Tuesday Tip – Making Bias Binding Part 2

First I need to apologize for the quality of the photos. I thought if I used a plaid fabric, it would be easier for you to see what was bias and what was straight of grain. This was a rather small woven plaid, and unfortunately, digital cameras don’t like them very much and make them come out looking like moire instead of plaid. Hopefully you can get the idea, though.

Once you’ve determined how big a piece of fabric you need, we’ll fold it so it’s easy to cut. First press it to remove the fold that’s formed when the fabric is doubled on the bolt. Then re-fold, lining up the selvages so the two layers of fabric lay smooth and flat with no puckers. The cut edges will probably NOT be even – don’t worry about that, just trim them off so they are even and perpendicular to the selvages. You DON’T really have to start with a square of fabric (it can be a rectangle), but you DO want the sides to be at a 90 degree angle to the selvages.

CORRECTION – AAAACCCCKKKK! I left a step out. You only fold selvage to selvage to trim the cut edges perpendicular to the fold/selvage. Then you need to unfold again before the next step!!! I had my photos correct, but left out that sentence in my written instructions.

AT THIS POINT YOU SHOULD ONLY BE WORKING WITH A SINGLE LAYER OF FABRIC!!! Now take the top right corner and bring it down and to the left, aligning the edges along the bottom. This should give you a nice 45 degree angle (see how it matches up with the 45 degree angle mark on my mat?).

Then bring the bottom right corner up and to the left along the 45 degree fold you just made.

It’s still too big to cut comfortably, so bring that bottom right fold up over itself:

And the extra little ‘flappy thing’ at the top gets folded also:

You can fold again if needed to have a nice neat package. Basically you just need to get it small enough to fit the size ruler you’re going to use.

I’ve now rotated the package 45 degrees clockwise, this will make it easier for me to cut.

Then I trim off the fold:

And start cutting my 2-1/2″ binding strips:

And voila – perfect bias binding strips!

I used to use the ‘tube’ method where you sewed one long seam to make a tube, then marked and cut the tube into a continuous piece of bias binding. I was never all that happy with that method – seems like I had to do a lot of ‘fiddling’ to make it come out right. So now I prefer this way. How do you like to make bias binding?

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Tuesday Tip – Making Bias Binding

Becky asked how to make bias binding. This will be more of a tutorial than a tip, so I’ll break it up into several posts over the next few days.

The first step is to determine how much binding to make, and what size square of fabric you will need to start with.

To determine the perimeter of your quilt, add the length plus width in inches and multiply by 2. Then add about 12 inches.

formula:     (L + W) x 2 = perimeter

example:    (90 + 108) x 2 = 396 inches + 12 = 408 inches

This means you will need to make 408 inches of binding to go all the way around your quilt and have enough to join the ends. Now multiply that number by the WIDTH of your binding strips – most people cut a double fold binding at 2-1/2″ wide.

408 x 2.5 = 1020

Finally, take the square root of that result to know the size of the fabric square you will need to start with. (I don’t know how to type a square root symbol, so just pretend that I did, okay???)

Square root of 1015 = 31.94

I prefer to have a little extra than not enough, so I would start with a piece of fabric about 33 – 34 inches square.

Whew!! Is your head spinning yet from all the math??? Do we need something to clear our heads?? How about a look at some lovely new wide backing fabrics??

See the pretty colors?

Can’t you feel how soft they are?

There now, don’t you feel better? There’s nothing like a fabric fix to make everything okay……

Stay tuned – next installment will be how to easily cut the strips on the bias.

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