You may have noticed that I really really like bias-binding tape. It features in a couple of patterns for good reason – the Darling Ranges dress, the Banksia top, the Crescent blouse and the Eucalypt tank– it’s just seriously awesome. The end.
Oh, you need more explanation than that?! hehe Ok, let’s chat. In case you haven’t yet discovered the joy that is bias tape – here’s the run down, it’s basically a strip of fabric cut on a 45-degree angle with the edges pressed in to make it easy to use. Look I made a picture :)
Why is it awesome? It’s awesome because since the strip is cut on the 45-degree angle, it has some stretch to it, which means it can conform beautifully to curves (making your life easier) and more than that, it makes finishing the raw edges on many garments a breeze (your life easier again). No, it can’t do everything, but it can do a lot.
So what can you do with bias tape? Well, a lot :) I like to use it instead of facings a lot. I have a personal hatred for facings – I think they look icky, they’re generally a pain to sew – and even worse a pain to wash (please tell me I’m not the only one whose facings turn inside out and get all crazy after going through the washing machine?!). I use it on necklines and armscyes the most often – and I like that you can get a nice clean edge and completely enclose the raw edge. My second favourite use for bias tape is hemming – it’s fantastic for curved hems, and if you accidentally cut your skirt or pants too short – you can use bias tape as a teeny tiny hem on the inside. It also makes a pretty cool design detail – since it conforms so easily you can top stitch it on pretty much anything to create an interesting design. It’s also a favourite for quilters and crafters who use it to bind the edges of quilts and pot holders and cute stuff like that. But sometimes – I also like to use it to cheat :) It can make pretty good simple straps for dresses – wide tape is a nice cheat for a waistband.
And you can make it yourself! I know, how cool is that? There is something alluring about buying bias tape because it’s so cheap and convenient – but I love homemade bias tape so much more because it’s just so much cuter, and you can match it perfectly to your garment, which is pretty darn cool. There’s something so satisfying about a garment that’s pretty on the inside and outside. But I think the even more surprising point is that is super cheap – you can get more bias out of a yard of fabric than you could buy premade for the same amount. But most of the time, it can be free. yeah free! Lately, my favourite thing to do with cute fabric scraps is to cut them on the bias and make some quick bias tape – I save it for later, and then when I want to sew I have something cute waiting for me! I almost never have a project where I don’t have enough fabric left over to make matching bias.
Ready to learn how to make some? Have I convinced you that you need bias tape in your life?! I promise it’s easy! Click through for instructions!
People overcomplicate this a lot – but the concept is simple – you take a piece of fabric and cut strips at a 45-degree angle. That’s it.
I’m not fancy – when I make bias tape I just start with my fabric (a square is the easiest, this piece wasn’t exactly a square) and fold it along the bias to create a triangle – and then I cut strips.
I’ve found it’s even easier since I bought this really cool quilter cutting guide – it has cut grooves every 1/2 inch so it makes cutting tape insanely quick – I plonk it on top, zip zip with my rotary cutter and nice strips appear.
Once you have your strips of bias it’s time to join them. The best way is on an angle that way the seam created isn’t bulky all in one spot. Since I used a square for this all my tape ends were at a 45-degree angle – when this is the case you can simply overlap them as shown above – just make sure you let the edges stick out by your seam allowance or your tape won’t line up properly. Sew (I usually use a 1/4″ seam allowance) – press the seams open and trim the edges.
If your strips are square on the ends you can join them by matching up the short ends perpendicular to each other, and sewing diagonally across. Trim the seam allowance back to 1/4″ and press open.
Another option for square ends is simply to join them short end to short end with right sides together, sew 1/4″ from the edge and press open (though some people don’t like this option as it creates a bulkier seam).
You can leave it like that (i often do because then you’re not confined to using it in a particular way – it’s just ready for anything! hehe) – or you can use a bias tape maker to make single-fold tape like you’d buy in a store. It’s pretty easy – you just pull the tape through, and it will begin to fold two edges in, at which point you start pressing it flat. I find a pin works really well to pull the tape through initially.
I do have one trick I like to use – I know most people pull the bias tape maker and the iron to create tape – but I find that a bit irritating and hard to control – I just iron the first few inches, then I pin the bias maker to the board, lay my iron down, and I just pull the tape through slowly. It goes through the maker, then straight under the iron, and comes out perfect on the other end :) It’s the lazy girl’s method hehe. Yes, it does scorch your ironing board cover a bit, but I don’t mind – my cover gets destroyed and replaced so often anyway that it doesn’t make too much difference.
When you’re done, roll it all up on a piece of card and save it for later!!!
SO have I convinced you to go out and make a tonne of bias tape?!?! Yes?!?
So next time you’re sewing one of these patterns, try making your own bias instead of buying it – you’ll probably become obsessed like me :)
SOME OF MY FAVOURITE PATTERNS WITH BIAS BINDING
Darling Ranges dress | Banksia top | Eucalypt tank & dress | Olive dress & blouse
** Just a final note: There are other methods for creating bias tape, for example, a lot of people like the continuous bias method – but I have to be honest, I personally find methods like that to be too cumbersome and “tricky” I prefer this method because it’s straightforward and you don’t need to remind yourself how to do it each time. **