Continuous Bias Strip From A Square

Continuous Bias Strip From a Square

 

Continuous Bias Strip from a Square

Note: I am right-handed, so all of my directions will be from that perspective unless otherwise specified. Also, I’ve included many photos. Some people may need all of them, others just a few. I just don’t want you to be in the middle of making your bias strip and think, ”Is this what she means?” or “Is this what it’s supposed to look like?” So, lots of photos.

Bias strips can be used for various applications. Use it to bind the edges of a quilt. Sew it around cording to make piping. Applique it as a basket handle in a flower basket quilt block. It makes perfect vines for applique. There are many more options as well.

I used a 21″ square for this demonstration.

Take the square of fabric and lay it wrong-side up. In the 1/4″ seam allowance, draw a “T” at the top and a “B” at the bottom. (I normally draw with a mechanical pencil that has fabric-safe lead in it, but here I used a Sharpie marker for all of the letters and lines just so you could see it better.)

 

 

 

Draw a line 1/4″ in from each of the two sides and draw an “S” in the seam allowance of each side. These lines will be useful later.

 

 

 

 

Now grasp the bottom edge of the square and flip it up and over itself so that the wrong-side is now down. The sides marked with an “S” are still on the sides, but the “T” is now on the bottom and the “B” is now on the top. (All of the letters are now on the underside.)

 

 

 

 

Make a diagonal cut from corner to corner. (Note: If you normally cut with scissors using your right hand, begin at the lower left corner and cut up to the top right corner. And, if you cut using your left hand, make the diagonal cut from the lower right corner to the top left corner. After all of the sewing is done, this just makes cutting the long strip easier.) I laid my rotary cutting rulers end to end to reach from corner to corner and used a rotary cutter to separate the square into two equal triangles. Some people choose to fold the square in half diagonally, press the fold and use scissors to make the cut. Use whichever method feels most comfortable to you.

 

Grasp the bottom of only the lower triangle and flip it over so that the wrong-side is up again, and lay it on top of the upper triangle. Overhang the left tip of the top triangle so that the drawn line matches up along the edge of the triangle that is right-side up.

This is the first place that the side lines you drew will be helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the little bit of triangle showing on the top right edge is the same size as the left one you just lined up? That’s exactly what you want.

 

 

 

Pin these top edges and sew a 1/4″ seam across. Press the seam to relax the stitches.

Unfold the triangles keeping the wrong-side up. You now have a parallelogram. Finger-press the seam open. Then press it flat with your iron.

Rotate the parallelogram so that the “S” lines are along the top and bottom edges. Align a ruler along the left edge. Draw lines. I chose to draw them 2 1/4″ apart since I will be using this bias strip for binding. This will be a French binding and will be folded in half and pressed before being sewn onto the quilt.

I also usually use a mechanical pencil with fabric-safe lead to draw the lines, but here I used a permanent marker so that you would be better able to see the lines.

Turn the entire piece over again so that the right-side is up and the drawn lines are faced down.

Remember those sides with a line and an “S”? Bring those edges to the middle, lining up the raw edges of the S sides with the seam and aligning the drawn lines.

Notice the side lines and S ‘s that you drew at the beginning? These will give you a visual guide in the next step.

Now, grasp each triangle point and pull outwards until you have off-set the drawn lines by one.

Notice where the S’s are now and how the points extend past the edges? This is exactly how it should look.

 

 

 

Grasp the two sides and line up the raw edges. Insert a pin where the lines intersect through both pieces of fabric. This will align the cutting lines drawn earlier and take the guesswork out of where to stitch.

(As shown in the photos below.)

 

 

 

 

Leave this pin pointing straight through both pieces of fabric. Insert a pin on either side of it to secure the fabric. Then remove the center pin.

 

 

 

 

Move to the next intersection and do the same procedure. Continue until all of the intersections have been pinned and a “tube”, so to speak, has been formed. I also pin in between the intersections.

 

At this point, the tube will look very wonky, but don’t worry. After the seam has been sewn, it will form a nice neat tube..

Sew this with a 1/4″ seam as before. Begin sewing just above the open seam as indicated by the point of my seam ripper. Sew on the side line you drew at the beginning. Remove pins as you get to them. I don’t sew over pins.

 

 

 

 

The pinned seam will try to curve away from the needle. Be careful to keep the seam flat and going straight into the needle. Just adjust the layers of fabric as needed to keep the seam flat.

 

 

 

You can see in the photo that the top part is bunched while the bottom remains flat. That’s normal. Just keep adjusting the top layer and smoothing the bottom layer to keep the fabric heading straight into the needle.

 

 

 

 

When you’ve finished sewing this seam, your piece will look something like this.

 

Just pick it up and, Ta Dah! A nice tube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lay it down so that the new seam is up. Again, finger-press the seam open, then press it flat with an iron. Be careful to not let the iron get on the folds.

 

 

 

Now you can begin cutting your bias strip. Pick up the tube and be sure to cut through only the top single layer.

 

 

 

 

 

Cut along the continuous line until the entire line is cut. The very last part will probably not be as wide as the rest. That’s normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just remove it from the end.

 

 

 

I like to roll the continuous bias strip onto an empty toilet paper roll. It keeps the strip nice and flat and ready for use.

 

 

 

If you are concerned about any possible discoloration from the toilet paper roll, simply cover the roll with some muslin or scrap white fabric before wrapping the bias strip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it may be a week or so before I use a bias strip, I keep them neat and dust free by storing them in empty pint-size canning jars. I set a lid on it but do not use a ring. Placing the lid upside down will allow the fabric to “breathe”.

 

 

 

Well, it is now May 23, 2017,  so, it ended up being more than a week or so (actually it was 2 months) before I was able to machine-quilt the baby quilt and put this binding on. But now I can say,.” YAY! Another U.F.O. done!”

 

Sorry it has such a yellow cast to it. I took the photo in our living room which has incandescent lighting and paneling on the walls.

I wanted to show a photo of the entire quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here it is hanging on the crib we have for when the grandchildren come over. The lighting in this room is much better, so you can see what a bright and happy quilt this is.

 

 

 

I chose the light blue for the binding to compliment the blue in the 9-patches.

This is all the binding that I had left.

Yay! All of those Math classes in school didn’t fail me!

These will go in my “scraps” bin to be used at a later date.