How to Make Your Own Bias Binding The Easy Way
This is the first in a series of blog posts I’ll be sharing about ‘How to make your own bias binding’ and ‘How to sew bias binding’.My next doll sewing pattern soon to be released is a halter neck dress and it has bias binding trim around the neckline and the armholes. So I thought it would be a good idea to do a few tutorials on making and sewing bias binding.
You can easily buy and use ready-made bias binding for the trim but I actually love making my own bias binding and having the freedom to make it anytime I like and from what ever fabric I like.
In this tutorial I’m going to show the easiest way to make your own bias binding.
First up we’ll start off with …
How to cut your fabric to make your own bias binding
Before we go cutting into our fabric we need to find the true bias grain of our fabric. We can do this in a couple of ways.
Use the selvage edge as a guide and fold up the side of the fabric at a 45 degree angle
You can also use a quilting ruler to help you find the 45 degree angle.
Most self-healing cutting mats also have a 45 degree cutting guide for you to use as well. Place your selvage edge along one of the straight cutting lines and then use the 45 degree cutting line as shown int he image below.
Now that you know how to find the 45 degree angle of your fabric it ‘s time to cut ourselves some bias strips so as we can make some bias binding 🙂
How to cut bias strips to make bias binding
For my doll’s dress I need to cut my strips 1″ wide. This will give me 1/2″ bias single fold bias binding and when I fold it again later it will give me 1/4″ double folded bias binding which is what I have around the neckline and armholes on the bodice of the halter neck dress.
If you wanted a 1/2″ double folded bias binding you would cut your strips at 2″ wide. Basically the rule of thumb is to cut your strip 4 times as wide as you want the end result of the double folded bias tape.
You can mark a cutting guide easily simply by finger pressing the fabric (I actually just placed my cutting ruler over the top of the fabric and pressed it down and this was the crease that I got.
Now that you have a crease marked on your fabric you can move your fabric around and get in an angle that’s easy for you to cut along. Sometimes when we’re finding our 45 degree angle the fabric doesn’t end up in a position that’s easy for us to cut along and the last thing we want to do is accidentally cut ourselves!
TIP: If you don’t have a rotary cutter and are going to be cutting your bias binding strips with scissors then I recommend using fabric markers to mark your cutting lines and then use your scissors to accurately cut along those lines.
Once I’ve made my first cut and got a nice crisp 45 degree angle it’s simply a matter of using my quilting ruler and the 1″ guide to continue cutting 1″ strips for my project until I have enough for what I’m making. I’m only making a dolls dress so I don’t need much at all. But if you’re like me you’ll probably get carried away and cut way more than you actually need. Which isn’t a bad thing as you can save all those bias strips to use in other little projects.
You can join bias strips to make longer strips… but for my dolls dress I don’t want any of my bias strips to have joins in them so I make sure that the strips I cut are long enough for the project I’m working on. For my armholes 6″ is more than enough so I can use one of the longer strips I cut and simply cut them to the length I need when I’m ready to use it.
WARNING – IMPORTANT
One of the most important things to remember when handling bias strips is to not tug or pull on them as they will stretch in length and shrink in width… and that’s the last thing we want to happen to all those cute little bias strips we’ve taken so much care to cut accurately for our project.
Now comes the fun part!! We actually get to make our bias binding.
How to use the Clover Bias Tape Maker Tools
My favourite way of making bias binding is using the little Clover bias tape maker tool. I know so many of you have at least one of these little gadgets hiding in your sewing supplies. Now’s the time to get that little baby out and blow the cobwebs off of it and put it to work for you…. Go on… go get it!! If you can’t remember what it looks like here’s a pic for you 🙂
If you don’t have a bias tape maker you can get a 1/2″ Clover Bias Tape maker the same as I’m using over on Amazon or your local fabric or quilting shop should have them in stock for you.
You can also get a full set of 5 different sizes as well
Ok so now you’ve got your little bias tape maker tool all dusted off lets put that baby to work and make ourselves some bias binding.
How to feed your fabric into the bias tape maker tool without having to use pins to feed the fabric through.
Sit your bias tape maker tool in front of your bias strip of fabric. The ends of your fabric should still be at the 45 degree angle from when you cut your strips. If not simply cut the end of the strip at a the 45 degree angle and you’ll be good to go.
Slowly slide the bias tape make tool onto the fabric. This will feed the fabric through the bias tape maker tool.
As you keep backing the bias maker tool over the fabric you’ll start to see the fabric start peaking it’s corner out the other end of the tool.
Keep sliding the bias tape maker tool back over the fabric a little further until a bit more fabric is fed through the end. Flip that little handle over as next up you are going to start using it to pull the bias tape maker tool over your strip of fabric.
Now you have enough fabric coming out the end of your little bias tape maker tool to actually start pressing and making your own bias tape 🙂
Things are heating up now hahahaha… time to put that nice hot iron to work along side or should I say in front of your bias tape maker tool.
As you pull on the little handle of the bias tape maker tool continue pressing the fabric with the nose of your iron up close to the nose of the bias tape maker and work your way along the full length of the strip of fabric.
If by some chance you pull the bias tape maker too far along ahead of your iron you can always pull the fabric back through the bias tape maker until you are back on track again.
This is what your bias binding tape will look like once you’re done…
You can sit back now and admire you handy work or if you’re anything like me you’ll be looking through your fabric stash to see what other fabric you can turn into bias binding.
In up coming tutorials I’ll share alternative methods for making bias binding as well as methods for sewing and attaching your bias binding.
Oh and here’s a little sneak peek at the cute little halter dress doll sewing pattern I’ll be releasing soon. Creating this pattern I thought would be a great way to teach people how to not only sew a gorgeous little dress but also include the opportunity to learn how to sew with bias binding and use it as a way to finish seams and add an additional designer detail to the dresses they make for their dolls.