Sewing School Day 18 ~ 2 Ways to Make Bias Strips

 

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Welcome to Day 18!  This week in Sewing Scho0l we are going to be going over trims.  Most of the trims I am going to discuss are made from bias strips because of the stretch in the bias.  This makes it much easier to apply to curves and corners, and you don’t have to worry about easing it in or puckers.  They will easily lay flat where strips cut on the grain will not.  Many of these trims can be bought pre-made, but they are quite simple to make yourself and once you know how, you can not only save some money by diy-ing it, it also gives you endless possibilities!

In most cases, you will need to stitch multiple bias strips together to get a strip long enough for your project.  I had originally planned to explain this process when I explained how to make the trims, but once I started writing the posts I felt like it might be a little too much to take in at once, particularly if you are new to sewing.  So, for today’s post, I am just going to go over the two methods for creating lengths of bias strips.

Let’s start out with a review of what the bias is:

 

Selvedge ~ The finished edge of the fabric that keeps it from fraying  on the bolt.  It will often have the name of the fabric, designer, and a color key printed on it (you can see it in the bottom right hand of this pic)

Straight (or lengthwise) Grain ~ Runs parallel to the selvedge.  On woven fabric, the straight grain will not give when tugged at.

Crosswise Grain ~ Runs perpendicular to the selvedge.  On woven fabric, the cross grain may give a little.

 

Bias ~ The grain that runs at a 45 degree angle from the selvedge.

 If you would like to read more about understanding fabric, you can check out this post.

 

OPTION 1 ~ STITCHING SINGLE STRIPS TOGETHER

1) Cut the fabric on the bias line of the fabric.

2)  Here I am using a small square of fabric to make it easier for me to photograph, but typically, you want to use a larger piece of fabric (at least a half yard) so that you end up with longer bias strips, and  have less strips to sew together.   So to make it easier to cut, I fold the fabric in half on the bias line (bringing point a to point b).

3)  Then, mark lines parallel to the bias line the appropriate width apart, or if you have a clear quilting ruler and rotary cutter, you can just use that.

4)  Cut as many strips as needed to to get the length you need.

 

5)  This is just to show how I folded the fabric on the bias.

6)  With RIGHT sides together, place the strips perpendicular to one another with the points slightly overlapping the edge as pictured above.

7)  Stitch together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

8)  Press the seam open.

 

OPTION 2:  CONTINUOUS BIAS STRIPS

This picture is to help you see what I am working with in the following pics.  Hopefully, it will make the process a little easier to understand.  And don’t forget, once I have gone through and done all the written tutorials, I will be making video tutorials.

 

Cut the fabric on the bias at one end.  Then, with RIGHT sides together and keeping the grain running straight, pin a to b and stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press seam open.

 

Using a quilting ruler and fabric marker, mark lines the appropriate width across the entire width of the fabric.  When you come to the end, if there isn’t enough fabric for the correct witdth just trim the excess off (ie if at the last mark there is only 1 3/4″ and you are marking your strips for 2″, just trim off the 1 3/4″).  Also, mark a 1/4″ seam allowance one the top and bottom of the fabric.

Now here’s where it gets a little twisted…literally.  Mark the first two lines as pictured above.  (I marked all of my lines, but you really only need to do the first two)  At the top of the fabric, start numbering with zero, and at the bottom start numbering with one.  With RIGHT sides together, pin the top of the fabric to the bottom, MATCHING LINE 1 ON THE TOP TO LINE 1 ON THE BOTTOM.

 

This will create a tube of fabric with a tail on either end and a line like a cork screw throughout the fabric.

 

Start cutting along the line you drew on one side…

 

Continue cutting until you get to the other end.

And there you go!  A nice long bias strip.

 

I found this method a little more difficult to follow than the first, but once you do it, it will likely be a one of  those “ah-ha” moments.  Also, this method is great if you only have a small amount of fabric to work with.  Here is a great article on figuring out how much yardage you will be able to get from the amount of fabric you have.

Hopefully, that was clear.  As usual feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.

 

Comments

  1. Jenifer says

    I love making bias tape and coordinating it with my dress fabric. I have only ever done it by method 1 before, I’m itching to try the second but am a little scared!! Perhaps I’ll wait till you have the video tute up… :)

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