Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How-to: Make Your own Bias Tape

A few weeks ago, I posted a tutorial for making your own piping. The amazing Alice Merlino (aka Futuregirl) commented (don't think I didn't get excited about that!) about another dream of hers, making her own bias tape. And that got me thinking about how super easy bias tape is to make -- even double fold! If you can cut and iron, you can do it.

that's it!

Step 1: Measure!

This is always the first step, isn't it? Measure your project to see how much bias tape you need. Make sure to add a little extra just in case. Then, lay out your fabric on a cutting surface with the selvedge straight. Measure your fabric at a 45-degree angle, just like you did for the piping, to make sure you have enough fabric to get all the bias tape you need. Decide what width tape you want, then multiply this number by four. This is the width strip you will cut. If you want quarter-inch tape, you'll cut a one-inch strip.

Step 2: Cut

For my quarter-inch tape, I'm cutting a 1-inch strip

Cut your strips along the bias -- the 45-degree angle to the warp and weft of the fabric (45 degrees to the selvedge -- see how my cutting mat has a handy bias line already marked?). It'll be the stretchiest angle -- this is what helps you bend the tape smoothly around curves.

Step 3: Iron

Fold your strip almost in half and iron it. Be careful not to burn yourself! You might try pinning your strip to hold it in place to prevent steaming your fingers.

Open the strip up. Take one side and fold it all the way to the first fold, and iron it down.

If you want single-fold bias tape, just iron these two folds and you're finished!

Take the other side and iron it to the first fold. Because the first fold wasn't quite down the center, this will give you one side that's slightly narrower than the other, just like in commercial bias tape, and it ensures when you sew it onto your fabric you catch both sides of the tape in your stitching.

Now, re-iron that first fold -- the one that goes down the center of the tape. Ta-da! Double-fold bias tape, in a custom fabric to match your project.

There are loads of great tutorials out there for actually using this tape, so I won't repeat them here. I really liked this video tutorial from Angry Chicken, but there are lots of others out there you can find with a simple search.


  1. I have always wanted to know how to make my own double folded bias tape. You did a great job on this tutorial as it was very easy to follow. I love the fabric you used to make the bias tape. :)

  2. Thanks! The fabric's a scrap from an old Mary Englebreit print I picked up a zillion years ago to make an apron. I love the fun take on a check/plaid.


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