Tuesday, 14 July 2015

....homemade bias binding

In preparation for making my walkaway dress I have given myself the task of using homemade bias binding.  I have researched this and it seems pretty simple provided you have the correct kit.  I brought a package on e-bay that contains 4 different sizes of guides, an awl (a pointy tool to help the process get started) and a special foot for my sewing machine that helps the bias to be attached more easily (so far untried)

Preparing to make bias binding

When making bias binding you need to cut strips of fabric across the grain of the fabric so the selvage edges are top and bottom and you are cutting from corner to corner across  the fabric.  When it is cut this way it is "stretchy" and has more give so that it can go round corners like necks and armholes easily.

The strips need to about twice the size you want your binding to be, eg if you want 1/2 inch binding you cut a strip about 1 inch wide, when it is fed through the guide you will get a 1/4 inch fold on either side and a face of 1/2 inch.

There are two methods that I have found, the strip method where you cut a square of fabric, draw diagonal lines across at your chosen width, you cut the strips and then sew the ends together to create a continuous ribbon of fabric.  This is then fed into the guide and very importantly ironed to keep the folds in place.  The thing to be aware of is that the smaller the piece of fabric the more joins you have in your binding.  I found this on Pinterest that illustrates this method.

The second method is the continuous strip method that involves cutting a square into two triangles sewing them up to to make a parallelogram, marking up your strips across the bias, sewing the whole thing together but lining up the bottom of the first strip with the top of the second strip.  I don't know how but it works but you get a long strip of fabric ready to feed into your guide.

I watched a couple of you tube videos and then found  this illustration on Pinterest which was very helpful.  There is a wealth of tutorials and guides on this subject as it the method used by quilters to finish the edges off their quilts.

Creating Continuous Bias

My top tips for making bias binding

  • Make a small investment and buy the necessary kit, you can make it without but it is hard work 

  • Have a practice first on a  spare piece of fabric so that you are confident in what you are doing

  • Spray starch your fabric once you have cut the square out, it will help the binding to keep it's shape

  • Iron like a mad thing

  • Make sure you work on the bias and not across or you will just end up feeding the bin! yes I did bodge it up

It is time consuming but I am hoping to reap the rewards when I put the finishing touches to my walkaway dress.

What do you think? would you make your own or grab a pack of ready made?


  1. I can understand why you would make it yourself (even though it is time consuming). The benefit is that you get it in the colour and fabric you want it to be in. Is there a wide variety of bias bindings available in the UK? It seems that our choices have become more and more limited here. I look forward to seeing the photos of your finished garment.

  2. Hi Sandra D, I thought it would give a better look to the dress when it is finished, I have used a cotton lawn and the shop made bias that I had found looked a bit heavy against it. There is a limited colour palette available so I would have had to go for a contrast colour rather than trying to get a match and I hadn't found anything that I was happy with. Also it is a new skill and I like learning.

  3. The series of The Great British Sewing Bee that this dress appears in has just been shown in Australia. It has peaked my interest in this dress.

  4. Sandra D I don't know how they do it in the time! I am hoping to put up a post on my own efforts this week, things did not go well :(