I’m working on a project that will use two different colors of bias tape made from quilting cotton. I love using homemade bias tape. I can make it any color or width so I always have exactly what I need to match my projects, and it’s less expensive than buying ready-made bias tape if I need a lot of it. I have a couple bias tape makers in different widths that make it really easy to create tape that’s a uniform size.
That said, I don’t make bias tape very often and I always have to look up how to join the strips so the edges are even. This time I took photos as I went along so I’d have them for future reference and thought I’d put them together in a quick tutorial. I used a fat quarter of fabric in this case, but the instructions below will work for any size fabric.
Find the bias of your fabric by folding one selvedge edge to meet the side of the fabric, forming a triangle. (If you’re using scrap fabric that doesn’t have a selvedge, square up two adjacent sides of your fabric first, then fold the fabric, matching these two edges, to make a triangle.) Press lightly to lock in the fold line.
Trim off any excess fabric.
Lay your ruler right along the fold and cut off a very thin sliver (just to separate the fabric and give you a straight edge). Then measure in from the diagonal edge and begin cutting strips of fabric that are slightly wider than twice the width of your finished tape. I needed 1/2″ tape for my project, so I cut my strips to 1-1/8″ wide.
Line up the ends of your cut strips and pin them together. Here’s where it can be a little confusing. You DON’T want to do this, or you’ll end up with a 90-degree angle when you sew the strips together:
This is closer, but still not right. Your strips will have a little jog where they’re joined together.
THIS is how they should look. Draw a line 1/4″ from the end of one of your strips. Lay the strips together at a 45-degree angle with the edge of one strip lined up with the line you drew on the other.
Sew the strips together with a 1/4″ seam.
Press the seams and trim off the little corners where your strips are joined together.
Thread one end of a fabric strip, wrong side up, through the wide end of the bias tape maker. Pin this end of the fabric strip to your ironing surface.
Slowly pull the bias maker down the length of the strip, following closely with the iron.
Voila – bias tape! I usually flip the finished tape over and press it again from the top side to get a nice sharp crease.
Still not sure you want to make your own bias tape? This video walks you through all the steps and is super easy to follow. It includes instructions for both single-fold and double-fold bias tape.
If you need to make a lot of tape at one time and you’re feeling adventurous, this video shows how to join your fabric before you cut it to make one continuous strip so you don’t have to sew a lot of individual pieces together. I haven’t tried this method yet but it would be great for making quilt binding.