Bias tape is essentially a strip of narrowly and evenly fabric that was cut on the bias. It's main advantage is that when cut on the bias, the "tape" will have more stretch for using to finish curves on hems, seams, or whatever you are using it for. You can buy it ready made in different thicknesses and as double-fold or single-fold.
Bias tape is used to bind straight or curved edges. Because it is cut on the bias, it stretches making sewing on curves easier. It comes in many colours, generally solids, if store-bought. But if you make your own, the possibilities are endless.
Single vs. Double fold
What I found confusing is that single fold bias tape actually has two folds and double fold bias tape has three. The raw edges are folded over on each. So if you realize that, it is easier to keep straight.
Single-fold bias tape makes sewing hem lines a snap. It creates a polished finish and eliminates the need for facing at hemlines. Single-fold bias tape can be used to make a narrow facing, like at a neckline or armhole. Unfold the tape and place the pressed crease-line along the garment seamline. Stitch in place and trim the garment seam allowances narrower than the bias. Turn the bias to the garment wrong side, press to shape and hand- or top-stitch the remaining bias folded edge in place
Double-fold bias tape is used to finish edges too but it is visible on the front of the fabric. This allows for all kinds of effects. It is meant to encase the raw edge when sewn onto the garment.The tape itself is folded such that the underside is just slightly longer than the upper side. This allows for the thickness of the cloth edge thatyou're binding, and assures that you'll catch the lower folded edge when applying the binding by machine.
Making Bias Tape
You need to cut narrow strips of fabric on the bias. Colette has a fabulous tutorial here. Actually, Colette has two tutorials, one for making shorter strips and one for continuous loop bias tape.
Carla at the Scientific Seamstress has a printable bias tape maker. I printed it and found it quick easy to use. I wish she sold these in some material that wouldn't burn from the iron. This is the type of gadget that could sell for $10 and every seamstress would own one. It is portable and effeicent. Do follow the link to print your own -especially if making bias tape is new to you.
Finally there is the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker (and I think one is also put out by Clover). Head over to Fly Away Home to see this baby in action.
|This picture is from Fly Away Home. Just look at the bias tape Lucy made in all those amazing fabrics! No wonder I bought a machine based on this post.|
Using Bias Tape:
Whether you're using purchased bias tape or making your own, there are tricks to applying it to be sure it's pucker-free and hugs the edge you're covering.
- Bias tape can finish almost any raw edge.
- To bind an edge, begin in an inconspicuous place around the project perimeter, away from a corner to reduce bulk. Slide the raw edge into the bias opening and pin in place.
- Use straight, zig zag or decorative stitches to sew the bias tape in place
- Before sewing the bias tape around curves, press the bias tape for a better fit. The bias grain allows the binding to shape to the curve without puckering
- Bias doesn't ravel, so you can simply cut the tape to the length you need and continue stitching, overlapping the original end about 1/2"
- If you prefer not to have your stitching show, use the two-step method. Unfold the bias tape and sew to the right of the foldline with right sides (bias tape and fabric) facing. Then fold the bias tape as you normally would and stitch in the ditch or slip stitch the underside down.
"No Swearing" bias tape sewing video that goes through the process of sewing bias tape on. Its simple to do and an easy 3 minute video to watch.