Ever been frustrated at the plain Jane options out there for pre-made bias quilt binding? Let’s make our own today with whatever pretty fabric you want! And let’s make LOTS of it, because if you are binding a quilt, even a smallish one, you need more than any package can give you; I am going to teach you how to make continuous double-fold bias binding from ⅜” yard of 45” wide fabric. You can of course use a larger piece of fabric, but don’t attempt to make continuous tape with a smaller piece, as wrangling it into a bias tube will be impossible.
Making continuous bias tape means the marking and cutting part of the process will take a little longer than when just cutting strips to be sewn together, but there will be no sewing strips together (and no trying to figure out which way they should go so they don’t end up at right angles) and no trimming dog ears at every little seam.
Madam Sew’s Bias Tape Maker Kit has everything you need to make your own quilt binding using your favorite fabric.
Calculating the Width of Binding
The bias tape makers will make single fold bias tape, the measurement indicates the width of the finished tape (this means minus the ¼” folded edges), but for binding we need double-fold tape, so that measurement will be cut in half.
Therefore, your 1” tape maker will give you ½” double-fold tape, ¾” will render ⅜” tape, ½” will create ¼” tape, and the small ¼” maker is going to give you tape too narrow to use for this purpose, so we are going to disregard it.
You also need to take into account the thickness of your batting, as this will also narrow the width of your finished binding once it’s sewn onto the quilt. For low to medium loft batting, account for about ⅛” width loss, for medium to high loft, add another 1/16” to that “loss”.
I generally use the large, 25mm tape maker, which will render roughly ½” binding (minus the thickness of the batting). For this tutorial we will cut 2” strips and will get about 9 ¾ yards of binding; narrower tape will render more length.
Preparing The Fabric
The first thing we need to do is to square off the edges so that we have a perfect rectangle, if you have a white selvedge, you also want to trim it off.
1. Mark a line at 45 degree angle from the lower right corner to the top edge of the fabric.
2. Cut along the line you have marked. Now you have a separate triangle of fabric.
3. With right sides together, align the selvedge edges and sew a ¼” seam. Press open.
There are three different types of markings that you need to have on the wrong side of the fabric.
1. Mark a ¼” line along the top and bottom edges. This will be your seam line.
2. Carefully mark lines parallel to the bias edge every 2”. If you have a narrow strip left at the end, cut it off.
3. Along the top edge of the fabric, mark the intersections of the bias lines with the seam line starting with the number 0. Along the bottom edge of the fabric, repeat the process but this time start with the number 1.
Now, take a deep breath, this is going to feel all wrong, but it will work in the end.
1. Fold the fabric lengthwise with right sides together
2. Align the number 1 on one edge with the number 1 on the opposite edge. Pin the intersections together. This will twist the fabric.
3. Continue aligning and pinning the intersections marked with the same number.
4. Sew the ¼” inch seam that you just pinned, making sure that the intersections remain aligned. Do take care with this step and sew slowly.
5. Press the seam open. It will be awkward, as you have created a spiral and the seam is pulling the fabric on the bias. If you are getting frustrated just give it a good steaming and gently finger press or press a little bit at a time as you cut.
1. Locate one of the tails at the beginning or end of the spiral.
2. Use your scissors to cut along the line you marked at the beginning of the process.
3. If everything went right, you should have a nice long strip of bias fabric ready to be turned into binding.
Using The Bias Tape Maker Kit
Now we are ready to use our kit! Start by giving your bias strip a quick press, this will help it feed through the tape maker. Position it with wrong side up and slide one end into the tape maker, use the awl to help you.
Pin the end of the strip that you just pulled out the front to one end of your ironing board, grab the handle of the tape maker and gently pull it away from the pinned end. At the same time, press the folds on the strip.
Once you reach the end of the board, reposition your tape and pin again to restart the process. Repeat if necessary until you have pressed all your tape.
Almost done! To turn your bias tape into binding, all you have to do is fold it in half with the folded edges toward the center and give it another press.
Look at this beauty! That wasn’t so bad, was it? I hope you use the bias tape kit to make your own quilt binding and show us your work! Use hashtag MadamSew on Instagram!