Using bias binding tape to finish off your products is not just a professional-looking finish but a way to add contrast and *bling* finish to your products without too much effort or expense. To know how to make bias binding tape not only saves you money but allows you to add colors that are NOT available over the counter, making your products/garments both “Individual” and “Unique”… “One of a Kind” even!
I tend to use Bias a lot to enclose edges, for all of the above reasons., and personally love of the “Look” bias binding tape leaves on the finished product.
Making your own bias binding tape versus buying premade bias binding tape comes down to convenience, so if you would like to save some money and make your own, then continue reading.
What is Bias Binding Tape?
I like to think of bias binding tape as a narrow strip of fabric, cut on the bias (the cross or diagonal of grain) of the cloth, pressed to enclose the raw edges, which in turn encloses the raw edges of the fabric you are applying it to, to stop the fabric from fraying and for decorative purposes. There is something to be said about the look of a bias binding finish.
A very commonplace for a bias binding tape to be used is on the edge of quilts. Generally, it is a lot wider than the standard bias binding tape, and you can make it any size that works for the quilt on hand. I personally am not much of a quilter, but make mine with approximately 1″ of visible bias tape showing, therefore requiring a 4″ wide strip.
Because bias binding tape is cut on the cross of the fabric, it makes it ideal for finishing off rounded/curved edges, due to its pliability and give.
Why Use Bias Binding Tape?
Using bias binding tape on seam finishes is a no brainer in a lot of scenarios. MOST of the time it is used as a decorative finish, and therefore we tend to overlook the benefits of using it to stop edges from fraying as well as strengthening it at the same time.
Bias binding tape can also be used for ties to use as aprons strings and moreover, DIY lanyards. It is so versatile that its use is only limited by your imagination.
Take a look at these, as I use bias binding tape to finish off the edges of the book bags that I make as well as on the edges of upcycled jean aprons (as above). Lined tote bags also bet a lift by using a contrast bias binding tape within its construction, both on the inside and out,
What Fabric is Best to Make Bias Binding tape?
Generally, 100% cotton is used to make bias binding tape but is not compulsory. It needs to be suitable for the item/ garment you are applying it to. It also needs to handle the heat needed from and iron to press it, and why I only recommend cotton for cotton garments.
You will find that some stretch knits also require self-fabric for binding edges, not only for hemming but for a firmer edge with some form of elasticity and although not technically bias binding tape, it is applied in the same manner.
FOE (Fold-over elastic) can also be applied to the edges of the fabric, like bias binding tape, but on stretchy fabric, not woven.
How to Make Bias Binding Tape Tutorial
Before cutting your strips, you need to decide the finished size of the binding that you are after. You will need to double this as well as add a seam allowance to fold under and enclose.
Cutting out your bias binding tape:
To quickly cut binding strips on the bias, start with a fabric square or rectangle.
- Layout the fabric so the selvage edges are in the upper right and lower left. Fold the lower selvage edge to the cut edge, creating a 45º angle.
- Fold the bottom corner up on top of the first fold.
- Fold the top corner down on top of first and second folds.
- Using a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, trim off the left-hand folded edge.
- Cutting from the trimmed edge, cut the desired-width bias strips.
- Strips will be a variety of lengths; place the strips, end to end to get the desired length of the binding strip.
This can be a little confusing until you have done it a few times. Once you realize what the outcome is that you are striving toward, it will become easier. With writing this tutorial, I also realized it is not so easy to explain in words either. Let the pictures walk you through.
Layout the fabric folding over one corner over to the opposite corner, creating a fold on the diagonal of the fabric (the bias), creating a 45º angle.
At this stage, you will notice, depending on the size of your fabric, that it is far too wide to handle. For this reason, I then fold it back on itself to reduce the width of the fabric without reducing the final length of your bias binding strip. The less joins the better!
Then reduce your cutting width by folding the outer corner to match up with the previous fold, maintaining a straight edge on both sides.
Now that you have your fabric folded, you are ready to cut. If you do not have the convenience of a rotary cutter, use a good pair of dressmaking shears and continue with the instructions using shears in place of the rotary cutter, moving forward.
Using a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, trim off the folded edge, leaving a freshly cut line to start with.
Cutting from the trimmed edge, cut the desired-width bias binding strips. If you are using the bias binding tape maker, there are three sizes to choose from or cut to a customizable size to make manually.
If you are using a bias binding tape maker you can miss this part of the tutorial as this is the manual way to make it. Start off by folding the bias binding tape in half, with WST (Wrong Sides Together), then press.
Using a Bias Binding Tape Maker
The use of a bias binding tape maker has just made home-made binding that much easier. I have three sizes and feel that works for my requirements as I have my favorite, and anything bigger, I do by hand.
With a bias binding tape maker, just feed the fabric strip through one end and iron/press it as it comes out the other end, then fold it in half and press again, it is now ready for you to apply.
Joining Bias Binding Tape
A lot of the time, your bias binding tape will not be long enough requiring it to be joined. I see a lot of people looking for continuous bias binding, where I prefer to join it as I need it, and it is not hard to join at all.
Although joining two pieces of bias binding tape sounds a bit daunting and is a little confusing for starters, it is quite simple to do. All you need to know is what the outcome will look like to realize how you need to place them for stitching.
Applying Bias Binding Tape
There a couple of ways to apply bias binding tape so I will show you both of them and let you diced which one works best for you.
The first is to attach the Bias and then top-stitch as follows:
Or, top-stitch and apply all in one as follows:
Always a Great Finish Using Bias Binding Tape
As you can see, using a bias binding tape for finishing is just plain common sense on some items, such as apron edges, book bags as well as decorative edges. Not only does it look nice, but it also finishes off the edge to prevent fraying, which is why it is still so widely used today.
I use bias binding tape to finish off so many of my projects because of its simplicity and beauty, especially for personal gifts.
~Keep on Sewing