How to Make & Sew: Bias Binding

There, I said it...I love bias binding and yes all caps that's how much I love it ;) 

Why am i in love with bias binding? 
It's an elegant finish suitable for a lot of projects and fabrics. After using the technique for a few years (on just about every project like the Tie Dress PDF sewing pattern  or the Pocket-T pictured below) I find it's actually a quick, clean and easy way to finish garments. 

So what is bias binding? 
Strips of fabric cut on an angle 45 degrees to the selvage. In this direction the fabric is stretchy and it adjusts well to curves, making it a great finish for necklines, (curved) hems or armholes.

How to use bias binding?
There are a lot of different ways you can use bias binding. You can use it to finish your garment by attaching it and folding it around or behind the edges or just attach a strip and leave it unfolded for a raw edge that doesn't fray. Because the strips have a natural stretch, they are perfect for finishing curved edges. You can even attach it to very stretchy fabrics like jersey. It's also a great way to use up left over pieces of fabric.

Buy or make your own bias binding?
You can buy prefold bias binding in different widths and colours, but it's very easy to make you own bias binding. And we all know these little helpers, bias tape makers:
you can use them to make your own double fold bias tape. It works well and is reasonably fast if you have a cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut the strips of fabric. You can use the main fabric of the garment you are sewing to add a subtle finish or choose a contrasting fabric to add a little fun.

How to make your own trifold bias binding?
Or maybe I should say...How I make my own bias binding. For an invisible application I find regular bias binding to wide and that makes it harder to get a clean and flat finish. I do it a little bit different compared to single fold and double fold bias tape, i make a trifold biais binding. So I cut a 20 mm strip of fabric using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat. If I need longer strips I just sew the ends together. You can also use the continuous method, but that means you have to cut the strips by hand and I prefer to sew the ends together. After cutting the strips I fold them in three equal parts. 

Press the first raw edge inwards.

Now fold and press again.


Attaching the bias binding
I will show the individual steps in photos, but I always find it helpful to see a technique in different ways so I included an illustration from the Pocket-T pattern where you can see all the steps combined. 

Fold the tape open and pin to the right side of the garment. As you can see there is a small strip of fabric next to the bias tape. I normally cut all my garments with a 1 cm seam allowance, the fold in the bias tape has to be 1 cm from the edge. You will trim this edge after stitching the bias tape in place. 

Stitch in the fold and 1cm from the edge of your main fabric. 

Trim the edge before pressing.

Press the bias tape away from the garment, but be careful not to iron out the second fold.

The wrong side should look like this.

Now fold and press the bias binding towards the stitches.

Fold the seam allowance under and press again and add some pins along the way. I like to fold the seam towards the inside of the garment so that the seam of the bias tape is invisible from the right side of the garment.

Stitch the bias binding in place, working on the wrong side of the garment. I always align the edge of the garment to the edge of the presser foot, then change the position of the needle close to the folded edge of the bias binding. If you follow the edge you will get an even stitch line on the right side of the garment and because you are working on the wrong side you don't have to worry about not catching the bias binding on the inside.

Give your work a final press and enjoy!

So lastly a few tips before you storm towards your sewing machine :)

- Narrow binding is key to get the best results!
- If your main fabric does not stay well after ironing, use a different fabric to do the bias binding.

I hope you found the tutorial useful! Do you plan on using this technique? have you tried it? Do you have any questions just leave a comment below, i'd love to hear what you think!

PS: Check out some of my other sewing tutorials like how to sew mitered corners or how to sew corners on a narrow hem or see my favorite and not so favorite sewing tools.


Happy sewing!



PS: looking for a fun and free sewing project? Sign up to the newsletter for a free copy of the smallest Tsuno Tie Bag and sew up some scraps. If you ​​​​​​​sign up you also get access to the free printable swatch library, sewing project planner and a few other handy templates. You'll receive the files in your welcome mail :)


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