Thursday, 5 January 2012

Making your own Bias Binding TUTORIAL

Sewing basics are really expensive in Berlin, and where you would not even think about the cost of a zip or thread in SA, here it becomes part of your costing.  The same is true of bias binding.  So when 'Sis'** - my nickname for my Sister - told me about making my own bias binding, and then followed up by sending me 2 of the tape makers... I was over the moon.

** in South African colloquialism 'sis' is an expression of distaste or a reaction to something unpleasant - a bit of a joke from our younger days when the 4 year age gap seemed like too big a gap to bridge.
It comes from the Afrikaans 'sies' which is itself not a 'proper' word, but has the same meaning.

Back to the bias binding...

It is sooooo simple, and means you never have to use plain white binding again ;)

You will need a bias tape maker (Prym and Clover make great ones.  The links are purely to show you what they look like, you can find them on and  These come in various sizes - the 18mm and 25mm being the most commonly used ones.
From left to right: 12mm, 18mm, 25mm, 50mm

Okay... first step - cut your strip on the bias.  This means at a 45 degree to the grainline.  This is made simple with a rotary board with the necessary markings - usually sold for patchwork.

Then place this 45 degree line along one of the ruled lines on the mat & cut each strip the correct measurement as per the guide in the packaging.

You will need to cut quite a few strips (depending on how many meters you need for your project), and then join them on the diagonal - as seen in the next few images. 

Iron open the joins

Feed the point through the bias maker as shown

Now start ironing as you hold the length still to run through the bias maker quite taut.  Hold the iron with the nose just off the ironing board, and the back pressing down - with nose of iron towards the bias maker.  This will make it easier to ensure the bias is even.
Use the steam function of your iron & ensure the iron is set to the correct temperature for the fabric you are using.

It is a good idea to pre wash the fabric to test for colour fastness - the last thing you want is the colour from your binding running onto your finished piece during its first wash!

And there you go... 5m of binding in 15minutes, at a fraction of the cost!
And isn't it pretty?!

Buy the bias maker here from the UK

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