One of the great things about modern sewing is that there are so many ways to customize each project. We are no longer bound by the limits of the local fabric and craft store. If they don’t have what we want, we make it ourselves!
And often, those little customized details are what make the sewing projects out there simply amazing. One of the best skills I gained when learning to sew was how to make and use my own bias tape. So today I’m going to show you how to make your own! In case you’re wondering what bias tape is, here are a few of the projects I’ve used it for recently:
|Little flags were sewn to bias tape to make a banner|
|Bias tape became straps for this fun little dress|
|Bias tape used as binding for a baby quilt|
To make 1/2″ or 1″ double-fold bias tape you will need:
- 1/2 yard of fabric (or any piece you decide is big enough after reading this tutorial)
- Cutting tool and ruler
- Sewing machine
Lay your fabric out on your cutting mat like this:
Do you see a 45 degree angle line on your mat? Line the selvage edge of your fabric up with this line.
Begin cutting strips. For 1/2 inch double binding cut 2 inch strips.
I don’t usually use these short little strips for my binding since longer ones will come along. But I hold on to them just in case I need more length.
Watch your pile grow as you keep cutting…
Now take two of your strips and place them like you see in the picture below with RIGHT SIDES FACING. The fabric I’m using in these pictures doesn’t have a right or wrong side, but if you’re using a printed fabric this is a very important step.
Use your ruler to draw a line before taking your strips to the machine. Or you can just eyeball it, which is what I do. 😉
Now stitch the pieces together like this:
Here is what your stitch line will look like:
At this point I like to go through and sew all my strips together. Once I have one really looong bias strip, I take it to the cutting board to remove the excess.
Now cut off the extra fabric, but leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You’ll iron the seams open in the next step.
Cut off the little corners:
Now take your bias strip to the ironing board and iron all the seams open. I find this part so satisfying. 🙂
The right side of your bias strip will look like this:
Heres a picture of all the beautiful bias tape I’ve been working on. I love the colors together. 🙂
Now fold your bias strip in half (WRONG sides together if there is a right and wrong side) and iron down the entire length.
Next, fold both raw edges in to the center of your bias strip (you will have an obvious center line from ironing the strip in half).
Finally, fold the whole piece in half again and iron as shown in the picture below. Keep one side of the bias tape just a tiny bit shorter than the other. (This is so that when you sew the bias tape on to a project, the back side of your bias won’t miss the stitches as you sew). UPDATED: See this post for more information on how to do this step.
This step can take awhile so turn on some music or a t.v. show and try not to burn your fingers. 🙂 You can find tools for making bias tape at your local craft store (or Jo-anne’s), but I don’t mind doing it the old-fashioned way. I own the Simplicity bias-tape making machine but I’ve found there is nothing simple about it. I usually spend as much time trying to fix the bias tape that’s come out of the machine as I would have just doing it myself.
Now pair it up with some cute fabric and go sew something!
(If you happen to be wondering why I chose to make plain ole’ yellow bias tape in this tutorial instead of something more exciting, it’s because I was trying to match a correct yellow to the fabric bellow. Jo-anne’s only had a neon yellow bias tape (which I did use on another project) but I needed something much more buttery.
Now, go make piles and piles of beautiful bias tape. 🙂
Next time I’ll show you how to sew bias tape on to your fabric, the proper way, the semi-proper way and the cheater way. They each have their own value. 🙂
Thanks for reading, friends! If you have a question please leave it in the comments section and I’ll get right back to you. Have a wonderful weekend!