Is there a project you’re making that calls for bias tape? I’m going to show you how simple it is to make your own unique single and double fold tape.
What is bias tape?
Bias tape is a long narrow strip of fabric that is cut on the bias.
What does “bias” mean?
The bias is a 45-degree angle across the weave of the fabric. Fabric that is pulled “on the grain” does NOT stretch. Fabric pulled “on the bias” stretches. That’s what is so wonderful about this stuff! It curves and still lies flat when sewn.
What do you use it for?
You can use it around necklines, armholes, bind blanket edges, and just use it as a decorative trim. You can also make an elastic casing with a wide bias tape.
There are two types of bias tape: single fold and double fold. The reason to use one over the other is simply by preference. Double fold is a little more durable, because the fabric is doubled and will hold up better. Good for binding blankets etc. When sewing clothing edges, single fold is less bulky. It also comes in a variety of widths.
Why make your own?
You may be wondering why you would want to make your own when you can just easily go to the store and buy it. Well, there are several reasons to make your own.
One of the best things about making your own bias tape is that you can make it out of colorful prints! A printed trim adds so much character and really makes it pop.
Bias tape at the store only comes in solid colors, and might I add, a very limited assortment of colors. There have been so many times when sewing up a project that I had to settle with a tape that that hardly matched the fabric I was working with. Now I just make my own and can match it perfectly if needed.
Although, bias tape is fairly inexpensive at the store, making your own can save you a little money, and personally I find the process quite enjoyable!
Here is a video tutorial showing you the whole process.
How to make your own bias tape
You can manually fold the bias tape, or you can use a bias tape maker. I will show you how to do it both ways.
However, this little gadget is one of the sweetest sewing tools EVER! It makes the job so much easier! You can get the whole set for a very reasonable price HERE.
Materials and items needed:
- Woven fabric (cotton, or cotton blends) I recommend using fat quarters or fabric cut to ½ yard.
- Fat quarters are pre-cut fabric pieces that measures 18 x 20 inches. You can get them at any fabric or craft store.
- Bias Tape Maker (optional, but it makes the job soooooo much easier) LOVE THEM!
- Rotary Cutter, Mat, Ruler
- Sewing Machine
Although you can make several different sizes as indicated above, I am going to walk you through the process of making a 1” single fold and ½ inch double fold bias tape.
There are different sizes of bias tape makers, each a different color. The packaged set did not come with instructions on how wide to cut the strips of fabric, which was very frustrating!
So hopefully this chart will simplify things and make it more clear for you.
Using a Fat quarter
Take your fat quarter piece of fabric and fold the bottom up so the side piece is aligned with the top edge. It will make a triangle.
Cut off the excess fabric on the side.
Cut along the diagonal crease.
Take the bottom right corner up to meet the top left corner, to make a smaller triangle. Flip the FOLDED EDGE so it is on the bottom, and the cut bias edge is now on the left.
Cut 2 inch strips (about 3-4 strips) and save the leftover for your scrap box.
sewing the strips together
To get one continuous strip of bias tape, you’ll need to sew the strips together. NO PROBLEM!
As you can see you will end up with three different lengths of strips. You’ll want to mix them up so you don’t have a bunch of seams close together.
If using a ½ yard piece of fabric:
Square off one of the cut edges so you have a straight edge to work with. You’ll basically do the same thing but you will be working with a double layer of fabric and the strips will be longer.
Place one of the strips with the RIGHT SIDE FACING UP. Take another strip and place it RIGHT SIDE FACING DOWN on top of the other strip at a 45 degree angle. If it doesn’t line up like this, flip the strip and the other end will meet up.
Line up the edges and slide it up or down so it overhangs at least a 1/4 inch, as indicated above.
You will be sewing from the notched corner to the other notched corner. VERY IMPORTANT! It doesn’t really matter how big the seam allowance is, but it does matter that you are sewing from those notched corners to notched corners.
I drew a line with a pen to show where the seam will be. ( You don’t have to mark it ).
Take it to the sewing machine and sew together. Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Clip off the little tags. Go to the end of the strip and add another one.
Continue until all strips are sewn together.
Using the bias tape maker
Poke the end of the fabric strip into the big end of the bias tape maker. (If the strip is cut at an angle, which it will be, it will be much easier to feed through the tool). If it gets stuck, simply get a pin and stick it into the hole in the top and pull it out.
Start pulling the strip of fabric and it will automatically fold the ends over. SO COOL! Use the iron to press as you pull. USE THE STEAM SETTING to get a good creased edge.
***When you come to a seam, you may need to tug a little harder, but no big deal. Continue pulling and pressing until the whole strip is folded.
That is SINGLE FOLD BIAS TAPE.
To make DOUBLE FOLD BIAS TAPE, simply fold it in half again and press.
To manually fold the tape, fold the tape in half first, then fold the edge up to the crease you just made. Press. Then fold the top edge down to the halfway point and press. Then if you want double fold tape, fold it half again and press.
So that wasn’t hard was it?
Oh the fun things you can embellish with a cute printed strip of bias tape.
This is a blanket bound with a strip of printed double fold bias tape.
Although you usually use a cotton fabric to make bias tape, you can also make trim with knit fabric. This is a t-shirt that I just added a strip of knit binding over the existing neck ribbing. Cute Hugh?
So many fun things you can do.
I hope this opened your eyes up to a whole new world of bias tape.
Don’t settle for the drab and boring tape at the store, MAKE YOUR OWN!
You got this!
Have fun sewing,