A Simple Guide on Homemade Bias Tape Sewing

Bias tape bindings are handy for neatly finishing raw edges on sewing projects like armholes and necklines. While you can buy pre-made bias tape, creating your own allows you to pick fun prints and get the exact colors to match your fabric.

Bias Tape Sewing is an essential part of many sewing projects, providing a clean, finished look to raw edges like armholes, necklines, and more. While it’s convenient to buy pre-made bias tape from the store, making your custom bias tapes opens up a world of possibilities for unique colors, prints, and patterns. 

With just a few simple materials and techniques, you can create adorable, one-of-a-kind bias tapes to add that perfect finishing touch to all your sewing projects.

Why Make Your Own? The Benefits of Homemade Bias Tape

At fabric stores, the bias tape selection is usually limited to solid color options. Homemade bias tape lets you explore patterned and printed fabrics instead of just solid colors. With some simple steps, you can easily make several yards of bias tape from a single fat quarter.

Another major benefit is the cost savings of making your own bias tapes. Purchasing bias tape by the package can get expensive, especially if you need larger quantities for quilting projects. But with this easy method, you can create 5 yards of single-fold bias tape from just one fat quarter of fabric! For around $2-3 of fabric, you’ll have enough bias tape for multiple sewing projects.

What You Need

  • To make your own bias tapes, you’ll need a few basic sewing supplies:
  • Rotary cutter, mat, and acrylic ruler (highly recommended but scissors can be used)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Pencil or air/heat erasable fabric marking pen/chalk
  • Bias tape maker tool (optional but very helpful)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine

For the fabric, high-quality 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend in a crisp, firmly woven fabric works best. You can use a fat quarter (approximately 18″x22″) or cut a square from yardage. Quilting cottons in fun prints and colors are ideal.

Once you have your supplies ready, you’ll want to start by squaring up your fabric if needed. For a fat quarter, simply trim off the excess on one side to create an 18″x18″ square. Press the fabric well to remove any wrinkles or creases.

Instructions

  1. Press the fabric square to remove wrinkles.
  2. Fold it in half diagonally and cut along the fold to make two triangles.
  3. With the right sides together, sew the triangles along the long edges using a 1/4″ seam. Press the seam open.
  4. On the wrong side, use a pencil to mark 2″ wide lines from corner to corner.
  5. Flip to the right side. Match up the marked lines, offsetting each row up by one line. Pin and sew 1/4″ seam.
  6. Press seams open.
  7. Cut along marked lines to make individual 2″ bias strips.
  8. For single-fold tape, simply fold the strip in half lengthwise and press.
  9. For double fold, fold in half again and press or use a bias tape maker tool.
  10. Wrap and store bias strips around cardboard pieces.

Bias Tape Sewing: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Cut Fabric into Triangles

Cut your fabric square in half diagonally to make two triangles. Place the triangles with right sides together and sew along the long edges using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seam open.

Step 2: Mark Diagonal Lines

With the wrong side facing up, use a pencil or fabric pen to draw parallel diagonal lines across the fabric square. Make the lines 2″ apart, going from one corner to the opposite corner.

Step 3: Offset and Pin Lines

Flip to the right side of the fabric. Match up the diagonal lines, but offset each row up by one line. So the top line on one half will align with the second line on the other half. This staggering lets you sew one continuous seam. Carefully pin the layers together, keeping the lines matched up.

Step 4: Sew Continuous Tube

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew along the pinned edges, removing pins as you go. Press this seam open after sewing. You now have a long tube made of the bias strips sewn together!

Step 5: Cut Into Strips

Using a rotary cutter or scissors, simply cut along the marked diagonal lines to separate the tube into individual 2″ wide bias strips.

Making Single and Double-Fold Tapes

Single-Fold Tape

For single-fold bias tape, just fold each 2″ strip in half lengthwise and press to create a center crease.

Double-Fold Tape – Option 1

To make a double-fold tape, take the single-fold strips and fold them in half again, pressing to hold the double folds.

Double-Fold Tape – Option 2

Use a bias tape maker tool for nice, crisp double folds. These plastic tools have a small opening to feed the bias strip through. As you pull it through, the tool automatically folds the long edges into the middle, creating the two folds. Press well as you go.

Using the Bias Tape Maker

It may take some practice, but the bias tape maker gives you beautiful, evenly folded double-fold bias tapes. Go slowly and ease the tape through at the seam intersections.

Storing Bias Tapes

To store, you can wind the folded bias tapes onto empty cardboard tubes or wrapping paper rolls. For long-term storage, make mini cardboard rolls from cereal boxes and wind the tapes around them, securing the ends with clips.

Creative Bias Tape Ideas

While bias tapes are commonly used to finish armhole and neckline edges, there are so many other fun ways to incorporate them into your sewing! Try using single-fold bias tape as ties to accent dresses, tops, bags, and more. Or make your removable neck ties for collared shirts and blouses.

On quilts and home decor items, decorative double-fold bias tape can add lovely pops of color and pattern as binding along edges. You can even embellish clothing and accessories by sewing rows of contrasting bias tape along hemlines, down pant legs, across bodices, etc.

Patchwork and color blocking with bias tapes create graphic, eye-catching designs on everything from simple pillows to chic garments. Feeling artistic? Freehand curves and shapes can be “drawn” onto fabrics using rows of bias tape.

The Final Words

The design possibilities are limitless! Making your own bias tapes allows you to explore your creative vision with colors and patterns galore. So don’t settle for drab, boring store-bought tapes. With this simple technique, you can customize cute bias bindings for all your sewing projects.

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