Bias Tape


Who hasn’t stood in front of a bias tape display and thought, “but these are all UGLY!”?

There are lots of times when making your own bias tape can be very convenient, even necessary.  It isn’t hard to do, but you do have to be fairly precise in your measurements and you have to be willing to spend a little time pressing.  Here’s how I do it.

First, select the fabric you’ll use.

Determine how much bias tape you’ll need and how wide you’ll be making the strips.  A note on strip width:  for double fold bias tape multiply the desired finished width of your tape by 4.  For single fold bias tape multiply by 2.  Use these measurements for the strip width to cut.  Multiply total length needed (in inches) by width of the strip you’ll make to decide how many square inches of fabric you’ll need.  Divide that number by the width of your fabric to determine how much fabric to cut.  For example:  I want 80 feet (960 inches) of 3/4″ wide strip.  That’s 720  square inches of fabric. 720 divided by 40 is 18″ of fabric I’ll need to cut.

Start with squared up, well pressed fabric.

From one end of the extended fabric, cut off a 45 degree corner.

Turn the fabric around and sew that corner you’ve cut off onto the other straight edge so that you get a parallelogram.   Press the seam OPEN.

Mark lines parallel to the long edges in the width you want your strips to be.  If you have a little leftover along one long edge, don’t worry about it.

Match the blunt end of one short edge to the sharp end of the other, then scoot the blunt edge over ONE FULL LINE.  Sew the two short edges together, forming a tube and matching the pencil lines as you go.  Here’s where accuracy is good.  Pin the heck out of your fabric if you need to.  It’s worth it.  Again, press the seam OPEN.  This reduces bulk in the finished product.

Start cutting at one of the pointy ends.  Keep on cutting until you get to the other pointy end.  It will all be one continuous cut, not a bunch of little circles.

After it’s all cut, press edges as desired.  There are a couple of good bias tape folder gizmos on the market; I think Clover makes one of them.  You can get them in a wide range of widths.  I usually just press the tape myself for quilting because I prefer single fold tape for quilting (less bulk).

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