How to Make Bias Tape
(also called bias binding)

Learn how to make bias tape. It may seem tricky at first, but when you master it, you'll love making it from all kinds of pretty fabrics!

I make a very very long cord, and then I wrap it around a piece of cardboard to store. This way, I always have it ready to use.

Bias tape is an easy and quick way to add a pretty touch to anything.

Finish the edge of a fabric rectangle with it and turn it into a placemat, a big rug or a pretty facetowel.

You know how useful it is, but let's get down to the basics so you learn how to make bias tape.

What is Bias Tape?

It's a strip of fabric that is cut it in a 45 degree angle to the fabric selvage. That's where the name comes from. Bias tape is usually attached to edges of other things and needs to be stretchy and easily adjustable. Otherwise it would easily come undone.

Cutting in a 45 degree angle lets the fabric move freely. (Don't worry, it sounds more complicated than it actually is, you'll see how easy it is once you learn how to make bias tape) It can also be called bias binding.

If you're going to put the binding around a straight edge, you don't have to do the 45 degree thing, you can just cut strips of fabric along the selvage. It won't be called bias tape though.

Types of Bias Tape

Basically all of these are they're the same. The only difference is how you fold them. If you learn how to make continuous bias tape, you'll be able to make all of them.

  • Simple Bias Tape
  • This is just a strip of fabric cut to the bias. One of it's most common uses is to make cording.

  • Single Fold Bias Tape
  • How to make bias tape

    If you take a fabric strip, and fold each of it's edges towards the center, guess what you get? Single fold bias. It's mostly used when you want to finish the edges of a garment, but you don't want them to show on the outside.

  • Double Fold Bias Tape
  • How to make bias tape

    This is a single fold bias in half. In commercial tapes, one of the sides is slightly larger than the other one. This helps you sew perfectly over both edges.

    • Use it when you're going to finish the edges of something that WILL SHOW on the outside.
    • An example would be the edges of a placemat, a neckline, or the bottom edge of a skirt.
    • You can also use it to make bias tape ties.

Bias Tape Uses

It's main purpose is to give a nice finish to fabric edges. But you can use it for almost anything! Here are some of the most common uses:

  • Raw edges of clothing, around armholes and necklines
  • Edges of mats
  • To make piping
  • To decorate bags and purses
  • to make ties
  • When you learn how to make bias tape, you'll want to sew it on everything!

How to Make Continuous Bias Tape

The first step is to figure out two things:

  • How wide will the bias binding be

      No fold: Cut to the size you need. Note: If you're going to make cording, cut the strips wide enough so that they cover the cord, and you have an extra inch for sewing.

      Single fold: Cut the strips twice as wide as your desired finished size.

      Double fold: Decide the width of your finished binding, and cut the strips four times as wide.

  • How much do you need?

      Measure the edge of whatever you'll be using it for. Always make a little extra, just in case anything weird happens.

Ok, let's get started,

  1. The first step is to figure out how you're going to cut the fabric. Lay it flat, with the wrong side of fabric downwards and find the selvage (this is the edge of the fabric that doesn't fray, it's usually stiff or has a different color).

    How to make bias tape
  2. You're going to cut in a diagonal line to make the bias tape stretchy. Fold one edge of the fabric towards the selvage line to create a triangle. Iron and unfold.

    How to make bias tape
  3. See the line you get? Cut the triangle and sew it onto the other edge to create a parallelogram.

    How to make bias tape
  4. Draw lines parallel to the diagonal edge of your fabric. The distance between them should be the width of your strips.

    How to make bias tape

    See the red and yellow dots? We'll use those in a moment. Make marks on your corners like I did.

  5. Now the fun part! You have to sew the top and bottom edges of the fabric so that you create a tube.

    • Fold the strip lengthwise, with the right sides of fabric facing each other.
    • Make sure that the dots DON'T match. You have to move the fabric a little so that the dots end up on one of the lines. Pin.

      How to make bias tape
    • Your fabric will twist, and it will look kinda weird, but it's ok. Just make sure that you match the fabric right.
    • Take the tube and hold it up to the light to see through the fabric. You'll notice that the lines cross each other to create an X. Sew in a straight line on top of the X's. This will make the strips match perfectly. Sew and iron the seams open.
  6. Now you have a tube of fabric with a spiral drawn on it. Start cutting from one of the edges. Continue all around until you have a long long strip of continuous bias.
    How to make bias tape

How to Fold Bias Tape

  • To make single fold bias tape
  • Fold the edges towards the middle and iron.

    How to make bias tape

  • To make double fold bias tape
  • Fold the edges towards the center. One should be right in the middle, and the other one slightly apart to make one edge a bit larger than the other one. This is useful when you're going to sew it onto something else. Iron.

    Fold along the middle and iron again!

    Don't fold in half becuase you'll get both sides the same. You should fold right in the middle, that's where the larger side ends. This way you'll get one side larger that the other one.
    How to make bias tape

You can do this the old fashioned way. Which is folding by hand and then ironing. It's doable, but it gets kinda tiring and you'll need a loooot of patience. This is the reason many people don't go into learning how to make bias tape.

Lucky for you someone came up with these handy tools to make bias tape the easy way!

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