Tutorial: Make your own bias binding!
I want to share with you a simple how-to/tutorial for making your own bias binding. It’s such a fun thing to do, and really helps give your sewing projects extra personality and swankiness! The variety of pre-made bias binding available is pretty limited, plus I find that the usual stuff can be pretty stiff, which is not great for garment sewing in particular. Whether you choose to make binding that perfectly coordinates with your project, or that creates a bold or pretty contrast, your garment making and quilting projects can be elevated to something even more unique!
What You Will Need:
- Set square, pattern master or ruler
- Marking tool (chalk or marking pen etc)
- Fabric scissors
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Iron and a suitable surface to press on
- Optional: rotary cutter and cutting mat
First you’ll need to select your fabric. If you plan to make coordinating binding, then you will just need to harvest some scraps left over from your cutting out. If you intend to make coordinating binding, then light-to-medium weight cotton (like quilting cotton or shirting) is ideal. There are a couple of things to consider if selecting printed fabric. Keep in mind the scale of the print; it has to be a small design to show up well on a narrow strip of binding. Striped fabric can be fun when made into binding, but it can create an extra challenge if you attempt to make the joins unnoticeable.
In terms of quantity, we’ll be making the binding from diagonal strips of your fabric, so try to find some scraps that can be cut into decent length strips to save you from having to make lots of joins. If you are buying fabric specifically for making bias binding, a fat quarter should be ample.
How to Make Bias Binding:
Give your fabric a press and lay it flat. Position your set square, pattern master or ruler so one edge is at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge or your fabric (see picture above). Many set squares and pattern masters have a 45 degree angle line printed on them or are a triangle shape (like the one I’ve used here), so it is easy to find. However, if you do not have a set square or pattern master, no problem! Eye-balling a 45 degree angle will be fine, or if you prefer to be more accurate and still have the edge cut across the width of your fabric, bring the cut edge so that it lays on top of the selvedge, then press down on the fold you have made. When you open it out again a crease should have formed at the 45 degree angle required.
Use a marking tool to draw along the 45 degree line, then cut along it. If you have a rotary cutter and cutting mat then you can use these straight away and eliminate the need to draw a line on your fabric.
Time to decide how wide you want your finished bias binding to be. Think about what width you want the binding to be when it has been sewn round the edge or your project, then times that by four (X 4) to figure out how wide the bias strips will need to be cut. In the example photographed, I wanted the bias binding to be 1cm wide when sewn, so I made the bias strips 4cm wide.
Use a ruler and marking tool to draw another line that runs parallel to your bias cut edge, at the width that you just calculated. If you have a set square or pattern master that has lines printed along one edge, this can help you mark the correct strip width quickly. Cut with scissors or a rotary cutter.
Continue cutting strips until you feel you have more than enough to bind the edges of your sewing project. It may sound obvious, but it’s better to make too much bias binding than end up with not quite enough, so if you can, cut a couple of extra strips than you feel would be sufficient.
Now you need to join the strips to form one continuous length. Start by laying the ends of the strips on top of each other perpendicular with right sides together (see above). The strips will be stitched together at a 45 degree angle (more 45 degree angles!) so pin the strips accordingly and mark the stitching line if you wish (see above). Stitch the joins.
All your strips should now be attached to each other with joins resembling the picture above.
Trim away the excess seam allowance at each join leaving about 1cm.
With your iron set at a temperature suitable for your fabric (test on a scrap first!), press the seam allowances open at each join. Trim away the little triangles of seam allowance that extend beyond the edges of your strip.
Give each join another press from the right side to make the long strip extra flat.
Fold and press your strip in half lengthways.
Open the strip again so you can see the crease that has been formed along the centre. Bring the top edge to meet the centre crease and press.
Bring the bottom edge to meet the centre crease and press. Give your bias strip one more press from the right side and you’re done. TA DA! You have made your own beautiful bias binding!
Thank you, Zoe!