Bindings · Tutorial · Uncategorized

Preparing Bias Tape

Bias tape, as the name suggests, is always cut on the bias of the fabric.  That is, at a 45 degree angle to the fabric’s selvedge edge.  This allows for some stretching of the tape, even when created from a fabric that is typically considered to be “non-stretch”.  This is especially helpful and necessary when the bias tape will be used on a curved edge, as the stretch of the tape allows it to lay flat and un-puckered.  Double fold bias tape is often used as a binding for raw edges in a garment.  It can help achieve a clean finish when other methods (such as serging) are not possible, practical, or desirable.  Single fold bias tape is more often used as a facing on openings such as the neckline, arm scye, or as a hemming option for skirts.

Below we have two basic methods for preparing bias tape.  (In our example we are making 1 1/2″ tape; which refers to the overall width of the bias fabric strip before folding, however this same method can be applied to any width of bias tape.)  Both methods work well when you either have only smaller sections of fabric to work with, or don’t want to cut across the bias of an entire length of fabric.  Small bias strips can be combined to create one longer section of bias tape.

METHOD 1:

To begin, cut a section of fabric that has one edge which is at a 45 degree angle from the selvedge (or grainline).

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Measure 1 1/2″ in from the bias edge of the fabric and cut along that line.

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Continue measuring and cutting 1 1/2″ strips from the bias edge.

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Combine these smaller bias strips into one long piece of bias tape by laying 2 strips right sides together at a 90 degree angle to each other.  (The two short edges should align.)

The seam allowance will be 1/4″ and the strips will need to be offset by that amount. Keeping the short edges aligned, shift the strips just slightly until a small triangle of fabric is exposed on each strip, as demonstrated in the photo below. The stitch line will be from point A to point B so the strips will be shifted until those points are 1/4″ from the short edges. Pin in place.

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Sew the two strips together, using the exposed triangles (from the previous step) as the 1/4″ seam allowance guide.

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Trim off those exposed triangles, and press the bias strip open/flat.  Repeat these steps until all the pieces have been combined to create the full bias tape.

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Fold and press the strip in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together.

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Open the middle fold and press each long raw edge in to the middle crease, wrong sides together.  At this point the tape is considered to be “Single Fold Bias Tape”. If you are using it as single fold tape, you will want to give it a nice press to remove that middle crease line. To create what is called “Double Fold Bias Tape”, continue with the next step.

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With the long edges still pressed towards the center, re-fold and press the whole strip along the center fold line. This is now completed double fold bias tape.

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METHOD 2:

For this method, a rectangular piece of fabric is required.   With the fabric facing wrong side up, draw a line connecting the top and bottom of the rectangle along the bias line.  (ie – a line that runs at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge edge – or – grainline).

step1

step2

Measure over 1 1/2″ from the first bias line, and draw a second line.

step3

Continue measuring and drawing bias lines along the fabric.

step4

Remove the triangular sections left on each end.

step5

Turn the fabric right side up and fold the ends in towards each other.

step6

Cut a few inches along the marked line on opposite edges of the fabric and move the small sections out of the way.

step7

Align the remaining sections (right sides together) and pin in place.  As in Method 1, the fabrics should be shifted just slightly so as to leave a small triangle of each fabric exposed.  The seam (from points A to B) should end up being 1/4″ from the raw edge.  Sew together.

step8

 

Press seam allowance open.

step9

The tape is now ready to be cut into one long strip!  Start at one end, where it has already begun to be separated, and continue cutting along the marked line.

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Fold and press the strip in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together.

step13

Open the middle fold and press long edges in to meet the centre crease, wrong sides together.  At this point the tape is considered to be “Single Fold Bias Tape”. If you are using it as single fold tape, you will want to give it a nice press to remove that middle crease line. To create what is called “Double Fold Bias Tape”, continue with the next step.

step14

With the long edges still pressed towards the center, re-fold and press the whole strip along the center fold line.  This results in what is called “Double Fold Bias Tape”.

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And there you have it!  Two different methods for creating your own double or single fold bias tape!

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