Bias Tape from a Fat Quarter

If you're making something this holiday season that requires bias tape or bias binding, I've got a nifty trick to share with you. You can make 5+ yards of continuous bias tape from a single fat quarter!

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I know...you're wondering why I would bother going to the trouble of making my own when it comes conveniently prepackaged at JoAnn's for the same price as a fat quarter without having to do all the work. There are two reasons I like to make my own. First, the prepackaged stuff has been chemically forced into unnatural stiffness. Maybe that's your thing, but I feel like when you're working on a project that needs bias tape to flow along the curves, it should, well, flow along the curves. Easily. Second, the prepackaged bias tape doesn't have a great selection of colors. One red, one blue, one pink, etc. Sometimes it looks best to customize your bias tape to your project. I'll admit to occasionally using the store-bought kind on the interior of garments and bags, but when the bias tape is going to be visible, I like to coordinate or match it to the project.

Let's begin with a fat quarter, which is approximately 18" x 22".

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Take one corner and fold it down to square off the fat quarter. Press a crease along that fold line with your fingers - no need to iron.

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Using a ruler and a rotary cutter, cut along the crease line.

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Take the triangle you just cut from the right side of the fat quarter and move it around to the left side as pictured below.

Place these pieces wrong sides together as shown, and sew along the edge using a .25" seam allowance and a short stitch length. We'll be cutting through this seam, so we want it to hold up well. I used a 1.5mm stitch length for mine.

Press the seam open.

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Using a clear ruler, mark lines along the fabric every 1.75". While I do own fabric marking pens, you'll see that I'm using a trusty old mechanical pencil. There's one more seam to press open before we finish with these lines and I don't want my iron to wipe them out...hence, the pencil.

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Now comes the awkward part. We'll fold our fabric and pin the two diagonal edges together. The fabric is going to bunch up big time, but it is my solemn promise to you that no one will die as a result of this. We'll begin with one section hanging off the edge of our fabric, and pin by matching the pencil lines together. When matching these, it's important to match where they meet up .25" in from the edge. If you match them up along the edge, they won't match up once they're sewn.

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When you're done pinning, it'll look roughly like this. Yes - it appears to be a hot mess. But it will be 5 yards of continuous bias tape when it grows up. Really.

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Sew along the pinned edge, taking care to keep the fabric smooth where you're sewing. Just push the bunchy bits off to the side and take your time.

Press the seam you just sewed open.

Starting on either side where that excess fabric is hanging off the edge, cut through one layer of fabric along your marked line.

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See? I told you it would be 5 continuous yards and NOT a hot mess!

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Now comes the pressing part. If you have a bias tape maker, congratulations! You are much fancier than I am. In case you aren't any fancier than me, here's how I press mine. First, I press the tape in half.

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Then, I press both raw edges into that center line I just pressed.

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As I go, I wind it around an index card or whatever's handy...in this case, a paint swatch.

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And that's it! 5 yards of continuous bias tape from one fat quarter!