Hey y’all, for today’s Sewing Glossary post, we’re talking Bias Tape and I’ve got a continuous bias tape tutorial for you. This is a method to make bias tape and only have to sew two seams for yards of tape.
I’ve got a video tutorial for you below; this may be especially helpful to you if the written instructions about how to cut the tape confuse you. If for some reason the video doesn’t load, you can also watch how to sew bias tape here on YouTube.
This is much easier than it appears. I usually use a fat quarter of fabric, and from that I can get 4 yards of 1/2″ double fold tape or 8 yards of 1/2″ single fold.
Start by folding your fabric on the bias – this is the same method I was taught to make a square out of a rectangular piece of paper. I always iron my fabric on the fold to mark it. Then, cut along the bias fold.
Match two straight grain edges right sides together like this and sew. I use a 1/4″ seam when I do this.
Press the seam open. Your piece will look like this now, with the seam in the middle and the arrow marking the bias grain.
Using a ruler, mark lines on the bias grain of the fabric on the wrong side. If you are doing double fold tape, your lines should be 4 x the final width apart (ie if you want 1/2″ tape at the end, your lines need to be 1/2″ x 4 = 2″ apart). If you want single fold tape, your lines should be double the width of the final tape width apart (ie if you want 1/2″ single fold tape you do 1/2″ x 2 = 1″ apart).
Fold your fabric, imagining that the spaces are numbered like this on one side. On the other side, imagine the numbers start with 1 instead of 0. You’ll match the edges, so you’re pinning the #1 space on one edge to the #1 space on the other side. The arrow shows where the #4’s would line up. Stitch this seam with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and press open.
Your sewn tube will look like this – one each side is offset a little.
Now start cutting on your lines. I use scissors and go slowly. You could try a rotary cutter, just be careful not to cut through the bottom layer.
Continue cutting until you have a pile of unfolded bias tape.
To iron the folds into the tape, I prefer to use these Clover Bias Tape Maker (affiliate link) tips. You feed the bias tape through and then iron as you pull the tip away from the iron.
When you’re done ironing (which goes by pretty fast) you get tape that looks like this (outside on top, wrong side on bottom).
If you fold that tape in half again, you get double fold bias tape.
I save the little cardboards from my store bought bias tape and wrap the handmade tape on them.
Now, how to sew on bias tape. I’m going to show you how to use double fold bias tape, as this is the more commonly used kind to finish edges – think placemats or necklines. Also note – I sometimes prefer to wrap the tape around to the right side, and sometimes prefer to start on the right side and wrap to the wrong side. You really can do it either way.
Start by unfolding the tape and pinning it to the wrong side of the fabric with the raw edges even.
Sew right in the fold of the bias tape.
Wrap the tape to the right side of the fabric and pin, just covering the stitching line with the folded edge.
Stitch very close to the edge of the tape.
And on the back side it looks like this:
Because bias tape is cut on the diagonal, or bias, you can stretch it around curves. At corners, you’ll want to miter the corner – this is a good tutorial to show you how to do that.
Now have some fun making your own bias tape and using it to add a professional looking finish and a pop of color and pattern to your sewing! Until next time, happy sewing.