For the beginner #3, bias tape and a bias-bound seam

You  can make a garment with seams that you have overlocked, but sometimes you want to make a garment look a little nicer or it just makes sense to use a certain type of seam with that fabric.  Next in the series For the Beginner (see also Some Tips, Sewing Tips 2, For the beginner #1, a plain seam, and For the beginner #2, a French seam) is bias tape and a bias-bound seam.

Bias tape is made by cutting strips of cloth along the bias (as opposed to along the lengthwise grain, which is parallel to the selvage, or along the crosswise grain, which is parallel to the cut ends).  These strips are then run through a bias-tape maker at home or a big folding machine in the factory and generally come in two widths.  Single fold bias tape is this.  Double fold bias tape is then folded in half, well, with more like 55% on one side and 45% on the other.  You can use single fold bias tape on a hem–one edge is sewn to the edge of the hem and the other edge is machine- or hand-sewn to the skirt/pant leg/whatever.  It is double fold bias tape that is used to bind a seam.

Here is a strip of bias-cut fabric being made into single fold bias tape (yes, I know there are two folds) with a Clover brand bias tape maker.  After you run the fabric through it about an inch or so, you press it, pull out a little more, press it, and so on until you've pressed the whole strip.

Here is a strip of bias-cut fabric being made into single fold bias tape (yes, I know there are two folds) with a Clover brand bias tape maker. After you run the fabric through it about an inch or so, you press it, pull out a little more, press it, and so on until you’ve pressed the whole strip.

Here is a piece of double fold bias tape.

Here is a piece of double fold bias tape.  The reason you can see a little of the other half peeking out is you have this side up when you sew it on and guarantee that you catch the lower side in the stitching.

To make a bias-bound seam, you first make a plain seam and press it either so the seam allowances are one on each side of the seam (pressed open/butterflied) or all on one side of the seam.  Then take double fold bias tape, fit it around the edge of the seam allowance, and stitch it on.  Make sure you have the narrower side up.  You can use bias tape that matches the fabric or you can use any color that won’t show through on the right side.  I used contrasting thread so it would show up in the photo a little better.  This method is good for fabrics that like to ravel.  If using a really thick fabric, you’ll have to use the wider bias tape or make your own even wider.

Just fit the bias tape over the edge of the seam allowances and stitch it on.  In this sample, two widths of bias tape have been used to show the difference.  They're both store bought, available at any fabric store.  Bias tape you make yourself may have different widths.

Just fit the bias tape over the edge of the seam allowances and stitch it on. In this sample, two widths of bias tape have been used to show the difference. They’re both store bought, available at any fabric store. Bias tape you make yourself may have different widths.

As I want to make this blog great, I always welcome comments, questions, and suggestions.

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1 Comment

Filed under Beginner, Parts

One response to “For the beginner #3, bias tape and a bias-bound seam

  1. Pingback: For the Beginner #4: some seam finishes and darts | Look, I Sewed This!

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