Bias tape is simply folded fabric strips cut on the “bias”, which means diagonally to the grain of the fabric. This allows the fabric strips to bend and stretch effortlessly around curved seams and edges, making it a great way to finish garments or other sewing projects. It’s inexpensive to buy, however the color and fabric choices can be pretty limited.
Making your own bias tape for your sewing projects not only means you know it will match perfectly, but it also helps use up your leftover fabric which means it’s practically free. It is also much easier than you might think, and you don’t need one of those fancy electric machines to do it. Are you ready to learn how? Here’s what you’re going to need:
Scissors or rotary cutter
seam ripper or very long pin
First, iron your fabric and then lay it out on a large flat surface. Line the selvage edge up with the edge of your table or cutting mat.
If your mat has bias markings on it, and you can see thru your fabric, all you need to do is cut along those diagonal lines, making strips about an inch and a half wide. (for wider tape, cut strips about 2.5 inches)
If you aren’t using a mat or you have opaque fabric, take the cut side and bring it across to the selvage side, making a triangle. Iron the fold, then open the fabric back flat. This fold mark will serve as your bias line, and you will cut your strips parallel with it.
Line up the ends of your strips, with right sides together, so they form a right angle. Stitch a very narrow seam along the outside edge.
Feed one end of your tape into the backside of the tape folder, and use a seam ripper or long pin to feed the fabric thru the slot until it begins to come out the other end. Make sure all your ironed seams are facing away from the end you start through the folder so they don’t get caught up in it.
As the fabric starts to pop out the front of the folder, have your iron ready. Use the hottest setting you can with steam, to make sure that your new folds stay put.