Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cutting fabric on the bias - Tutorial

How to cut fabric on the bias when making binding for a quilt, apron or other sewing project. Any comments by me that really aren't part of the tutorial - just my observations or ramblings - like this - will be in italics.

For this project make sure you have:
fabric (amount will vary), rotary cutter, large cutting mat, large ruler, sewing machine, thread, scissors, iron.

If you are making a quilt you should have 1 1/4 yards of fabric for the binding. What you will want is a square of fabric. Since the majority of quilting cottons are about 44 inches or so wide 1 1/4 yards should be enough, once you wash and dry it, to have a square of fabric. I didn't need that much binding. I started with a 25 inch square of fabric.

1) Make sure you have a square of fabric. I did make mine square.

2) Fold it into a triangle. This will give you your bias.

3) Notice - your triangle is larger than your largest ruler. We must remedy this!

4) Fold one side of your triangle toward the center.

5) Fold the other side toward the center. Your goal is to now have a piece of fabric that is less than 24 inches wide - the length of that ruler - so you will be able to cut your strips in one fell swoop or cut. And this has done it!

6) Place your ruler on top of your fabric along the bottom fold. Now - make one long cut about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch from the bottom fold.

7) You can discard the scrap.

8) Cut your strips in your desired width. I was making bias for an apron so I cut one inch strips. If you were making a quilt 2 1/2 inch strips would work nicely.

9) When you unfold your strips you will notice they have angles on the ends. You will need to sew these strips together to make your long bias strips for your projects. Here's how. Make sure you have two like ends together - like in the above picture. Both angles are facing the same way.

10) Place your strips right sides together.

11) And turn them. I put the pen in the picture to show you need to sew from the V by the point of the pen to the next V or indent (since my last name begins with a V I like to use the V explanation).

12) Sew. And you will chain sew - as you are ending with this strip pick up the other end, place another strip of fabric next to it to make sure the angles are the same, place them right sides together, turn and sew. The larger the strip the easier and more forgiving I found this to be. The smaller the strips the more I found myself thinking about running to the store to purchase bias tape. But, practice really makes perfect. By the end I was much more adept at sewing the smaller strips together.

13) Then you will have a pile of strips that go from the above ----- to adorning the below apron.

You will have to iron your seams open and cut off a ton of small v's from where the two strips are joined. Then - if making double fold bias tape - you can use a bias tape maker or view my tutorial on how to make bias tape using an iron and a large pin. If you are making a quilt you don't need to iron it in half. You would hold your fabric, folded in half, so the pretty side is facing the outside and you would sew the raw edges onto the edge of your quilt. Perhaps a tutorial for another day.

Best of luck! Hope this all made sense. If it doesn't let me know! And if it does and you succeed have a cup of coffee on me and leave me a comment! Happy sewing, Beth


Tilly said...

You are a wonderful person. :) Oh the doors you have opened!! :) I'll let you know how it goes...

annamae said...

thanks for that tutorial! :)

LindaJo said...

Hi, Thanks so much for the great tutorial...I always do so much better with pics and these are so helpful. On a related note, I bought a silk dress from a catalog with I can't return. It's cut on the bias and the center seam in front puckers at the top just under the bustline. I'm a beginner sewer and so took it to a dressmaker who said it was because the seam wasn't stretched as it was sewn, but she didn't want to try to fix it. Is there any suggestion you have for repairing a puckering seam? Thanks for any info...Linda

Theresa said...

Thank you! This was so helpful to me. Am making crib bedding and needed a refresher course on cutting the strips on the bias. Excellent!

Thanks again,



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