What is Bias Tape?
Bias tape refers to a strip of fabric that has been cut along the bias grain of the fabric and folded. It is usually purchased pre-cut and pre-folded in packages and comes in a variety of widths and colors. You can make it easy as well, which is what this tutorial all about.
Bias tape is cut on the diagonal direction (45-degree angle) across a fabric because of the stretch and flexibility it provides. A fabric strip cut on the bias does not unravel from the edges like it would if it were cut on the lengthwise grain.
There are many many uses to a bias strip. I cannot imagine sewing without them for one week long. So many uses -for binding neck holes and arm holes, for piping, for making thin fabric tubes used as drawstrings, spaghetti straps, as trim, casings, facings and hems, binding your baby blankets and quilts, the list is long.
3 Different types of bias tape you can make
There are three main types of bias tape as I understand it – Single bias tape, single fold bias tape and double fold bias tape. (You may find different versions of the same thing with different names elsewhere – but basically, they are the same).
Checkout the different ways to do bias binding.
Single Fold bias tape
Usually measures 1/2″ when finished. A wider single fold bias tape can measure 7/8″/
A single fold bias tape is strip of bias cut fabric which is folded in the center and pressed. I use this for binding the armholes. The edges of the bias tape are stitched to the edge of the garment and turned to the wrong side. It is then stitched into the ditch or hand stitched there.
Single fold bias tape has both raw edges folded inside. It has a single fold running along each long edge of the tape. In general, single fold bias tape is used to finish neckline and armhole edges when the tape will be stitched in place, (RIGHT SIDES together) and then turned to the inside of the garment and stitched in place again. The tape never shows on the outside (RIGHT SIDE) of the garment. 1/2 inch and 1″ are most commonly available in stores. It is also used to make casings.
Double fold bias tape
Double folded bias tape can measure 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch when finished.
The 1/4 inch double bias tape is basically a single fold bias tape with a fold in the center. It has the same two folds along the long edges as does single fold, but the double fold tape has an additional fold that is slightly off center, making one side a little wider than the other.
Double fold bias tape is often used to encase a raw edge. In this case, the tape will show when the garment is finished. You can also use it as spaghetti strap, drawstring cord.
Double folded blanket binding is used to bind blankets, quilts etc.
Making Bias tape.
Getting those pre-packaged pre-cut bias strips in different colours are very convenient if you are short of time . But it is very easy to make bias binding tapes and there is something therapeutic about making those beautiful tapes, which is why people who are passionate about sewing always make them whenever they get a chance. It sometimes gets difficult to get those ready made bias tapes in exactly the same colour or pattern you want. If you are anal like that you have got to make it.
Method 1. Make your own bias binding tape.
The easy way to make short length bias tapes is to find the 45 angle across the fabric surface. Mark the diagonal line.
Mark adjacent parallel lines for the width of the bias strip you want. Cut along the marked lines.
Now to join them together to make the long bias tapes you need – Place the first strip face up on table. Place 2nd strip face down on table on top of the first one, so that it is at a 90 degree angle. The resulting two strips should make an L shape. ie. Keep the strips right sides together across each other a little extended at the edges.
Draw a line with a pencil between the two points where the two strips cross. Then sew on this line. Join them together diagonally as in the picture.
Make Continuous bias binding tape
This is a very easy to make long long bias tape. No more cutting and joining; the joining is done first and then the tape is cut. Excellent when you have spare time and you have this small square piece of fabric you think will make excellent piping for a future skirt or something. Yes, a square is all you need to make all those length of tape. You will have to decide on how long you want the tape and what is the width of the tape. Calculate the size of the square and go about cutting them.
How to calculate the size of the square if you know the length of bias tape you need
It is simple enough. you just multiply the bias tape length and the width of the fully opened tape. Just find the square root of this and that gives you the size of the side of your square.
If you want 2 meters ( 200 cms)of bias strip needed how to calculate the size of the square you should cut it from
so 200 * 1 inch bias strip = 200 ( area of the bias tape)
you have to find the square root of this area to find the size of the square . easy. so square root of 200 = 14 cm square piece will yield you 2 meters of binding tape.
Take the square piece of fabric. Cut it into two pieces by diagonally cutting it. You have two triangles now.
Join them by short sides ( not the diagonal sides)
Open it up and press the seam allowance open. Mark the bias strips all along the width.
Now join the short sides , right sides together. One end would not meet but that is ok.
Start cutting the bias tape strips from one end ( the extended not stitched end) . Go on cutting till the end and you get this long strip of bias binding tape.
Make Long bias binding tapes from small and long fabric piece
This method is a bit complicated and I much much much prefer the second method to make long binding tape. But if I donot have a square piece of fabric I work with what I have and get those long strips. Checkout the video for more details .
Related post : How to do bias binding – best methods