Guestpost: How to make your own bias tape

Posted on | Anne | Leave a Comment

Somehow in between pattern release and all other things life throws at us I completely missed posting this guest post. I am really sorry. Verinne from Boevenbende did a great job on creating a tutorial for you. She shows you how to make your own bias tape. Did you know it was this easy?! Quickly read and try it yourself.

Hi it’s Mrs Boevenbende here. I’ve done different crafts as long as I can remember, mostly in the area of fibre arts. When my kids kept growing taller and not wider, thus hardly fitting store-bought clothes anymore,  my focus slowly shifted towards sewing children’s clothes. We like clothes to be unique and colourful, but most of all they have to be suitable for play. You can read about my sewing and other creative adventures with the gang of rascals at Boevenbende.

Today I will show you how to make your own bias tape. Bias tape can be the perfect finishing touch on many sewing projects, especially if it matches nicely with the other fabrics in your project. The iridis dress is a wonderful project to trim off using bias tape. But what if you cannot find it in the right colour or width in your store? Just make your own! It’s not difficult, I promise!

But let’s quickly talk about bias tape first. What exactly is it?
Bias tape basically is a cleverly folded strip of fabric used to finish off edges or hems. It comes in two types: single fold and double fold. Single folded bias tape can be used to make a nice invisible hem on a skirt or dress. Double fold bias tape is used to finish of edges of quilts, bags, and clothing.
Bais tape from woven fabrics is cut diagonally. Cutting the fabric in a 45 degree angle from the straight grainline, gives the bias tape some stretch, making it easier to work with when sewing around curves.

When making your own bias tape you can use almost any fabric you like. I prefer lightweight cotton. Plain fabrics and small prints work very well, but when you gain enough confidence, you can even try to match bigger prints or stripes. To get started you’ll need:

– Fabric. A rectangle works nicely, so for example 1/2 yard or 1/2 metre.
– Scissors & pins
– Iron
– Sewing machine

Optional tools to speed up the process a bit can be a rotary cutter and a little tool called a bias tape maker. I will show you the simplest way.

To be able to cut diagonal strips without wasting a lot of fabric, we’ll first turn our fabric into a different shape. Lay out your fabric and fold one corner at a 45 degree angle. 

Cut along the diagonal fold. 

Now we are going to create a parallellogram shape by attaching the triangle you just cut off to the other side of the fabric. Stitch together and iron seams open.

Now you can start cutting fabric strips along the diagonal, but folding it again makes for faster cutting.

Turn your fabric until the diagonal side is on top, like shown on the picture above. 

Then fold your fabric, putting the other diagonal end of your fabric on top of the first one.

Another fold from left to right…

and from right to left, and you have a small packet, ready for cutting!

Next, determine the width of bias tape you want. For a double fold bias tape, you need strips  4 times the desired width. So if I want my bias tape to be 1 cm wide, I cut 4 cm wide strips. For single fold bias tape, you only double the width. So a 4 cm wide strip results in 2 cm wide single fold tape. Measure carefully and mark your cutting lines with tailors chalk, or anything else you might find convenient. Cut your strips with scissors or a rotary cutter.

To attach the fabric strips into one long strip, lay them on top of eachother in a 90 degree angle like shown above. It is important to let the fabric stick out a bit on both sides and to sew exactly on the dotted line connecting both intersections.

Sewn wrong, your fabric strips won’t line up nicely!

Now it’s time to start ironing! First open up all seams with your iron and clip off all excess fabric sticking out. Then fold your strip in two, wrong sides together, and iron.

Open up the fabric again and fold both sides, wrong sides together. Fold them to the middle fold line but don’t let them touch. Iron again. Now you have single fold bias tape, so if that’s what you wanted, you’re done.

To make double fold bias tape, fold the strip in half again, but make sure one side is slightly wider by 1 or 2 mm, depending on the width of your tape. The wider side will be sewn on the visible side of your project, nicely overlapping the stitching line made when attaching the tape to the inside. Tadaah, you’re done! Time to pick a nice project to use your own homemade bias trim!

Thank you Verinne

Just a few more to come:
Febuari 1: French seams Winingwife
Feburari 14: Handstitching the right waySprouting Jube Jube
March 7: How to alter a patternDeka Wear


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