Posts > How To > June 7, 2011

How to attach bias binding

Knowing how to attach bias binding is such a useful technique and gives a really decorative and professional finish to lots of simple craft projects. This kind of binding is sometimes used to finish the seam allowance of some really bulky, easily frayed, fabrics such as towelling.

It does take a bit of time and patience but it is definitely worth the effort. The hand finishing in this method is very therapeutic after a long hectic day and the results make it a double reward.

Firstly, what does bias mean?

What does bias mean?

Bias is the diagonal direction across woven fabric at a 45 degree angle to the warp and weft threads (see diagram)

Warp – these are the long threads in woven fabric that run the length of the fabric parallel with selvedge. Weft-the shorter threads that run side to side across the width of woven fabric at right angles to the selvedge. The Selvedge is the outer edge of woven fabric that are often more tightly woven and might even feature some manufacturers info and colour printing tests. The selvedge is usually cut off and discarded)

So bias binding is a strip of fabric cut on the bias and used to bind a cut edge.

Fabric cut on the bias stretches slightly and although this means that it needs to be handled carefully-it also means that it can bind curved or shaped edges without pleating.

Bias binding is always manufactured with it’s two long cut edges folded and pressed under. It is usually made in two widths -traditionally1 inch and ½ inch but now that we are metric it is supplied in 12mm and 25 mm. (Yes the UK went metric in 1965 (a good year) so it’s been 45+ years!!)

For a long time bias binding has only been available in plain colours, and if you wanted something a little bit more exciting or absolutely co-ordinating to your garment fabric,-you had to cut your own-(nightmare! but we will show you one day very soon).

Now however, bias binding is starting to be supplied in patterns such as gingham or spots as well as floral prints (and yes!! the-stitchery has got hold of some and it’s gorgeous-blink and you’ll miss it!!

To attach bias binding

Open out the fold along one edge of the binding and place it right sides together on the edge to be bound with the raw edges matching.

open out the fold

Pin in place at right angles (and tack if you need to). Be careful not to stretch either edge

pin in place

Machine straight stitch along the fold line removing the pins as you go.

machine stitch along the fold

Fold the binding around the raw edge to the wrong side of the fabric.

If you don’t want the binding to show on the right side (for example on the hem of a skirt) – fold the binding back on the stitching line effectively creating a narrow facing.

Fold binding to wrong side

Press and pin.

Press and pin

If you want a narrow decorative border fold on the centre of the binding and bring an equal width of binding around to the wrong side. The last fold on the long edge remains folded under.

Fold on the centre of the binding

Stretch the bias binding around outward curves or ease it to fit an inward curve and pin into place. Tacking a curved edge may well be advisable.

To complete this binding technique by machine, stitch close to the folded edge on the wrong side removing pins as you work. Be careful to ensure that your stitching is in the same place on the first side of the binding.

Stitch close to the folded edge on the wrong side

If you want a controlled hand finish – for example on a curved edge-or you don’t want a top-stitched look, it might pay to complete this technique by hand. To do this, slipstitch the folded edge of the binding on the wrong side and pick up every machine stitch from the first row of machining that you used to join the bias binding. This keeps your hand-stitching very neat and very precise and gives your work an couturier level finish.

slipstitch the folded edge of the binding on the wrong side

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