How to make Bias Trim Easy Sewing Tutorial
There are a bunch of sewing tutorials out there that show how to make bias trim… but you (dear readers) keep asking me how, so here’s how I do it!
When I make bias trim, I usually keep it nice and simple. I use a piece of fabric that’s about 1/2 yard, and I cut strips to sew together (see exactly how below).
Just a quick explanation of what makes bias trip special: Bias trim is made from strips of fabric that are cut on the bias (or on a 45 degree angle). This makes the trim suitable for binding curves. See my Handy Purse Organizer, Pochi Pouch, and Woven Binding on Clothing tutorials for examples of that.
Lots of quilters like to make bias trim for their quilts too. Even if the quilt has straight edges, bias trim might be used if the fabric looks better cut on a 45 degree angle (try stripes, polka-dots, and gingham). Some quilters argue that bias binding is more durable since the threads don’t run parallel to the edge. I don’t worry about that usually, but I do make bias binding for my quilt if the fabric looks better that way.
Tips for picking fabric to make bias trim:
The fabrics above come from the new Flutter & Float collection by Ana Davis for Blend. They are adorable! But I wouldn’t use all of them for bias trim. The bigger prints on the bottom row would most likely be lost if used for binding. But the smaller prints on the top row are a much better choice. The first two pastel fabrics might look unassuming and blend in, while the next two prints would really stand out. I love using stripes for bias trim because they turn out as diagonal stripes. And the last print (the gray one) would be a good choice too because binding a quilt with a darker trim can frame it up like a picture.
For this bias trim tutorial, I’m going to show you how using the cute striped fabric.
How to make your own bias trim:
You will need:
- about 1/2 yard of fabric
- cutting mat & rotary cutter
- long acrylic ruler
- sewing machine & thread
1. Press your fabric and trim the edges to make them straight. Cut off the selvages too. Lay it on your cutting mat.
2. Fold one corner down at a 45 degree angle so that the side edge is even with the bottom edge.
3. Lay the ruler against the diagonal fold of fabric and trim off about 1/8”.
4. Then start cutting bias strips your desired width.
Tip: the most common size for quilt binding is 2 1/2”. For other projects I usually cut my bias binding 2” wide.
Unless you are really short on fabric and trying to squeeze every inch out of it (lol), you would probably set that smaller triangle aside and only cut longer strips. But I’ve been short on fabric before and cut up almost the whole little triangle!
5. Get ready to sew strips together. Except for the pieces cut from that folded up triangle, you should be able to match the ends up as shown in the first photo above.
If the ends don’t match up nicely, it’s still preferable to sew them together at an angle so the seam doesn’t make a bulky lump in your binding. So square up the ends and pin them as shown in the second picture. It might help to draw a diagonal line too.
6. Sew the strips together along the diagonal line you drew (or with a 1/4” seam allowance if the ends matched up nicely).
7. Trim to a 1/4” seam allowance, if needed.
8. Press all of the seam allowances open,
And then press the binding in half, wrong sides together. This binding is now ready for my mini quilt next month!
Depending on your project you might press the edges of your bias trim to the center and then press it in half. This is called ‘double fold binding.’
You can also press the edges to the center with a handy little little tool like this (mine is the Clover 1” bias tape maker).
If I need to make a lot of bias binding (or sometimes just a little) I use a cool technique for making continuous bias trim. See it in this video.
Any questions? Let me know below. Thanks so much for reading my blog. I love sharing techniques like this with you.
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
How do you get the fabric started in the bias tape maker?
Just slide the fabric end through the opening against the metal. There is a slot so you can use a pin to help push in through if it gets stuck. Good luck!
This may sound like a kindergarten question but how wide do you cut your strios for the bias tape makers? I’ve always used commerical bias tape but would like to start making my own. I have a set of the makers but don’t know how wide to cut each. Thanks firstname.lastname@example.org
Did the bias tape makers include instructions to tell you how wide to cut the fabric? I only own the 1” bias tape maker, and the back of the package stated that I should cut my fabric 1 3/4” wide. 2” wide works too, though – I tried it!
I like your other tutorial better … with squaring up the 1/2 yard of fabric and folding the upper left down to bottom edge. I find it more easily done.