Bias tape, also referred to as bias binding, has many practical applications. It is often used in garment sewing, finishing the arm holes of a dress, encasing the top edge of a pocket or bottom edge of a hem. It's also used frequently in home decor and accessory sewing to add the finishing touch to a project, such as a blanket or bag. It is very simple to apply and has a nice, clean finished look. Plus when you use a contrasting tape it becomes a fun design element.
Bias binding is also easy to make yourself so you are not limited to the pre-made, packaged tapes... virtually any cloth will do (though I suggest starting with a standard cotton weight until you are comfortable with the process). Clover tape makers are my preferred tool. They come in many sizes and the directions to make your own are easy to follow. Colette Patterns have also written a great how to make bias tape tutorial, here. When you make your own the binding the possibilities are endless; tiny flowers, polka dots, pinstripes, gingham and any color of kona cotton or a chambray. Have fun.
Here we go...
First completely unfold you bias tape. Here I am using tape I made using a 1" tape maker (ending up with a 1/2" wide binding) in a blue chambray.
Pre-made bias tape and tape made with some bias tape makers (such as Clover brand) will have one side narrower than the other. Visible when first unfolded.
Beginning with the narrower side, align the raw edge of your tape with the raw edge of your project, right sides facing. Fold the short end of your tape down at a 90 degree angle to meet the raw edges (shown above) and start sewing, backstitch.
Sew until you come to about seam-allowance distance away from the corner of your project (in my case 1/4") and backstitch.
Take your project out from under your presser foot, fold your bias tape up and to the right forming a 90 degree angle. Neatly finger press.
Then fold your tape straight out to the left along the raw edge of your base fabric. Pin in place.
Start sewing again along this second edge, seam allowance distance (1/4") in from the corner, backstitch. Note: Don't worry about the 1/4" unstitched portions around the corners. They will be taken care of in the final steps.
Continue around your entire project. When you get to where you started, continue to overlap your tape and sew about 2"- 3" past your starting point, backstitch. Cut off any extra tape.
Refold your bias tape: Flip your project over and refold your tape, encasing all raw edges.
When completely folded your tape should just barley cover your original stitch line. This is the reason for your bias tape having one folded edge slightly narrower and one thicker.
If you have a bias tape maker that does not create one side narrower then the other, you simply need to fold your tape slightly off (not quite in half) and attach the smaller side of your tape first.
Pin your tape neatly as you check to be sure all stitches are hidden underneath.
I like to use extra long flathead pins for this... the longer the pin the less pinning, plus they're cute! Also take care to tuck all corners into a tidy miter as pictured above.
The little boat print here is from Kokka's Trefle Collection (edited)
Finally topstitch, about an 1/8" from the inner edge of your tape, the entire way around your project, backstitching when your stitches meet. Voilà!
Note: You could also finish your bias binding by hand stitching the folded edge to the back of your project. This is a nice option when you don't wish to see any topstitching.
Thank you so much!!! This helps a ton. Now I can't wait to make more blankets!
thanks for posting this-i always need some help when it comes to binding things :)
This helps me so much! Thanks :) Monique
Thank you for the tutorial! I have avoided using bias tape as it always looked hard and I could never quite figure out how you were supposed to use it. I will definitely give it a try now!
Where did you find that beautiful ship fabric??
Nicole - the Trefle Boats in Black (in last photo) are by Kokka, a wonderful japanese company. We sell them in our shoppe and I actually just added them to our online inventory, here:
Lets try that again the boats are here:
thank you thank you
FINALLY- it makes SENSE!!!!!
I saw your post linked on Not Martha and I am so glad I did. I am working on a larger bias project and now in good hands!
oh my goodness I am so grateful for your clear and helpful tutorial!!! THANK YOU!!!
After a disastrous attempt at attaching bias tape, this tutorial is just what I needed. I think I better become a new follower too, while I'm here.
