Sunday, July 8, 2012

{Sewlebrity Crush} Continuing Bias Tape from Love it Sew Much

 I am sew excited to introduce my Sewlebrity Crush... 
Julie from Love it Sew Much!
  In my eyes, Julie is a "Sewlebrity," and here's why I've got a "Crush" on her!
I met Julie from a post I did about my college major. Turns out, she had the same major at the same college! So we have a lot in common. Julie has some awesome projects and practical tips, and I'm so delighted to have her posting here in this series!
Today, she is showing us how to make continuing bias tape. AWESOME!
Here are a few reasons why I have "fallen in love" with Julie's blog.
Julie, thanks for being my Sewlebrity Crush. You rock!
{To see the amazing line up of my other crushes, go here}
Now here she is, with her fabulous tutorial!
I am SEW excited to be guest posting here at Family Ever After. I met Rachel through her blog and hope to meet her in person one day! I am also honored to be considered a "Sewlebrity" for today!

Small story: One day, I was scrolling through her darling blog and saw a post that drew me in BIG TIME. She was talking about a professor she had at BYU and showed an article that had been printed in BYU's alumni magazine. I had just read that same article - that professor had been mine as well! Small world. Turns out we had the same major (Clothing & Textiles/ Fashion Design) but I graduated during the last year of the old program. They revamped the whole thing (even the title of the major, I think) and Rachel came along a few years later when the program had changed a bit. Dr. Burnham was our shared "claim to fame".

I am thrilled to share with you one of the most brilliant sewing tips I have ever discovered in my sewing years. I use it quite often, to this very day.

How to Make Continuous Bias Strips
My mother had this really cool quilting book that I used to read, a long time ago. I believe it was called "Around the Block...Quilt Smart workshop" (something like that...sorry I don't know exactly - it had been a while since I had it). Inside were these great instructions for how to make your own long Continuous Bias Strips, in any size you need! And not just the regular way, where you cut individual bias strips and just piece then together one by one. (That way still works, especially if you do not have a big piece of yardage and you need to piece scraps together). But when I have a large amount I need to make, this method is AWESOME!

First, you need to figure out the total amount of bias strip (for binding or self-piping or whatever) needed for your project.

Example: I am making a Full/ Double size comforter. The standard measurement for this is 84" x 90". The client wants me to self-pipe the edge with a contrasting fabric. I need a continuous bias strip for this. So I add the perimeter together (yes, this does take a little math, but not too difficult, I promise. Bear with me - it's worth it!)

84" + 90" + 84" + 90" = 348"

Then multiply 348 by how many inches wide you want your final Bias Strip to be. (Like 2" or 2.5" or 3" or whatever). I am using a 12/32" (basically 3/8") size cord filler, so 2" wide bias will be just perfect.

348" x 2" = 696. Do all this on your calculator, because the next step needs it.

Take 696, then find the square root of it. Hit the square root button. Voila! Your magic number is 26.38. Round up to 27.

27" is the size of square you need to cut!

Measure over 27" across, and then up your fabric edge.

Fold your fabric over at those markings, making a perfect square.

Trace around the square and check that it is 27" each side. (It really is a perfect square, but my pic angle is just ignore that.)

Cut out your square. That is all you will need.

Fold the square in half again. Cut in half on the diagonal.

Turn the top piece over and face right sides together, line up your straight (non-bias) edges as shown, and stitch across the top.

After stitching, press the seam open.

Now draw your strip widths out on the fabric, as shown. Parallel to the bias edge. Remember I needed a 2" wide bias strip, so I used my 2" wide ruler (which is one of my favorite rulers, btw!) to space my lines.

It's kind of light in the pictures, but here are the lines all drawn out.

Here's a closer view of the drawn lines, spaced 2" apart. You can see Seam 1, too.

Sometimes the lines do not end up even at the top (this is why we round up our final number). You will still end up with the right amount of length.

Just cut that extra part off - to make it all even again.

Here is probably the trickiest part: Match the shorter sides (marked Seam 2) and line them up to make the seam that will make the lines continuous, BUT offset the drawn lines. Shift them to the left, as the arrows show. Pin in place.

Here is the right side, offset and pinned.

Here is the left side, offset and pinned.

In between the offset pinned marks, line up the the drawn lines and pin them, so that when sewn, it will match right up.

Stitch Seam 2 together, as shown.

It will make an odd-shaped tube, and the seams will cross. You can press it here but my chalk lines would fade so I just finger-press it so as not to lose the markings.

Turn the tube inside out. You will see the offset sides hanging off each end.

Here is another view showing where the seams cross. (Just so you know you did it right). And the beautiful thing is...your drawn lines are all continuous now!

Here is a copy of the diagram from the book.

At one of the hanging off ends, start cutting on the lines.

You will keep cutting in a spiral, all the way until the tube ends.

I now have the 348" bias strip that will complete my comforter, with no extra piecing to do!

Press open some of those unruly seams that did not keep their press.

Now you can use this bias in any way you want! Since I am self-piping a comforter for this particular red, I will briefly show you how that works!
I usually use a 12"/32" (basically 3/8") size cord filler that I keep on hand. It's a perfect size for edging comforters, pillows, etc. It is great because I have a continuous piece of that to just line up with my bias strip!

Just center your cord filler on the bias strip, then take it to the machine.

Stitch the edge in place, to form a lip. Use your zipper foot to get close to the cord filler.

Now I can pipe the edges of the comforter with this continuous piece!

Here is another use for this method of making your own Bias Strips!
You can make this stuff! Just like you buy in the fabric store, but you can make it to match and coordinate with the project you are working on! Just do the math like we did up above, inserting your desired measurements to get the size you want.

Then use a Bias Tape Maker. These are in various sizes.

I will use the 1" single-fold/ 1/2" double fold size. Shown is the back end, where we feed our bias strip.

Feed it in this end, wrong side up.

Pull it through - see how the tool just bends your fabric in the right place?

Press it in place, so that your edges are touching in the center.

Continue pressing as you pull it though evenly.

Then press one more time, folding it again, in the center. Now you have a double-fold!

Awesome right? What kind of possibilities do you have now? To add personality to all kind of projects? Exciting, huh?

Like this for example:
Make bias out of ANY fabric! You can use it for piping with a cord filler OR double-fold it to bind and edge!

Bias tape is very useful in binding curved edges because the bias LOVES to hug those curves as you sew it on!
This is great to use on any curved area where you need to finish the edge: armholes, necklines, etc.
See? Cute as cute!

And the backside looks as good as the front!

How can you use Bias Strips in your sewing projects?
Sincerely, Julie
(LoveItSewMuch ~ Studio Julie Snow)

Sewlebrity Crush is sponsored by the wonderful Fat Quarter Shop.
Stay tuned for a big giveaway on August 1! 


  1. This is amazing! I get so annoyed piecing my bias tape, and I never have enough fabric to make really long strips. I have a twin and double quilt project coming up, and you bet I'll be following these awesome instructions! Thank you!

  2. I've seen this method before but you provide the math formula and thank you so much for that! This will be very handy :o)

  3. I am really wanting to make a quilt, and when I finally get to it, this will be so helpful!

  4. Thanks again for inviting me Rach!

  5. Thanks for such an awesome explanation!


Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!
♥Rach H