplies
- OPTIONAL – Bias tape maker – They come in assorted sizes such as 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 inch and 2inch widths. Here I have used a 1/2 inch (12mm) bias tape maker. Common brands include Clover, Birch and Dritz. Don’t worry if you can’t get one as I will show you how to make bias tape without any special tools as well.
About Bias Tape
There are 2 types of bias binding tape: single fold or double fold. (Read types of bias tape). This tutorial will show you how to make bias tape to create these 2 types.
Single fold bias is used on the edges of clothing such as necklines and underarms. It is flat with the raw edges facing each other in the middle. (Read how to sew single fold bias)
Double fold bias tape is a simple single fold bias that has been folded again so that all the edges are encased. It is can be used for quilts and decorative purposes or to bind armholes and necklines. It is probably the most commonly used tape. (Read how to sew double fold bias)
How to Make Bias Tape (Binding) – The Video
Watch my YouTube video showing you how to quickly made bias binding tape with and without a bias maker. I post weekly sewing and craft videos so make sure you subscribe.
How to Make Bias Tape Binding
Ready to learn how to make bias tape?
Step 1: Find the Bias
First find the bias of the fabric. This is just the stretchiest part of your fabric and is a 45-degree angle from the selvage. Find the angle easily by folding over the edge of your fabric to form a triangle. If you cut along at this angle it will be 45 degrees – no maths involved!
Step 2: Cut Strips
Cut strips along the 45-degree bias double the width of your bias maker.
For a 1/2 inch (12mm) bias maker, I cut strips of 1 inch (2.5cm) in width. You can use a rotary cutter or scissors for this.
Step 3: Join the Strips
Take 2 strips that have ends pointing in the same direction.
Put the right sides together and stitch your pieces together like this.
Use a small stitch and make sure you backstitch the ends. Your seam will be around 1/4 inch (6mm).
See how each end overhangs a bit and the stitching line goes from edge to edge. The 2 pieces of tape will form a 90-degree angle. Repeat until all the strips are joined together to form a continuous strip of bias tape.
Step 4: Press Open and Trim Seams
Press the seams open and trim the pieces that stick out over the edges.
Now we have lovely bias strips and are ready to turn it into tape with or without our bias maker.
How to Use a Bias Maker
Once you have all your pieces joined you can make them into tape using your bias maker. Put the long angled end into the bias maker and push it through to the other end. A seam ripper or pin can help you do this.
Iron the folded fabric as it comes out the other end of the bias maker. Use the handle to pull the bias maker along smoothly. Make sure the iron is on the correct settings for your fabric. For a hard to iron fabric a bit of steam can help but watch your fingers and do a test first.
Keep ironing the whole strip and you are finished!
How to Make Bias Tape with No Tools
A bias maker is a great tool to have but don’t worry if you can’t get one. It is just as easy to use this traditional method. Just watch your fingers as the steam from the iron can be a little hot.
Press the bias strips in half with wrong sides together to form a crease.
Open up the bias and then press the edges in to meet in the middle crease. You now have single fold bias!
Alternative Way to Make Bias Tape with No Tools
Take a long needle and stick it in and then out of your ironing board cover.
Now measure a gap the width of the tape you need to make and stick it back in the ironing board and out again.
- SINGLE FOLD – For 1/2 inch (12mm) single-fold bias, the gap should be 1/2 inch (12mm). If you are making 1 inch (2.5cm) single fold bias then the gap should be 1 inch
- DOUBLE FOLD – For double fold bias, the gap should be double the final width of the tape. For example, to make 1/2 inch (12mm) double fold bias this gap should be 1 inch (2.5cm).
Repeat for the second needle 1 inch (2.5cm) directly under the first one.
Fold your fabric edges to meet in the center and then pull the end under the pins. You can use your ruler to make sure that the edges meet in the center.
Pull the fabric through the needles and start ironing. Check every now and again that the edges are still meeting in the middle and that the width is still correct.
Keep ironing the whole strip and you are finished!
How to Make Double Fold Bias Tape
Make bias strips the same way as the single fold tape instructions with one important difference.
Cut the strips 4 times the width of the bias tape maker. For a 1/2 inch (12mm) bias maker, cut the strips 2 inches wide.
Once you have single fold bias tape, fold the tape in half so one side is just wider than the other. It should be around 1/16 inch (1.5mm) difference.
And there you have it – beautiful, colorful bias tape. You can wrap it around a rectangle of cardboard to store it neatly.
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