Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Make Bias Binding

Working from stash is like a game to me. I love going through it and seeing what pops out and what suddenly goes with what.

I had some terrycloth in the stash, and I don't remember why I bought it or what I had in mind for it, if I even had a project in mind for it. But I found it around the time I realized we had no towels for Monkey to use, so I thought I would make it into a towel for her. I contemplated how to best do that when another fabric, some left over from a skirt I made, jumped out at me.

It MATCHED the towel perfectly. I decided to create some bias binding for the terrycloth, thus eliminating any hemming or serging.

I don't really remember where I learned to make bias binding, so I decided I'd go ahead and document the process for you all in the hopes that it will help at least one of you in the future.

The Benefits to Making Your Own Bias Binding

The biggest benefit I can think of is: You can make binding that is super cute and matches perfectly whatever project you are working on. I usually see just plain, solid color bindings in the store. While those have their purposes, sometimes you need a patterned binding because you have a solid item. 

You will never run out! As long as you have stash, you have a supply of binding. 

If the store is closed because it's super late at night and you're sewing because it's the only time you have to yourself, you can still finish a project because you have your own supply of binding. 

Here We GO!


A square of fabric- if you have a rectangle that's ok, just make it a square!
Scissors (or Rotary cutter)
Sewing machine

Now, I'm sure there's some math equation that we could use to determine how much binding you will end up with based on how much fabric you start out with, but math and I have a tolerable relationship. When it comes to sewing, I have a talent for looking at something and knowing if it will work or not, so I just plow ahead. If in doubt, make more than you think you will need! 

We start out with a square of fabric. If you have a rectangle, then measure and cut it to be a square. The bigger the square, the more binding you will end up with. I made two squares from this stash fabric and have a lot left over from the project I used it on. 

Cut diagonally across the fabric. You will end up with two triangles. 

Move one triangle to the other side of the square. Confusing right? You want to end up with a trapezoid. Look at the previous picture and note where the white selvedge  edge is. I moved that piece from left to right. So, the left side of the original square is now touching the right side of the square. 

Sew these together and press the seam open. 

Now is where some math comes in. I wanted a thicker binding. So, to get a 3/4 inch binding I cut 3 inch wide strips. Double the width you want, then double again. (1 inch binding: 1x2=2, 2x2=4. You will cut 4 inch strips) 

Measure the width of your binding and mark it on the fabric. You mark all the way across, lining up your ruler with the original top (or bottom) of your square. Do this down the entire piece of fabric. I ended up with five lines across mine. 

Next, line up one side of the first line with the top of the fabric. This will offset the top and bottom as pictured above. Sew the seam  and press open. 

Note that the lines will not perfectly line up. I've never gotten them to. This is where we kinda fudge it and hope for the best. 

At this point, you, if you've done it right, can trace your finger along the lines you  marked and not have to lift it off the fabric. They should make a spiral around the fabric. 

Grab your scissors and cut. Cut along the line you marked. You will end up with one long strip of fabric, cut on the bias. 

At this point, I pressed the entire strip, seams open. Just because. 

You may end up with little triangles hanging off the edge of the nice straight strip. Don't worry about them. 

You can cut them off. No harm done. 

Now, we get to do a lot of ironing. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together,  and iron. If you had a 4 inch strip, you now will have a 2 inch wide strip (double thickness).

Next, fold one of the raw edges up inside the fabric to the center line you just ironed. Iron it. 

Finally, take your other raw edge, fold it in to the center line, and iron it. 

If you unfold the center iron (the first one you did) the two raw edges should meet in the middle. The inside looks like this. And you will have bias tape!

Ta da!

Alternate Cutting

I don't know why, but I find this easier, even though it seems to take some more sewing. It really doesn't, and I don't have to mess with my scissors.
Marking lines to cut is optional here. I just take my ruler and rotary cutter, and measure and cut. Instead of ending up with one long strip, I have several small strips. 
I sew the edges of the strips together to get one long strip, and then proceed with the ironing. 

I think  I feel like it goes faster because you eliminate the marking step, and the scissors. I think the scissors just take longer than a rotary cutter does.

Finish Up

And there you have it! How I make bias binding. Stay tuned to see the finished item I used this binding on in a future post. 

Did you try this? How did it work out? Share you questions, comments, and PROJECTS with us! 

No comments:

Post a Comment