I've never done bias tape this way. I usually keep the tape folded and tuck my fabric needing binding into it. I might lay it open to make sure my fabric's unfinished edge lines up with the middle seam in the bias tape, but then I refold and pin it and sew both sides at once. Your way, one side of the bias tape would have 2 seam lines unless you PERFECTLY match them. Is there something I'm missing?
Thank you so much I've aways done it the hard way and thought it would be so much easier it I could just sew one side at a time
IT helps me so much.
Thank you keep cool
sewing the bias tape on was not a problem for me but i never knew what to do when i got to the corners. how could something so easy have stumped me for so long!!! thank you for this and many more projects you have helped me with.
Thanks heaps I have been sewing for more than 50 years and have never thought to fold the tape when starting would be so much neater. I learnt to sew saving every scrap of fabric. would have been thought of as wasteful.
Thank you thank you thank you! This is about the fifth tutorial I've read today, and the first that actually makes sense to me.
I know I'm a year late to thank you but just had the occasion for using the mitered binding technique. It worked great! I like to use homemade binding which I cut 3" wide and fold in half, I sew the raw edge to the back of the quilt and pull the binding over and neatly machine stitch it on front. Your technique works wonderful with my home-made binding as well. Thank You!
hope you'll see this message.
i just wanted to sat THANK-YOU for this great instructions. i'm just starting to sew and it's my first time sewing a bias tape, not to mentions corners and it worked!
although it's in Hebrew you're invited to check out the corners you helped me sew.
Just wanted to say thank you for this easy tutorial! I wanted to use bias tape to finish off a project I have been working on,the felt flower winter wreath from thepurlbee.com. I put my own spin on it using amy butler love fabric for some of the flowers, coordinating threads, buttons, and bias tape... this is my FISRT time even knowing what bias tape is and using it so this was really helpful. My project was done by hand, so i used your tutorial but sewed it on by hand completely, and it works really well! Thank you! I can now frame my project and hang it up for an art piece in our home! :) here is my blog, i talk about this project, crafting, photography, and other things... ill be sure to put your tutorial in my next post!
This is the ONLY good tutorial for this on the web - THANK YOU!!! :)
Thanks! Found this through a Google search. I had already battled with the bias tape trying to make nice corners... then... ta da!
Helps. All new tunic patterns call for bias trim. I desperatly need to know how to finish a neckline w/it epecially v necks & the splits in the side of the tunic. If you could post this it would be a God send. No clue how to end it around the collar etc. It's too thick. I used the size the pattern called for, been sewing since 6th grade, now 53 & can't believe I can't do this. Thanks
This post just saved my life. Thank you!!! :)
Seriously, you saved my life! Thank you :)
Finally a tutorial that makes sense! Still hate bias tape though lol
I've been sewing for 50 years and sewing bias sometimes worked for me and sometimes didn't. I often wondered why???
I did not know one side was narrower than the other - whoda thought???
Well, I expect my bias to work all the time now - thank you so much!
What a great tool to help me remember how to use bias tape. After several years I am getting back to sewing. I find it discouraging that I can't just do things like I use to do. This has been so much help. I am excited to use my renewed knowledge thanks to you!!!mc
Best explanation of the proper way to do bias tape!
Very clear - a great help. Thanks!
I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say thank you thank you THANK YOU! I just made my very first quilt for my daughter's first birthday, and I have always been terrified of bias tape and binding things. This tutorial helped so much. My corners are absolutely beautiful :) My mom was even jealous! Thank you so much!
Thank you very much. Its helped me a lot.
Thanks. I always tried to sew it with fabric sandwiched in between. Never worked well.
Wow...I am anxious to try this. Have avoided binding anything because previous attempts did not look good.
Thanks a lot! Found it very simple and useful! haberdashery
Thank you so much for this tutorial.
Amazing blog helpful to get info...!
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I have now looked a more than one tutorial,your with the pictures you've taken of you stitching after you've made the fold in the corner and finishing up the over lap has made it click for me. And, fully answered my questions.....of course am I doing my first mitered corner in a zillion years on a practice run, no,I'm finishing a project and don't want to foul it I now. Thank you.
Thank you. I've always just left my edges raw.
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