Quick and Easy Bias Tape

   Starting today we're going to try a new thing. From now on every Wednesday Robin is going to do a weekly Blog feature called Robin's Nest because corny names make her happy. Just humour her; you might learn something. So heeeeeere's Robin *applause* -Bob

Ahem. Hi Everyone! Welcome to the first issue of Robin's Nest! (Great name huh?) Every Wednesday we're going to talk about some of the techniques that will help you take your sewing project from home-sewn to professionally-tailored. We're going to start today with one of my favorite tricks for making quick and easy bias tape.

So what is bias tape and why is it important? Bias tape is fabric which is cut on a 45° angle from the selvedge edge of the fabric. It ranges in width from Kass's svelte 1" to my typical giant 2". As for what it does, what DOESN'T it do!? Okay, it doesn't do my laundry, but it IS very useful. Fabric on the bias has more stretch, so for finishing round corners, edges, binding and making piping, bias tape is your friend. You can buy bias tape by the package at Joann's, but it's only cotton, it's poopy colours and it's friggin' expensive. It's simple and easy to make your own!  Here's how:

This method makes you A LOT of bias tape from not a lot of fabric with minimal seams. It's kind of magical, actually.

  1. Start with a square of fabric. It doesn't matter how big it is, except it must be equally divisible by your finished bias tape width. I'm making red wool piping for Bob's de Gheyn Project. What can I say? I shouldn't help him, but I'm a pushover.  [And man, how I'd love to give you a shove for that remark.  Love, Bob.]  I'm working with a 14" Square.

  2. Draw a line with a ruler from one corner to the opposite corner.                                                                        

    (I don't usually don't mark things in sharpie, but I want you to be able to see it.)

  3. Cut along your diagonal line. You'll now have two right triangles! And you thought that high school geometry was never going to be useful.

  4. Sew the two opposite straight edges together to make a rhombus.                                                                    

  5. It's very important to iron your seams open. Certain people who shall remain nameless *ahemBOBahem* think this isn't the case. But I cannot stress to you enough how much ironing as you go affects the quality of your finished product. Trust me it matters! Don't be lazy!

  6. Mark lines parallel to the top and bottom edge at whatever width you want your finished bias tape. Bob wanted 1" so that's what I'm using. CONFESSION: I don't normally mark mine at all. I usually just eyeball it, but I've been doing this a loooong time.

    I marked mine on the right side so it was easier to see but it's easier to SEW if you mark on the wrong side (Okay I also forgot that it's easier to sew on the other side)
  7. Now this is the tricky part. You're going to take the two short sides and sew them together off setting by one bias tape width each direction. This feels akward at first; it's easier with a bigger triangle. Basically you're sewing a tube together with a tab sticking off each side. I know this bit is confusing so I'm going to include a couple pictures.


  8. Cut along your lines. You will spiral upwards around the tube and end up with a big ol' pile of bias tape.

  9. VOILA! You're welcome BOB! You owe me one :-) [And OOOO!  Yer gonna GET it! Love, Bob.]

    I got 4 1/4 yards of bias from one 14" square! Not too shabby.

Tune in next week for more sewing tips!