Bias Binding

Make Bias Tubing using bias bars. Great for flower stems, Celtic work and Stained Glass Applique.

There will be times when you find you require Bias Tubing whether it be for applique, Celtic work or just a decorative effect. I find using bias bars a great way to do this. Yes, you can buy the Bias Tubing pre-made, but the colours and widths are limited so by making your own, you can use any fabric combination you choose and make various sizes as well. Better still, no one is likely to have or use the same bias as you.

For this method of Bias Tubing you will require Bias Bars. These are readily available and come in various brands. I have found that some of the plastic bars are not as successful as the metal type because of their thickness - the metal bars are much finer. My personal favorite are produced by the Celtic Design Company. There are several different packs but I think the best is the set with bias bars of 1/4", 1/2" and 3/8".

To make the bias, all strips need to be cut on the true bias of the fabric. The strips width cut will depend on the width of bias you want.

Identifying the bias and straight of grain in fabric

Use at least a 10" square of your chosen fabric and cut through the diagonal on the bias. Note: The larger the square used, the longer your strips will be and the more bias you will make.

Lay the two triangles together and cut the appropriate strips from the bias cut. Strip widths are listed below for the three most common sizes.

strips should be cut on the Bias
Cut strips on the bias

Strip widths:

  • 1/4" cut 1" strips
  • 1/2" cut 1 1/2" strips
  • 3/8" cut 1 1/4" strips

Fold each strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and sew 1/4", 1/2" or 3/8 (depending on the width desired) from the folded edge on the right side of fabric. Trim seam allowance to about 1/8".

trim back the seam allowance of the binding

Insert the bar into the bias tube. Twist the seam around to one flat side of the bar so that the seam allowance is not visible from the other side. Press firmly.

insert bar, roll seam to the back and press

Remove bar (take care the metal bar can get hot) and press again to get a nice sharp edge on both sides.

At this time, if you wish, you can add fusible strips to the seam side of the bias. This helps it stay in place when attaching it to your project. Stitch in place with seam out of sight on the underside.

We have several online classes that cover this in more detail along with other methods of making bias tubing. Be sure to check them out.

© Ruth Blanchet 2003 … Note: these instructions are copyrighted. It is illegal to copy them, distribute or sell them without permission. Thank you for respecting the rights of the designer. Written and Designed for Arbee Designs.