Learn to Sew: How to Make Bias Tape and Piping

Hi, I’m Sarah with the Hobby Lobby Creative
Studio. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “cutting
on the bias” used in the sewing world and maybe you didn’t quite understand what that
meant. Well, today I’m here to help explain! I’ll be showing you the ins and outs of cutting
fabric on the bias. Then I’ll even show you how to use that knowledge to make your own
custom bias tape and piping. Let me begin by explaining what it means to
“cut on the bias”. Cutting your fabric “on the bias” means you
are cutting it at a 45 degree angle where your fabric is most stretchy.
You can see here on my fabric that when I try to stretch it just anywhere, it doesn’t
have much give to it, but, when I try at this 45 degree angle, it does! You can use this fabric cut on the 45 degree
angle to make bias tape. So what is bias tape, and why would you use it? I’m glad you asked!
Bias tape is a narrow piece of fabric cut on the bias and folded so it can be used as
a binding, trim or for decoration. You would typically use bias tape in place
of a normal hem around anything with a curve, such as the neckline or arm holes on a garment.
Because bias tape stretches, it works around curves and corners smoothly, giving your project
a professional look, unlike normal hems that tend to bunch or pull around curved areas. Bias tape also makes a wonderful edging, or
binding, for multiple layers of fabric like on a quilt or blanket.
Now let’s go over the different kinds of bias tape.
To start, there are two kinds of bias tape: single-fold and double-fold. You’ll also notice that a double-fold is just
like a single-fold except it’s been folded in half.
Now I’ll show you how to calculate the width you need to cut your fabric so you get the
correct size of bias tape. All it takes is a little simple multiplication!
To get your starting width for single fold bias tape you just multiply the final width
you want to make by 2. For the double fold you would just multiply
the final width you want to make by 4. Simple as that!
Just to help you understand, I’m going to go through the steps to make 1 inch single
fold bias tape… so first we need to determine our starting fabric width. I want my finished single-fold size to be
1 inch, so I’ll just multiply that by two, giving me a starting size of 2 inches.
Now that we have that measurement, what we’re going to do next is find and cut along the
bias of our fabric. Let me should you an easy way to do that.
Iron your fabric and lay it out flat. Bring the top left corner down so that it
meets the bottom edge and forms a triangle. Trim off the excess fabric on this side so
all you’re left with is a triangle shape. Now fold the triangle corner to corner again,
this will just make it easier and quicker when cutting your strips. Then rotate your fabric like this.
You’ll need to also go ahead and trim off your folds from this outer edge, so just trim
about an eighth or a quarter inch here, just enough to cut only the folds off.
Now flip your fabric over, Then you can just use the markings on your grid ruler to measure
2 inches and cut. Continue cutting strips by measuring two inches from the previous
cut until you’ve cut almost all of the fabric. I usually stop about here because the strips
cut from this inner corner are really too small to use for bias tape. So just save that
corner for a rainy day project! Okay, so once you have all your strips cut,
you’re ready to connect them together! Just a quick tip: when laying them out, it’s
a good idea to vary the lengths of your strips. Don’t do all the long ones, then all the short
ones. This is so you don’t end up with an area that has a bunch of seams close together
on your project. So, let’s get started!
If needed, begin by repressing all your pieces so they lay nice and flat for this next part. Once that’s done you’ll begin by laying your
pieces together front sides facing inward, crossing over one another, like this. If you have a lined cutting mat, like I do,
use the lines in the mat to help line up your strips nice and straight.
We’re going to be sewing across diagonally from this top corner to this bottom corner,
so we need to pin it in place also going diagonally but in the opposite direction that you’ll
be sewing. Doing it this way allows the fabric to fold
correctly when the pieces are sewn together. With your machine set to a straight stitch,
sew from corner to corner. There is no need to back stitch these pieces
beacuse we want to keep it from getting too bulky and the stitches will be secured when
we sew it into our our project. Now that they are sewn together, trim off
the excess fabric at the seam leaving about 1/8 of an inch and snip off the little extra
pieces on the sides to get rid of extra bulk. Go ahead and sew all of your bias strips together
using this same method until you have a piece long enough for your project.
