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How to Cut and Sew Bias Strips

In lots of my sewing projects of late I have been making my own bias binding. So today as part of my 'Sewing techniques' series I wanted to share with you 'How to cut & sew bias strips'...

What is a bias strip ? A bias strip is a woven strip of fabric cut on the bias.

The true bias refers to the 45 degree angle that intersects the warp and the weft of a woven fabric. The bias of woven fabrics offers the greatest stretch and can easily be moulded to take shape. The bias can be found when the weft is folded to line up with the warp.

Bias strips can be joined to form one long strip, which in turn can be folded to make binding or filled with cord to make piping or spaghetti straps. There are tools to help with making binding, spaghetti straps etc which I will cover later. But first you have to cut it and sew it together. Here’s how...

How-to step by step

  • How to cut bias strips- equipment you need

    Step 1

    To cut the bias strips you will need a cutting matt, rotary cutter and a marked quilters ruler.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 2

    The selvedge edge, is the length and warp edge to the left and right of the fabric. The weft is the width and raw edge of the fabric at the top & bottom.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 3

    Find the bias by folding the fabric diagonally, lining up the width grain with the selvedge edge. Right sides together.This will form a triangle. The fold is the true bias.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 4

    Trim off the extra fabric at the bottom.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 5

    Now you have a square of fabric folded in half to create a triangle of fabric with right sides together.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 6

    Now, take the lower right point of the triangle and bring it up to meet the upper left point of the triangle.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 7

    Using a ruler and rotary cutter, cut off the selvedge. You will be cutting through four layers of fabric.

  • Binding widths

    Step 8

    To calculate the end desired width of your binding strip... It will be about twice the finished width of the finished single fold tape. Or about four times the width of the finished double fold tape.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 9

    Place your ruler half the width of your desired cut strip from the 2nd folded edge of the triangle.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 10

    Using your ruler and a rotary cutter cut the first strip.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 11

    Place the ruler the exact width of your desired cut strip away from the first cut line.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 12

    Using your ruler and a rotary cutter cut the second strip.

  • How to cut bias tape

    Step 13

    Continue placing the ruler the exact width of your desired cut strip away from the last cut line.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 14

    Using your ruler and a rotary cutter continue cutting the strips the exact width.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 15

    Except for the very first cut at the fold, you will now have two layers of bias cut binding for each cut width. Since you’ve cut your fabric on the bias, you will also notice all the strips have angled ends – perfect for piecing the strips together!

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 16

    Again, the only exception will be the very first strip you cut at the fold. Using a ruler, preferably one with a 45° angle mark, mark and cut each end of this strip to match the others.

  • How to sew bias strips- equipment you need

    Step 17

    To stitch your binding strips together you will need a sewing machine, matching thread, sewing pins and an iron.

  • How to sew bias strips

    Step 18

    Appearance of strips as they are placed before stitching. They are right side up.

  • How to sew bias strips

    Step 19

    To create a long bias strip, pieces must be joined together along the short diagonally cut ends. To join strips along the diagonal edges, pin them right sides together. Offset the short ends by 6mm (1/4”). When pressed flat, the finished strip will then have a nice straight edge.

  • How to sew bias strips

    Step 20

    Using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance stitch the short diagonal edges together.

  • How to sew bias strips

    Step 21

    Press seams open. This will create less bulk.

  • How to sew bias strips

    Step 22

    Trim off the little "points" with a pair of scissors.

  • How to cut bias strips

    Step 23

    For smaller pieces of fabric, use the lines on your ruler as a guide. No folding necessary. Place the ruler along the 45 degree diagonal line and cut the fabric.

 

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