Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sewing: How to Make Bias Tube Tape Binding (Tutorial)

Oh, that title sounds like a tongue-twister! And it looks like a tongue-twister! I showed my good friend, Sue, this binding project while I was in the middle of it and it made her head hurt. But, if you take some time and look through these steps, and try it, I promise it works! And it's kind of fun. I don't know if it's easier or faster than the "regular" method--the cut, cut, cut, and sew, sew, sew method--but it is certainly more interesting. And if something seems less rote to me I enjoy it more. Or so I've learned.

A very kind woman at a locally owned fabric shop showed me this and I am so grateful! She had a reference sheet,  "Bias Tube Construction"  from Lamb Art Press, Inc of Parsons, Tennessee. I can't find them online but I did find something just like her xeroxed sheet on eBay! And another identical reference here. So here we go. If you'd like to learn to make bias tape binding the tubular way (it is totally tubular and there is some geometry thrown in--the last math subject I remember loving!) then keep reading. This method has you start with a square, cut and sew two longer seams and then cut in a spiral and voila! You've got yards of bias tape!


Materials to make 2" wide bias tape binding ~128" long (enough to bind a 45" square Chenille Blanket or Chevron Chenille Blanket). If you want to make a different width or length check this yardage table as a reference, which also includes a sketched tutorial which is similar, but different then the method I outline here (my drawn cutting lines are the biggest difference). Check it out because one or the other may make better sense to you.

  • 2 12" squares of your chosen cotton fabric
  • ruler
  • fabric pen or pencil for marking cutting lines
  • scissors and/or rotary cutter
First you will need to cut 2 12" squares of your fabric. (Note that I am using 2 12" squares because I had that width remaining from a 60" wide fabric after cutting out my blanket--convenient. You could also do this with a 17.5" square if you have that width and only cut one.)

Cut your square on the diagonal into two equal isosceles right triangles (90-degree angle triangles). The cut just formed the hypotenuse, or longest side of each right triangle.

Flip the bottom triangle over and align the former bottom edge with the top edge of the other triangle right sides together. Pin.

Stitch along this edge using a .25" seam allowance.

Press the seam open and you will have a parallelogram looking shape like this. Repeat these last steps with your other square (cut into two triangles, stitch right sides together as illustrated above).

Now you will lay the two parallelogram shapes right sides together matching two of the short sides of your right triangles (not the hypotenuses) as pictured above. Pin and stitch using a .25" seam allowance. (If you are using just one, larger square you would skip this step.)

Press seam open and you will have a long parallelogram looking like this above. (Or a much shorter one if you are using one square.)

Now you will mark your cutting lines. Mark these by making lines 2" apart running parallel to the long edges of your parallelogram so they are on the bias.

The lines should cross your seams at an angle. You can use a fabric pen or a regular pencil. I used a regular ballpoint pin and did all my marking on the reverse since any remaining marks won't show once the binding is folded and stitched in place.

Now comes the tricky part! Place a straight pin on your FIRST cutting line (from the right) .25" down from the raw edge on one of the short ends of your parallelogram.

Loop your parallelogram and bring the short raw edges right sides together.

Locate the cutting lines on the other end. Stick a straight pin .25" down from the raw edge on the SECOND cutting line from the right.

Bring together the straight pins and pin the fabric together so you are matching the FIRST and the SECOND cutting lines.

This creates an offset like the photo above.

So you will have part of the short edges protruding on either edge. Pin along these short edges.

Stitch using a .25" seam allowance and press open. Your looped parallelogram will now look like this--mismatched a bit but the cutting lines meet. This is the beauty of this method! Because...

Now you simply start cutting along the cutting lines at one of the protruding edges and the magic happens!

Cut, cut, cut, cut...

...and you end up with ONE LONG STRIP of bias seam binding. Yeah! So great. Isn't that more interesting than the traditional method?

Now to make this double fold, fold in half lengthwise and press.

Then bring the long raw edges to the center fold (you can make one of these second folds a bit more shallow than the other if you want--as they do in the packaged variety, or bring both into the middle so the raw edges touch).

And press.

There you have it! One hundred twenty eight inches of beautiful bias tape binding, double-fold. Ready for your project.

(Chevron Chenille Blanket with Tubular Bias Tape Binding)


Clover said...

This is also called continuous bias tape. I was taught this by Deborah of Whipstitch Fabrics.

Mary Grace McNamara said...

Great tute! I've been using this method for years and did a tute myself quite some time ago which still gets lots of hits! Every quilter should know about this method, even if they don't use it! I still get the giggles whenever I make binding!


tobecontinued said...

Thanks! I think this will save me a ton of time- I am working on a "lovey" sized chenille blanket right now so perfect timing!

Emily said...

Woah. That is so cool! Can't wait to try it sometime!!

Unknown said...

WOW! That is fantastic. I usually hate making my own bias tape. It's a bit boring and I don't like the short stitches. This made me want to make bias tape!!!

Giliell said...

Hey, there are also bias tape makers, small gadgets that fold your tape while ironong. They come on different sizes and really save you time.

Vanessa said...

So cool! I definitely will have to try this method! Thanks for sharing!

Adele said...

Hey hun,

I featured this on my blog today, hope that's ok. Would love for you to check it out :D

- Adele @ Mammy Made

Shannon said...

You can also remove the blade from cheap box cutters and fold, help it through with a pin. Them iron or flat iron it as it comes out of the end. They come in different sizes.

Wendy M, Sarasota, FL said...

Math is not my strong suit, so when I saw this tutorial I was a little afraid, HOWEVER, it was so simple to follow and my bias tape turned out perfect! Thanks for teaching me a new skill!

Emily said...

I tried this tonight using a different tutorial but was totally confused by the cutting while rolling the loop step. You make it look easy though, and I will try again using your method. :)

norskdani said...

I'm in the midst of making two blankets based on your wonderful tutorials - one heirloom and one chevron. I had a question about your measurements for the bias tape, however. You said that 128 inches (which I've already made for one blanket) is enough to bind a 45" square, but it seems too short. Wouldn't I need 180" plus extra for the overlap where the ends meet? I haven't used this long a portion of bias tape before, and so I'm wondering if I'm missing something about the inherent stretch of bias tape. I'm currently considering making another 12" square as described in the link you posted to the charts. Thank you for sharing all this - I really love your work!

minibux said...

LOL. We know that. This was to show you how to make your own without purchasing other notions. But thanks!

Bekah said...

One 17 1/2 inch square was not enough binding to cover my last side. Just FYI. Had to do another 12 inch square.

Anonymous said...

First time I've tried Bias Tape and liked your tutorial. Just follow step by step... Thank you very easy to follow.

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