How to Make Bias Tape

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Hey, you!

I’ve already gushed HERE about my adoration of bias facings! There’s nothing not to love. They are simple, fuss-free, versatile, and, if that isn’t enough, pretty too!

Bias facings are often the perfect non bulky, clean finish for necklines and sleeveless armholes.

So if you’re ready to make some pretty, custom bias tape, let’s begin with the…

Rules of Bias Facings

Rule #1: When finishing the edges of garments made from woven fabrics, you must cut your bias tape on, what else, but the bias. True bias. This will allow you to easily shape them to match the curved edges they will be finishing!

Rule #2: When finishing the edges of your knit garments, you must cut your strips on the crosswise — that is, in the direction of the greatest stretch.

Rule #3: Bias tape should be made of fabric that is the same weight or lighter than your fashion fabric and in natural fibers! This is critical!

Alrighty. Now, let’ learn…

How to Cut Bias Tape

You can buy it premade. I’ve only seen single and double fold bias tapes in solid colours and in a poly/cotton blend at my local, big box craft stores. Not very exciting.

But I’ve got good news…

Bias tape is super easy to make.

Just think of all the fun you can have custom making your bias tape in fabrics with small prints, thin stripes, tiny dots, and bold contrasting colours!

However, I will say that until I made my own I thought very highly of premade bias tape. And I will still use them if I feel like it. So if you want to take the premade route, no judgment here!

First, here are some very useful tips to keep in mind when making handmade bias tape:

  • Choose a fabric that is the same weight or lighter than your fashion fabric. This is critical!
  • Choose a fabric preferably in a natural fiber, such as lightweight cottons, cotton/poly blends, linen, lining fabric, rayon, and lightweight silks.

Why? Because they are easier to mold and press.

  • Choose a fabric that has the same care requirements as the fashion fabric.
  • If you’re making bias tape for a pattern that does NOT call for bias facings, you will need to buy an extra ½ yard of fabric.
  • Yes, you absolutely must prep your fabric.
  • Line up any joins in the bias tape with center back (CB), shoulder, or underarm seams as appropriate if you can. In other words, you don’t want a join in your bias tape front and center!
  • You can anchor your bias facing by topstitching, edgestitching, stitching in the ditch, or hand sewing. Don’t you just love having options?!

Now, there are many ways to make bias tape as there are days in the month. Here is one of mine:

  1. Lay out your fabric on your cutting surface in a single layer, wrong side (WS) up. Align one of the selvages along one edge of your cutting surface and one of the cut ends perpendicularly along another edge. I like to work in ½-yard increments because it is more manageable!

But if you want to cut lot of strips simultaneously, you can layer your fabrics and cut multiple layers of strips.

  1. Next, make a tick mark on the cut end side — let’s say, 10 inches from the corner.
  2. Make a tick mark on the selvage side — 10 inches from the corner.

finding true bias

  1. Draw a line between the two tick marks. This is true bias.
  2. Now, cut along the line and set the smaller piece aside.
  3. Next, using the cut edge as your guide, start drawing lines that are from 1¼, 1½, or 2 inches apart. How wide depends on type of bias tape you will be making and the final application.
  4. Once you’ve drawn all of your lines, you can cut along the drawn lines with your dressmaker’s shears or a rotary cutter.

marking bias strips

Sew easy tip: You can also use a 45-degree angle triangle ruler to find true bias.

And now you’re ready to join your strips…

How to Join Bias Tape

You may need to join shorter lengths of bias tape to create longer lengths. And it’s stupid simple:

  1. Once you’ve cut your strips of bias tape, trim both ends to a perfect 90-degree angle.

rimming bias strips ends to 90 degrees to ready them for joining

  1. Now, overlap the right sides together (RST).
  2. Mark the stitching line from the top left corner to the bottom right corner for precise seaming.
  3. Pin and stitch on the diagonal, starting from the left corner.
  4. Next, trim the seam allowance (SA) to ¼ inch and press the SAs open.

how to join bias strips

Now, how easy is that?!

How to Make Single-Fold Bias Tape

There are three types of bias tapes:

  1. Single-fold;
  2. Double-fold; and
  3. French or half fold

Have no fear. They are all super easy! Let’s start with how to make your own single-fold bias tape…

handmade single-fold bias tape

  1. Cut bias tape that are 1 or 1¼ inches wide; these are maximums. Because if you go any wider, you will NOT be able to finish curved edges with bias tape neatly and easily!
  2. Mist the strip with water from a spray bottle or use steam from your iron. And press, stretching the strip slightly along its entire length as you do.
  3. Now, fold one long, lengthwise edge to the WS by ¼ inch; press with steam or misting from a spray bottle as you go. Repeat on the other long, lengthwise edge. Mark the fold line with your preferred marking tool before beginning if you don’t feel comfortable eyeballing ¼ inch.
  4. Voila! You have just made your own single fold bias tape.

That’s it. Easy, right?!

Okay, then. Let’s learn how to make double-fold bias tape…

How to Make Double-Fold Bias Tape

If you understand how to make single-fold bias tape, then you will have no problem making double-fold bias tape.

Because double-fold bias tape is just single-fold bias tape folded lengthwise down its center so that one side is ever so slightly wider than the other side. Like this…

handmade double-fold bias tape

Can you see that the bottom half is just slightly wider than the top half?! There’s a reason for that and you can learn all about it HERE (Coming So Soon!).

Yep, that’s all there is to it!

And finally, if you want to go French…

How to Make Half-Fold or French Bias Tape

Going French is even easier than making single-fold or double-fold bias tape!

Here’s how in three simple steps:

  1. Cut a bias strip that is 2 inches wide.
  2. Mist the strip with water from a spray bottle or use steam from your iron. And press, stretching the strip slightly along its entire length as you do.
  3. Now, fold the strip in half so that the long, lengthwise raw edges are aligned exactly over each other. Give that fold a good press with steam or misting with water from your trusty spray bottle. And you’re done!

French or Half Fold Bias Tape

This is my fave!

Sew easy tip: If you want to turn French bias tape into double-fold bias tape, just fold both long, lengthwise raw edges in to meet that center fold! Give those folds a good press and presto! You’ve got yourself double-fold bias tape.

RELATED: Click HERE to learn all about facings and why I love bias tape!

The End

Okay. You now know how easy it is to make your own bias tape to add a custom finish to any edge.

So now that you know how to make bias tape, it is time to learn how to apply it and finish those edges like a pro!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn the least you need to know about facings!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to topstitch and edgestitch like a pro!

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