Bias tape looks awesome and it really helps to finish off a project. It isn’t the most intuitive thing to sew though. Bias tape really isn’t that hard once you’ve done it a few times and it really is worth learning.
There are lots of ways to apply bias tape but I’m going to show you one that will get you consistent results. I sometimes skip it and apply it with a faster method that ends up not being faster when you have to go back to fix it. This method will work for everything from quilts to bags.
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- Unfinished Project
- Double Fold Bias Tape
- Sewing Machine
Attaching 2 Pieces of Bias Tape
Unless you’re binding a small project you’re probably going to need more than one length of bias tape. To attach 2 pieces of bias tape take the ends of each and put them right sides together.
Pin the square so the sides all stay down and sew a diagonal line across the fabric. I drew this line in blue in the picture. You can now cut the excess fabric off about ¼” from the sewing line. Flip the top fabric so it’s going straight from the first piece and fold them along the original pressed lines.
Starting the Bias Tape
Bias tape is usually folded so that one side is narrower than the other. Start with the narrow side. Place your bias tape on your project right sides together. Fold the top corner down 90° to meet the edge of the fabric and pin it in place.
Start sewing the bias tape where you just folded the corner down, don’t forget to back stitch. You will be sewing in the pressed line along the entire length of bias tape.
Setting Up Your Mitered Corners
Stop sewing when you are approximately the width of the seam allowance away from corner, then stop and take the piece off the sewing machine. Fold the bias tape back on itself to create a 90 degree angle and start sewing that same seam allowance width from corner going down the other side.
Repeat this all the way around your project. When you get back to where you started overlap the original piece by a few inches. Cut the extra bias tape.
Sewing It To The Other Side
Some people put away the sewing machine at this point and hand sew the rest of the way. To do this, just fold the bias tape over the edge and hand sew it down.
In my world if I am hand sewing, something has gone terribly wrong. I do not have the patience required to hand sew all the way around a handkerchief much less a quilt. I use the sewing machine for the entire process.
To use the sewing machine just fold the bias tape over the edge of the fabric so raw edge of bias tape and the raw edge of your project are folded inside the bias tape and sew it down. This is normally done with a straight stitch about 1/8” from the fold on the bias tape.
You can also get fancy and use one of the other stitches on your sewing machine. This can look really cool but it is much harder to get perfect. I don’t mind if it’s not perfect so I used it for this project.Technically you should pin the bias tape all the way around your project. Once you’ve been doing it for awhile you may be able to skip this step. I still pin like crazy for curves and slippery fabric.
Finishing The Mitered Corners
I like to set up all of the corners before I start sewing so I can just keep going but you can do it either way.
Holding the side of the project with the bias tape sewn to it, fold the bias tape at a 90° angle and hold your finger at the corner. Fold the bias tape over the corner and your finger to form mitered corner.
For the back, fold one side of the bias tape over the edge of the fabric along the fold lines. Then fold the other over the first layer.
When sewing around the project, sew up to the corner then with your needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric so you are pointed in the right direction, and lower the pressure foot. You are ready to sew the next side.