Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How to Make your own Bias Binding

Bias binding comes in all sorts of colours and patterns these days - but occasionally you might have something in mind that you can't buy.  Or you might want it to be an exact match for your fabric.

The answer is to make your own - and it's really easy.

As the name suggests, it's a binding tape that is cut on the bias, which means it is cut at 45 degrees to the selvedge  (the straight edge at the side) of the fabric.  The way it's cut on the bias means it has quite a bit of stretch in it, even when the original fabric has no stretch at all - so it can easily be curved around all sorts of shapes, which is what makes it so useful.

this is really all you need  (plus an iron, of course)

To make your own bias binding, you'll need:

  • scissors (or rotary cutter + cutting mat)
  • iron
  • pencil (or fabric marker pen)
  • ruler (a quilter's rule will make measuring easier, but it's not essential)
  • bias binding maker (optional) - click here to buy one like mine from UK-based Abakhan.  
  • you'll also need fabric - of course!  If you need to work out quantities before buying your fabric, try playing with newspaper for estimates.  You can also practise with old bed sheets.


the selvedge is running right to left in this photo

Make a triangle by folding the fabric, lining a straight-across cut against the selvedge as shown above. Press the triangle edge with an iron.  Open out.

the creased line runs exactly along the bias

Cut along the resulting crease.

You can use a rotary cutter if you prefer

Measure out from this cut to make your bias strips.  If you're making 25mm bias, you'll cut 48mm strips (double the width less 2mm).

The triangle will get smaller and smaller - it's up to you how far you want to go with cutting strips, but you will have two triangles to cut from.

Mark the strips out with pencil or a fabric marker pen

Cut along the marks to create your bias strips

You probably won't be able to cut enough tape without joining.  The way you join is at an angle.  It makes for a join that doesn't show too much, doesn't waste anything and doesn't add too much bulk.

Place the ends together:

Place the ends of the tape right sides together

Sew together

Stitch along the ends at the narrowest point

Press open

Press open
Snip off to neaten

Trim off the excess fabric

From the front you have a nice neat seam

A neat seam from the front...
although my lining up wasn't perfect here (the edges will be hidden so that's ok)

Now for the fun part - if you have a tape maker you can feed it through.  If you don't all is not lost - you can fold by hand and measure.  It takes a bit longer that way so I do recommend a tape maker.  They don't cost much and last pretty much forever.

Feed the tape through the tape maker, wrong side uppermost

Press the tape with a hot iron as it comes out of the other end

That's it!  You have your very own bias tape ready to bind anything you like!

There are lots of other bias making tutorials out there that use slightly different methods, although they all have one thing in common: the fabric is cut at 45 degrees to the selvedge.

Have a look here for a method of making a continuous strip bias or here if you want a video and clear diagrams.  The continuous strip method might be useful if you want long lengths for something like binding a quilt.


Anne said...

When I make my own bias binding, I join the two triangles back together and then draw the lines on. Doing it this way means all the joining seams are already sewn and you cut the bias in one big strip.

Here's the link to my tutorial - http://annelee55.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/how-to-make-bias-binding.html

If you think this comment is way too cheeky, please feel free to delete it. I wouldn't want you to feel that I was stepping on your toes or anything. :o)

Wendy said...

Hi Anne, that's fine - not too cheeky at all! I have linked to a tutorial that sounds similar to your method - but joining the strips individually is way easier for my tiny brain! I'll leave your link in case anyone wants to check it out - sometimes, the more you read the more likely you are to settle on a method that suits you. Thanks for stopping by!

Ali said...

Hi Wendy,
I had no idea you could get a tool to make bias binding. This is going to save my fingers when ironing. Thanks for the tutorial.
Ali x

Lyn said...

Hello Wendy - that's a lovely clear tutorial and I can see why you would want to sometimes make your own binding. The little tool is great!

Wendy said...

Oh Ali it is such a finger-saver - makes the job so much easier. Lyn, yes it's a nifty little gadget!