How to Make Bias Tape | DIY Bias Tape

how to make bias tape

Today, I’ll show you how to make bias tape. I don’t know about you, but I find the ready-made bias tape selection to be pretty boring and the texture a little too stiff for my taste. Plus, I swear I can never find the color and size I need when I need it! Lucky for us, we can make our own. Peek-a-Boo Pages also has a good tutorial on how to use bias tape.

Learning How to Make Bias Tape

Bias Tape Supplies

  • Fabric – I love quilting cotton for bias tape. I prefer to use solids and dainty designs that hide seams well, but I have also seen beautiful bias tapes made in bold stripes and prints, too!
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Quilting ruler
  • Bias tape maker in the correct size (I used a 3/4″ bias tape maker for this tutorial)
  • Iron and ironing board

Cutting the Fabric

The first step of how to make bias tape is to cut a square of fabric along the grainline. Make sure to press your fabric really well to get rid of any wrinkles, and then use your cutting mat, quilting ruler, and rotary cutter to get nice straight lines. Here’s a blog post on using a rotary cutter and mat to cut straight lines.

I cut my square 23″ x 23″, but you can do any size you like. The larger the square, the more bias tape you’ll be able to make.

Next, you’ll need to fold your fabric along the diagonal. Take your bottom right corner and bring it towards the top left corner to make a triangle.

If you have a small enough piece of fabric and a large enough quilting ruler, you can go ahead and start cutting your strips along the diagonal line. My ruler is not big enough, so I’m going to do one more fold. Take your bottom left point and fold it up to the top right point, and you’ll end up with a smaller triangle. I know it doesn’t show it in my pictures, but make sure your top edges are aligned.

You’re going to want to make sure you pay attention to your edges to get the longest strips of fabric you can from your piece. You’re going to cut parallel to the double fold end.

First, trim off a little bit of that double fold edge to start your strips. I usually cut off about 1/4″.

Now you can start cutting your bias strips. The width of your strips will depend on how wide you want your final size of bias tape to be. For single-fold bias tape, your strips will need to be twice as wide as the final size. Since I will be making 3/4″ single-fold bias tape, I will need my strips to be 1 1/2″ wide.

If you make 1/2″ bias tape, your strips will need to be 1″ wide, and so on and so forth. (For double-fold bias tape, your strips need to be four times wider than your final size. For example, for 1/2″ double-fold bias tape, you will need to start with strips that are 2″ wide.)

Start cutting your strips, making sure to get the correct measurement each time. How many strips you are able to cut depends on the size of your fabric square and how short you want your strips to get. You can keep cutting as long as you have the width, but I prefer to stop once my strips get less than 15″ long or so (because sewing together the tiny strips can get a little tedious).

Sewing the Strips

Now that you have all of our bias strips cut out, you’re ready to sew them together. It’s easy (for me at least) to get confused at what angles you should sew your strips together, so I often put my pieces next to each other at the angles at which they should connect to make sure I’m doing it right.

Align your diagonal edges right sides together and offset the corners a little to allow for the seam allowance. I use a 1/4″ seam allowance as I sew my strips together. You can pin or clip your edges if you’d like, but I prefer to place my strips while I’m at my sewing machine and find I usually don’t need to pin or clip.

As you’re sewing, you’re going to want to try your best to start and end where your strips meet. I often adjust my seam allowance if I don’t have my pieces aligned perfectly for exactly 1/4″.

Now you can start to sew all your bias strips together. You’ll end up with seams like this.

Keep going until you’ve sewn all your pieces together, and you’ll end up with a nice little pile like this.

Ironing Your Bias Tape

Now you get to fold and iron your tape, a process made much quicker with the use of a bias tape maker. Like I said above, the size of bias tape maker you need depends on the final size of bias tape you want. Just so you know, their sizes refer to single-fold bias tape. If you intend to make double-fold tape, you’ll end up with something half the size of your bias tape maker.

Before we pull out the bias tape maker, I like to iron my seams open to help the strip feed more easily through the bias tape maker in later steps.

I also prefer to trim the threads and overhanging edges of my seams so they don’t bug me as I’m using the bias tape maker. It just makes things a little neater.

Now that we’ve prepped our giant bias strip, we can start feeding it through the bias tape maker. You will insert one edge of the strip through the wider end of the maker, along the bottom. Sometimes it take a little finagling and wiggling, but eventually you’ll get a corner through and be able to start pulling the rest of it. Continue to make adjustments to the fabric until all the wrinkles are out and it pulls through cleanly.

Once you have it looking how you like, you can start ironing as you pull. Since I am right handed, I hold the iron in my right hand and pull the bias tape maker with my left and move them along at the same rate. As I run out of ironing board, I make a pile of finished tape to the right of the iron and keep moving along.

As you’re going, you may find the fabric shifting so the folded edges don’t exactly meet. When that happens, I push the bias tape maker back up to where the edges do meet, adjust the fabric a little, and then pull it back down until it looks right.

Once you’ve pulled all of your giant bias strip through the bias tape maker and ironed it, you’re almost done! To finish, I cut off the the diagonal edges on both ends so I have nice straight edges for when I start a project. If you’re making single fold bias tape, you are now done!

If you’re making double-fold bias tape, you have one final step. Fold your tape in half with the folded edges staying on the inside. Iron as you fold, being careful not to burn your fingers as you go. Once you’ve completed that, you’re all done!

I recommend taking a moment to admire your handiwork. I find making bias tape to be a very rewarding project. The dainty print I used for this tutorial makes it difficult to find my seam line, and I love it!

Storing Your Bias Tape

When I finish up a package of store-bought bias tape, I often keep the cardboard piece the tape came wrapped around so I can use it to store my homemade stuff. You can also cut your own small pieces of cardboard, or find whatever works for you. One time when I couldn’t find anything else, I even wrapped it around an old CD case. As you wrap, make sure not to pull it too tightly so you don’t stretch it.

Now I have my final product ready to go! Isn’t it beautiful?!

Other Sewing 101 Tutorials

We’d like to thank Shara for this excellent tutorial on how to make bias tape. This is an excellent way to make it out of custom fabric for your sewing projects. Before you leave, make sure to join our Facebook Group for help with sewing projects. Also, you might enjoy some of these other tutorials:

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