Everything you Need to Know About Bias Tape – Part 3

everything you need to know about bias tape part 3b
We are going to cover sewing with double fold bias tape in this part of our guide.  Double fold tape is used where you want the binding to been seen on the front and back of the project. 

If you want the binding to be hidden on the back of your project, you need to follow the single fold instructions in part 2 of this series, if you are not sure which tape you need, take a look at part 1, if you want to learn to make your own tape, view part 4.

Measuring your Bias Tape

Measure the space you are going to cover, and…

If the short ends of the tape will be seen in the finished project add 5cm/2 inches

If you are sewing over the short ends later add 2.5cm/1 inch

If the two ends of the tape will be joined together add 10cm/4 inches

Choosing Your Method

We recommend 3 methods for sewing double fold bias tape:

Machine Sewing – sew lines are visible on both sides.

Mixed Sewing – machine sew the first seam and hand sew the second for an almost invisible finish.

The Eazy Peazy Binding Method – this method uses strips of fabric ironed in half, rather than bias tape – guide coming soon!

Getting Started…

NOTE: If you need to go around corners with your tape, you will also need to read the instructions on the back of this leaflet.

Take your bias tape, looking at the back, unfold the tape once, and then open the shorter of the two visible folds (if you tape’s sides are the same size you can open either of the them).

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

Fold the left edge of the tape over by 12mm/1/2″ and iron the crease into place, then unfold.

Looking at the back of your project position the tape so that the fold on the left edge is in line with the left edge of your fabric and the top (unfolded edge) of the tape is in line with the top of your fabric, wrap the folded section on the left over to the front of your fabric and pin into place.

double fold guide image-fold-seen

Pin the rest of the tape along the back of your project, gently pulling on the tape to ease it around any curves. When you reach the right edge, cut the excess tape back to 6mm/1/2″ past the edge of the fabric, fold it round to the front of the project as before, and pin into place.

Sew all the way along the top fold line of the bias tape.

double-fold-bias-tape-pinned-sewn-seen

If you are sewing over the short ends later

Looking at the back of your project and the tape, overlap the left edge of your fabric with the short edge of the tape (just a few mm/1/4”). Line the top unfolded edge of the bias tape up with the top of your fabric, start pinning into place, gently pulling on the tape to ease it around any curves. Sew along the top fold line. Trim the tape on the right edge, back to 6mm/1/4″ past the fabric’s edge.

double-fold-bias-tape-short ends later

If the two ends of the tape will be joined together

Pin your tape into place on the back of your project (starting approx 1/3 of the way down one side), with the unfolded edge of the bias tape lined up with the edge of your fabric. Finish pinning when you get approx 7.5cm/3″ from the start of the tape.

Starting 7.5cm/3″ along from the first pin, sew in the crease line, round to the final pin.

double-fold-tape-bias-joining-first sew

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 put 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, cut the top piece of tape at this point, straight down.

double-fold-bias-tape-measuring-join-overlapping

Fold the bottom corner at the end of the bias tape up to form a triangle, then fold the top corner at 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 top tape, following the crease line.

double-fold-bias-tape-folded-triangle-corners

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.

Next steps… (all methods)

Fold the bias tape over the top of your raw edges, making mitres on any corners (folding the fabric in diagonally). Ensure that the tape is covering the sew line from the other side (this is where having one side of the tape longer than the other comes in handy!). Pin the tape into place.

double-fold-bias-tape-pulling-tape-over

Machine Sewing Method

Top stitch 3mm/1/8th” in from the unsewn edge of the bias tape, using a stitch of your choice. Stop every so often to check the sew line on the back is on top of the binding and hasn’t slipped onto the main fabric.

double-fold-bias-tape-top-stitches

Mixed Sewing Method

Many people are put off hand sewing the final seam, but I can tell you from experience that a) its quicker than you think. b) You can end up spending much longer unpicking wonky stitching from machine sewing! c) You will get an almost invisible finish.

You will need a hand sewing needle threaded with a cotton matching your bias tape. Put a knot in your cotton and pass it through from the back of the bias tape to the front, at the crease/fold line (hiding the knot).

Push the needle back down into the main fabric, as close to the point where you just came through as possible (making an almost invisible stitch) come back up in to the bias tape, stopping inside the crease. Push the needle along the INSIDE of the crease, before coming back up, out of the top of the binding (see image below), go back to the start of this paragraph and continue round repeating these steps.

double-fold-tape-hand-sewing-seam-bias

Dealing with Corners

If you have corners to navigate we recommend sewing and pinning your tape one side at a time.

Measure the size of the bias tape from the unfolded top edge to the first fold and note this measurement down. Pin your tape along one side. Sew in the crease line, stopping when you are as far away from the corner as the measurement you noted down.

double-fold-tape-instructions-measuring-fold

Take your project back to the table and fold the corner of the bias tape over into a triangle, so that the tape is running away from your project, and is in line with the top of the next side (see images below). Now fold the tape back over the triangle, so that it is running along the next side to be sewn, and pin into place.

double-fod-making-corner-3

Start sewing again from the left edge, until you reach the next corner and repeat the process.

Other parts in this series…

1. Introduction to Bias Tape

2. Sewing with Single Fold Bias Tape

4. Making your own Bias Tape

Download a copy of this guide here.


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