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Make Your Own Bias Tape!

With the public release of the Pensacola Beach Petal Top, I thought it would be a great time to put together a tutorial on making your own bias tape! Bias tape is called so because it is traditionally cut on the bias of the fabric. The Fabric has two grain lines, one that runs parallel to the selvage and one that runs perpendicular to the selvage. When pulling on a woven fabric in either of these two directions there is no stretch. However, if you pull your fabric from corner to corner you will see there is actually some stretch. This is call the Bias. So when bias tape is made we cut it on the bias to allow for some stretch. This helps with fitting the bias to curves of necklines, armscyes and hem lines. (Click to view larger)


For this tutorial you will need the following supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Large ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Fat quarter – half yard of woven fabric

Using your piece of fabric, trim off the selvage ends.


Fold the bottom right corner up to the top raw edge of the fabric RST as indicated.


Cut the angled edge with your scissors keeping the edge as straight and clean as you can while cutting.


Flip the triangle over onto the left-hand side of the fabric.


Rotate the triangle on the left-hand side clockwise, 45 degrees as indicated.


Your fabric should now look like this.




Now flip the right-hand side fabric over from the right-hand side to the left-hand side as indicated.


The straight sides should now be aligned.


Sew along the right-hand side straight edge with a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance as indicated.


Press your seam open.


Using a large ruler, measure on the angled edge and mark your lines as indicated. The following guide will help you determine your spacing.

  • European  1 cm double fold bias, space your lines every 4cm.
  • US 1/2″ double fold bias, space your lines every 2″.


The following points have been marked to show how to align the top and bottom edges. This continuous bias method forms a continuous piece of fabric rather than cutting strips to be sewn end to end once cut. (Click to view larger)




Placing RST, fold the bottom edge , marked A, under and align with the top left-hand side drawn line end as indicated at the top of the fabric with a matching marker A. Repeat for the right-hand side, matching up the B markers. (Click to view larger)


Sew along the top aligned edge with a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance as indicated. (Click to view larger)


Press your seam open.


Starting on the left-hand side, cut the blue marked line as indicated. Make sure you do not cut through two layers of fabric but only one layer.


Continue around until the entire strip is cut. It will form one long continuous piece of fabric.


Now with the WS facing you fold the top and bottom edges over a 1/2″ or (1cm) toward the center.


Press edges flat.
Tip: for those of you that don’t like ironing by hand you can purchase a bias tool for a couple of dollars at any sewing shop. Just remember if you want 1/2″ bias to purchase double that in size (1″ tool). I personally enjoy ironing bias without the tool so that is what is shown in this tutorial. 


Once you have pressed the entire length of your strip. Fold your fabric in half and press again.


Your bias should now measure 1/4″ or (1cm). Trim the edge of the bias if desired.


You can use a piece of cardboard or something similar to wrap your bias around for storing. Pin in place  to keep it from unraveling and enjoy!


Posted in Tutorials

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