Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bias Tape from a Fat Quarter

There are so many resources for how to make bias tape, you could read for hours.

But for today I just need a little bias binding for a table runner. It's really simple or so they say - some how every once in a while I manage to screw up it up and end up with NOT bias - bias tape/binding. So I am showing how I keep from making that mistake.
For a small project one fat quarter will make 110 inches of 2.5" wide bias binding or tape. One good thing about doing this small of a bias is it's good practice and then when your good at it move on to the bigger squares or some yardage.
I start with 1 fat quarter (about 22" x 18"), iron it well. Trim off the selvage and fold up one corner to help create a 18" x 18" square. Iron a crease in the diagonal fold and trim away the excess creating a square. Open up the square and cut on the fold to make two halves of a square, or two triangles. This cut is made on the 'bias' of the fabric.

Here's where I usually get confused, so I found the dot labels to be very helpful. I place a dot on each long edge of the triangles (diagonal of the square) and mark the grain of the fabric. You can see here I made a '+' to show which way the threads are running on the fabric.

Now moving the fabric gently make a parallelogram by aligning the opposite ends of the triangles placing the dots away from each other. Basically you pick up one triangle and move it to the end of the other one. Then pin this new center together, when you pick this up to take to the sewing machine you will notice the dots are now on top of each other but facing away. (see the pic above) Sew the edge together.

Next iron this seam open.
I have a long quilting ruler I use next and a wash away quilting marker (I have used a pencil before), I mark the 2.5" wide strips. I use the dots again to help make sure I mark the correct edge. You want to make sure you are marking on the bias, not the strait of grain! I place the ruler down and look to make sure the '+' now looks like an 'x' between the line and edge of fabric. I draw all the way from on end to the other and continue on until I have marked all of the fabric.
Using the lines marked I can now pin the edges together to create the next seam for the continuous bias.

I have to remind myself that I need to leave one line away from where I start pinning otherwise its not continuous but just loops of bias. So just off set it one strip away as in the picture.

Pin and check to make sure the lines are matching up. I pin in the fabric at 1/4" and see if it matches on the other side

A little fabric juggling at the sewing machine - this is where pinning well is a great help! Then press the seam open and grab some scissors.

Starting at the offset strip I cut and cut until I get to the end.

I like to use 3" x 5" index cards and as I iron the bias in half I roll it on the index card, then label the width and length.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I am working on a small project today and only needed a fat quarter's worth of binding. Great tutorial.

  2. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing.


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