Everything You Need to Know About Bias Tape – Part 2

everything you need to know about bias tape part 2
We are going to cover sewing with single fold bias tape in this part of our guide.  Using bias tape to hide raw edges on the back of projects as well as using the tape as a ribbon trim, and turning single tape into double tape.

If your bias tape is going to be visible on the front and back of your project, you need to follow the double fold instructions in part 3 of this series, if you are not sure which tape you need, take a look at part 1 and if you want to learn how to make your own tape, view part 4.

Measuring your Bias Tape

If the short ends of the tape will be seen in the finished project

Measure the space you are going to cover, and add at least 5cm/2″, for wiggle room and to neaten the ends.

If you are sewing over the short ends later

Measure the space you are going to cover, and add at least 2.5cm/1″ inch for overlapping the ends of the tape with the edges of your project, and for wiggle room.

If the two ends of the tape will be joined together

Measure the space you are going to cover and add a minimum of 8cm (3”).

Getting Started…

Turn the tape over, unfold the top edge of the tape and measure the width of the fabric you have just unfolded (from the top edge to the crease line). The crease will be your sewing line and so needs to be placed on your project where you pattern’s seam allowance dictates.

single fold guide images1c
On our tape the fold is 6mm/1/4” from the edge so if we lined up the tape with the edge of our fabric, the sew line would be at 6mm/1/4″. Our pattern calls for all seams to be at 12mm/1/2″ , so we just moved the tape down the fabric 6mm/1/4″, placing the crease line at 12mm/½”.
Place you project in front of you, right side of the fabric facing up and unfold the top edge of your bias tape then…

If the short ends of the tape will be seen in the finished project

Fold the left edge of the tape in 12mm/1/2″ and iron the crease in.

Position the tape so that the folded left edge is in line with the left edge of your fabric, and the top crease in the bias tape is lined up with the seam allowance in your pattern. Start pinning, gently pulling on the tape to ease it around any curves. When you reach the right side, fold the end of tape onto your project trim to give you a folded section measuring 6mm/1/2″ and pin into place.

Sew along the fold line, going over the folded ends.

single fold guide images2

If you are sewing over the short ends later

Overlap the left edge of your fabric with the short edge of your tape (just a few mm/1/4”), and line the top crease in the bias tape up with the seam allowance in your pattern. Start pinning your tape to your project, gently pulling on the tape to ease it around any curves. Sew along the crease line. Trim any excess tape on the right edge, back to 6mm/1/4″ past the fabric’s edge.

single fold guide images3

If the two ends of the tape will be joined together

Take your bias tape, and looking at the back, unfold the top edge.

Now decide where on your project you want to start the tape, there will a join at this point and although the tape will be hidden on the back of your project, as the fabric moves, you may sometimes catch glimpses of it, for example along a neckline or round an armhole. If there isn’t an obvious place to hide the join we recommend starting 1/3rd of the way down one side.

Start pinning your tape into place from the joining point, with the crease in the top fold of the tape running along your seam allowance/sew line. Finish pinning when you get approx 5cm/2″ from the start of the tape.

Starting 5cm/2″ along from the first pin, sew in the crease line round to the final pin.

joining bias tape ends - step 1

Fully unfold both ends of the bias tape, measure the width of one end and note down the size. Place the start of your tape back down on top of your fabric (still unfolded) and the end of the tape on top of that. Measure along, from the point where the tapes start to overlap, by the same distance as the width of the unfolded tape (measured in the last step) trim the top piece of tape at this point (straight down).

joining bias tape ends2
Fold the bottom corner of the end of the bias tape up to form a triangle, then fold the top corner of the start of the tape down to form another triangle. The crease lines on each side should meet in the middle (see image below).

Unfold the corners and pin the pieces together, right sides facing, pulled away from the main fabric, with the two creases lined up (the tapes will form a right angle – see image below).

Sew a diagonal line from the top left corner of the tape, along the crease line.

joining ends - single fold-making mitre

Check that the tape sits flat on your project and when you are happy with the result, trim the excess fabric away (back to a 6mm/1/4″ seam allowance). Pin the now continuous tape back on to your project and sew along the top fold line as before.

joining bias tape ends last part

Next steps… (all methods)

If you have fabric sticking out above the bias tape (as in our example) trim it away, so that the edge of the fabric is in line with the tape. Turn your project over and iron the seam flat – with the seam allowances folded onto the back of the bias tape (away from the fabric). Turn over and iron once more.

Now fold the tape over on to the back of the fabric, so that you can just see the start of the main fabric on the back (see below).

single fold guide images-iron-trim

Iron the seam flat. Pin the tape into place and top stitch 1/8″/3mm in from the unsewn edge of the bias tape (see the next set of images) ensuring you have the right colour thread on your bottom bobbin for the front fabric.

single fold guide images end

Its as simple as that!

Using Bias Tape as a Trim

Single fold tape can be used as a decorative trim, sew into place using a stitch of your choice. We like to use a small zigzag stitch, running the stitch along the edges of the tape, over-lapping stitches with the main fabric for a pretty and super secure finish.

bias single fold as a ribbon

Making Double Fold Tape out of Single Fold

You can turn single fold tape into double fold tape by folding the tape in half and ironing the resulting crease in. It’s a good idea to fold the crease just off centre, 3mm/1/8th inch, as having one side slightly longer than the other is a benefit when sewing (this is how ready made double sided bias tape appears).

Now open the tape backup and move the raw edges into to meet the new centre crease, iron the creases into place. Close up your tape and iron once more to set the creases.

single into double bias tape

 Other parts in this series…

1. Introduction to Bias Tape

3. Sewing with Double Fold Bias Tape

4. Making your own Bias Tape

Download a copy of this guide here.


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