Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Continuous Biased Binding Tutorial

Rating: Intermediate

Have you ever wondered how to make biased binding without having to cut your fabric into a square or not waste good fabric? Or do they not have a very good selection at the store & would rather make your own? These directions will walk you through step by step how to make your own.
These directions can be used for single or double fold biased binding. A little tweaking of the math is all that is needed.

In this tutorial I am making double fold biased binding. My desired finished width (in inches) is ¼ inch. To determine my cutting width for double fold biased binding I need to take the desired finished width times 4 plus 1/8 inch to make up for the folds. (Finished width X 4 + 1/8”= cutting width) or (¼” X 4 + 1/8”= 1 1/8”) I will cut my strips 1 1/8 inch wide. If you are making single fold biased binding your formula will be (finished width X 2 + 1/8”= cutting width).

The next thing I need to figure out is how much of the biased binding I will need for my project. I measured the armholes, neck line, back & bottom edging to find I need a total of 176 inches of binding.

The last part of the math you need to figure out is how much yardage of fabric you will need. First, I know that normal fabric width is between 40 inches to 42 inches. Adjust this measurement to the width of your fabric. I will use the 40 inches to be conservative, I’d rather have more than enough then not enough. Take 40 inches & multiply it out until you get a number that is more than the total length of binding that you’ll need. For mine it took 5 times. (40” X 5= 200” more than the 176” then I need (4 wasn’t enough)). I then take my cutting width and multiply it by the number I just figured out. (1 1/8” X 5= 5.625”) I will need about 6 inches of a 40” wide cut of fabric. I decided to use ¼ yard of fabric which is 9 inches tall for my biased binding.

Phew! Did you get through all that? Now on to the fabric…

Fold down the right-hand corner to create a triangle of fabric with the long edge on the biased.
Finger press & cut along the press.
Take this triangle & put it on the left hand side, selvage to selvage.

Now you have a parallelogram.

Fold the triangle back over the new side, selvage to selvage, pin in place & sew. It doesn’t matter what kind of seam allowance you use, I always try to sew well inside the selvage so I can cut it off because it can cause the fabric to pull & pucker funny.

Trim to ¼ inch & iron the seam open.

On the wrong side of the fabric draw a ¼ inch line along the top & bottom. I use a mechanical pencil. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as it doesn’t bleed through the fabric. This will be a future sewing line & will not be seen.

On the wrong side of the fabric draw your cutting width. For mine I draw 1 1/8 inch wide all the way along on the diagonal beginning at the right side. This is the cutting line & won’t be seen so you can use anything to draw the lines as long as it doesn’t bleed through. Note how the diagonal line & top straight line form a sort of X.

This part is important! At the left side, where your triangle is sewn on you will begin numbering. Along the bottom at each X pencil intersection mark visually or physically (0, 1, 2, 3, 4…). Along the top mark each X with (1,2,3,4…). The top edge doesn’t have a zero.

Fold the fabric right sides together. Place a pin through the x at number 1 on the top edge, find number 1 on the bottom edge & poke the pin through the X at number 1. Make sure you pin through each X matching number for number all along the edges. Zero will not be matched with anything, you will leave it free & it will create a ‘tail’.

When you are done pinning you should now have a tube with the pins spiraling around & it will look something like this… Note how each end has a ‘tail’, which is what you want.

Beginning at one end, sew along the ¼ inch line you drew along the top & bottom & where it is now pinned. You will have to pull & tug a little to manipulate it so you don’t accidentally sew anything else.

You now have a sewn spiral.

Iron the seam open the best you can.

You’re nearly there now!

Beginning at 1 end where a ‘tail’ is start cutting. If you pinned correctly you will get a long string & not nice little circles.

Cut some more…

Yay! You just made continuous biased binding, but wait you can’t leave it in that heap…

Just hold an end between your thumb & palm and beginning wrapping around your fingers (or you can wrap it around a width of cardboard).

Viola! It is now ready to use in your project (& you didn’t waste any fabric or spend hours upon hours making it the old way!)

If you have any problems or have questions, just ask & I will try to clarify!


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