Now just press all of your seams open and give the strips a good press as well and we’re
all prepped for the next step! So now that all your strips are sewn together,
you’re ready for what I consider the fun part! This little tool is called a bias tape maker
and will help you quickly and easily fold your strips into single fold bias tape!
Because I’ve cut my strips for 1 inch single-fold, I have the bias tape maker for that size. If you are making a size other than 1″ single-fold,
we do carry other sizes of these tools! Keep in mind that the size indicated on the
packaging for these is for single-fold bias tape, but just one additional fold turns it
into double-fold bias tape! You’ll start by inserting the end of one of
your strips into the bias tape maker. If you’re having trouble getting the fabric to push
through, just use a seam ripper or needle to pull it out about an inch and a half.
Now just start pressing the folds down as the fabric comes through the tool. Move along
about an inch at a time until you’ve done the entire strip.
And now you have a custom one inch, single-fold bias tape! Although single-fold can be useful
as trim or decoration, double-fold is actually more popular because you can use it for so
many more projects like binding on a quilt or blanket, finishing out the neckline of
a dress and more! So let’s take our single-fold one inch bias
tape and turn it into a half-inch double-fold bias tape. This part is so simple!
All you need to do is just fold your bias tape in half.
But I have an excellent tip for you, fold it so that the front side is slightly shorter
than the back side as you’re pressing it into place.
Doing this ensures that when you use it as edging on a project that every stitch goes
through and catches that back side of the bias tape!
If the tape had been folded to where the front and back are the same size, many times you’ll
have some stitches that miss catching on the back side of the bias tape, especially if
you’re sewing multiple layers together. Just don’t forget to add it to your project
with the shorter side towards the front. Are you so excited?! Making your own bias
tape really is so easy and just customizes your project that much more! Now, remember back at the beginning when I
told you I’d also show you how to make custom piping? Well, we’re ready to do that now!
Piping is great because it can be used in making clothing, in upholstery or to give
a pillow that extra-professional touch. First, I’ll show you an easy way to find the
width you need to cut your bias strips based on the size of cording you’ll be using.
Wrap a small piece of scrap material around your cording. Keeping it wrapped tightly,
measure out your seam allowance. For this, I’ll just use half an inch. Make a small cut
through both sides of the fabric right at that half inch mark. Now, unwrap the cording and lay the piece
of fabric out flat. Measure the width between your small cuts. Mine is measuring one and
three-quarter inches, so that is how wide I need to cut my bias strips.
Now, I’ve already cut my strips to one and three quarters inches, I’ve sewn them together
but instead of ironing it into bias tape, we’re going to add some cording to make piping!
What we’re going to do here is just wrap our bias strip around the cording until the two
edges match up. Now clip it together, placing the clips over the cording so it doesn’t move. You’ll also notice I am placing the clips
over the cording because they have this little notch that holds the cording nice and flat
as I sew. Now that it’s all clipped, are you ready to
start sewing!? For this we’ll need to use a zipper foot,
so go ahead and swap that out now and also make sure that the needle is aligned with
the left side of the foot. Using a zipper foot will allow us to sew right
up next to our cording. You can also get a piping foot for your sewing
machine made specifically for this process. A piping foot makes it super easy… but…
since most machines already come with a zipper foot I’ll show you how to use it.
Sew your piping together keeping your stitches just to the right of the cord. It doesn’t
have to be too snug up against it at this point because typically you’ll be putting
another line of stitches here when you sew the finished piping into your project.
Once you’ve sewn the full length of the cord, just trim off any excess and it’s ready for
your next piping project! Well guys, that’s all for today. Thanks for
watching and be sure to check out our other sewing videos to choose a project where you
can add your own, handmade bias tape or piping. Have fun and be sure to join me again next
time here at the Hobby Lobby Creative Studio.

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