What is the first thing that springs to your mind when you hear the words “bias tape”? It’s possible that if you’re new to quilting, the first definition that springs to mind is one that implies a biassed adhesive. When you go to your neighbourhood fabric store, though, and look at the displays featuring bias tape, you’ll see that the bias tape used in quilting has nothing to do with either of those words. You’ll realise this very soon.
The cut of the fabric is referred to as the bias. It is cut on the diagonal, which gives the strips a little bit more elasticity than they would otherwise have. Due of its increased flexibility, the tape is able to properly edge even curved corners around the edges of your quilt. Because this bias strip is what binds your quilt layers together, the term “tape” is appropriate to refer to it.
The width of the bias tape that is sold in packets might vary. When you stitch the tape onto your quilt, the long sides of the fabric strips have been folded and pressed to the back side so that you will have neat edges when you sew them together. The bias tape needs to be centred around the edge of your quilt, and stitches need to be used to secure it. Before you become acclimated to them, corners can be a little bit challenging. Do not, however, let this dissuade you from attempting to use bias tape, as putting bias tape to the corners of a quilt is quite similar to wrapping a present with paper.
The fact that you are restricted to the colours and designs that are available at the fabric store is the most significant disadvantage of purchasing bias tape. You can decide that the bias tape should be made out of one of the fabrics that you used for the quilt top. You’ll be happy to know that you can actually make your own. You can either purchase one of the many tools that are available on the market to assist you with the operation, or you can construct your own bias tape using the same quilting supplies that you would normally use.
First, you need to know how much bias tape you need. To do this, simply add together the lengths of all sides of your quilt. A 36 inch square lap quilt would require 36 + 36 + 36+ 36 (144 inches) of binding. A quilt that is 80 inches x 60 inches would need 80 + 80 + 60 + 60. You get the idea. Add extra to the binding. Never make just enough, because in the end, you will have a shortage due to corner tucking. For safe measure, add another 24 inches to accommodate trimming and such.
You also need to determine how wide you want your strip to be. If you want it to be a half-inch edging, you should cut strips 2 inches wide. After you have pressed your fabric, smooth it out , right side up on flat, heat-safe surface. Fold one corner of the fabric back diagonally, bringing the selvedge to lie diagonally across the fabric. Press the fabric to hold it in place.
From the fold, measure the desired width for your strips. Mark where you will need to cut with a fabric pen or pencil. Use a ruler to give you a nice, straight line on which to cut. Move your folded fabric to your cutting area and slice through the marked lines. That’s all there is to it.
You will need to stitch the strips together to create one long binding strip. Cut the angled corners off each strip to leave straight ends. Stitch the strips together end to end to make your bias tape. Create the clean edges by folding the sides of the tape toward the center and pressing in place. Press on edge to the center of the fabric strip and the other edge almost to the center. The little gap between the two folds will help the tape lie flatter when you sew it onto the sides of your quilt.
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