Friday, July 14, 2006

Bias Binding - How much I love thee!

During my last sewing fest, one of the things that I did was to make bias binding. Now, I know you can purchase already made bias binding but what is the fun in that! When you make it yourself, you can have any color or pattern, in any size you want.

So, of course, I took a picture of my finished binding to share! Now you must understand ~ I love the process of making the binding but I don't like cutting out the bias strips. What is a girl to do ~ buy already cut bias strips! See when you are on a mission, you can find anything! Newark Dressmaker Supply has a great supply of 1" and 2" cotton blend bias binding which you can purchase by the yard or in a 50 yard roll. My white roll is shown in the upper right hand corner. I also own this binding in black, red, ivory, blue and yellow. The binding has also been used to make piping!

But the best find of all came from my favorite fabric store - Fabric Mart. In one of their fabric swatch mailings several years ago, they offered rolls of bias binding and rolls of bias taffeta. It was some ridiculous price of 20 rolls for $20 because my best friend Lisa and I split the 20 rolls. I have kept mine stored in one of my notions drawers, occasionally using a piece. But when I didn't want to line the orange linen jacket (that still isn't complete!) instead choosing to Hong Kong finish the inside seams this binding treasure trove came to mind.

So is making bias binding hard ~ Nope! Just need the right tools, lotsa steam and a little time!

  1. Start with pre-made bias binding ~ less time consuming and lets you get to the fun stuff faster!
  2. Make sure that you have bias tape makers in the appropriate size. These can be purchased at any of the usual internet sites as well as Joann's (usually in the quilting department!) A 1" bias strip makes 1/2" wide binding...2" makes 1" bias binding. The bias tape makers come in 1/4", 1/2", 1" finished width sizes and at one point I even saw a 2" maker.
  3. To start making the binding ~ make a diagonal cut on the piece. Then use a straight pin to guide the binding into the opening of the bias tape maker.
  4. As it comes out with the sides folded in to make the binding, pull slowly on the little triangle hook on the top of the bias tape maker to keep advancing the binding through the maker and using your iron (with the steam set on high) carefully press the piece.
  5. Also I have found that if you use the entire length of your ironing board to make it and work slowly from one end to the other, you can press at least a yard at a time.
  6. Repeat until you have enough yardage. Make sure that you watch your fingers when making it ~ the iron gets pretty hot! And also make sure that you press the binding long enough to get a good set!

That's it! Bias binding made personally to add interest to any of your garments! And here is a peek at my bias binding stash!

This is just one of those really kewl techniques that I like to incorporate into my sewing. So do you have a favorite technique? Wanna share?


  1. That is so neat! I wouldn't have never thought to do it myself, how creative I love the thought. You learn a new trick everyday! BTW, added a few more details to my last post.

  2. if you don't have a bias tape maker in the correct size, you can do it using two pins in your ironing board. just put them in so that the bias has to go under it and steam between the pins.

    yeah, i know, you need pictures. it's hard to explain.

  3. I love to play with the bias tape makers for other fun things, too. I use them for prepping the strips for rag rugs that I crochet. I've never actually made bias tape with them though. Thanks for the tips on the rolls.

  4. And I've just spent some time this afternoon making tweed bias to embellish a jacket - you need 1 1/4" strips to make 1/2" bias in a thicker fabric, but it works really well. More of the jacket MUCH later!

  5. Nice stash of bias binding.

  6. Oh, I envy you your stash of bias!! I HATE cutting and stitching those strips. Compared to that, the ironing in the little traps is fun!!

    I keep thinking I should do this w any leftover fabric I have that I really like, but since I hate doing it, I never do. I need a helper, like Koos van der Akken :-)

  7. Cutting bias tape is an easy and quick task if you use the serger without threads.


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