Bias Binding Tutorial

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best. – Henry Van Dyke
FOLDING FABRIC FOR BEAUTIFUL BINDING!  A tutorial
This method of cutting can be used if you are going to sew the attached binding on the machine. I whip my binding down by hand so this method assumes you do to. You could sew it downon your machine but the Step 5 strips would probably need to be a bit wider. I prefer the look and enjoy the process of hand whipping my binding down.Before I show you how I fold my fabic.  I would say that I make bias binding ALWAYS. Are you there? Did you faint? Why do I do this??? Well there are 5 reasons.

#1: Bias binding is by nature more suptle. It drapes better. It moves better simply because it is bias.
#2: Bias binding has a better shot at longevity. So who cares by the time the binding wears out I’ll be bouncing on clouds in Heaven..hopefully! Why bother. Well, the idea of the quilt is to make a lasting project right? When  you have a double layer binding that is bias you have threads running in opposite angles. When one thread breaks or wears out the other treads next to it won’t “pop” in succession if bias. They will all quickly pop if cut on the straight of grain.  Let’s be kind to our legacies!
#3: I love stripes and plaids on the bias so this gives me the opportunity for the addition of that design element. Usually quilters will tell me that this or if there are scallops or curves  is the ONLY TIME they make bias binding. Nope! not me I do it EVERY  TIME.
#4: Bias binding is easier to sew onto the quilt and to hand sew to the back of the quilt. It behaves sooo much better.
#5: Because I just like to make the stuff and I don’t use that insane “TUBE” method that has driven more people away from making bias binding than encouraged them to make it. I’m on a mission to convince you.
Ok so here are the steps I use to fold fabric and cut it into strips to make bias binding. It takes minutes to fold and cut I promise. You can do this.

Step #1: Lay out your fabric. This photo shows a full width of fabric with the selvages at the top and bottom of the photo. It does not matter if you are looking at the right or wrong side of the fabric. I like to start with with wrong side facing me.

Step #2: Take the top LEFT CORNER of your fabric and fold it down so that the top edge of the fabric is even with the bottom selvege edge. (Don’t worry you can cut the selveges off later when you first start folding your fabric this way it helps to leave the selveges on…with practice you can cut them off from the start!)  You have not established where the bias is on your fabric.

Step #3: Fold the bottom LEFT corner from Step #2 UP to the top corner. You have just layered folds of the bias edges on top of each other. This is the most important edge..the layers of folds.  The arrow is pointing in the direction you are folding. There will be a single fold at the bottom (where my arrow is..ignore this fold!) Remember this for all the rest of the folds. “ALWAYS FOLD THE BIAS EDGES ONTO THEM SELVES…” This makes the stack of folded edges to come!!!

Step #4: Fold again in the same direction as the last fold. Another layers of folds are stacked! Stack them neatly one on top of the other. You will see that at this point your fabric is at an angle pointing down and to your right.

Step #5: Gently turn your fabric so that it is perpendicular to your body. Now you can cut your bias strips! First lay your ruler down a 1/4″ or so over the stacked folds. Cut the folds away..giving the edge of your fabric a little “Hair cut”. Without moving or disturbing the fabric cut your desired width of binding. If you are a beginner start with 2 1/2″ cuts. If you are a confident binder, cut 2 1/4″. This is a good place to be! If you really want your binding to look the same on the front and back of your quilt, cut 2″ binding. Any of these are fine. You do what you are most comfortable in handling.

 

When you are finished you will have many strips. They will automatically be a 45 degree angle because you used this method. Sew the strips end to end at the 45 degree angles. (no waste!)  I like to lower my stitch length a bit giving extra strength to the seam. Press the long length of the binding strip in half pressing each seam OPEN this makes the binding perfectly flat so that you cannot feel the seam…and you are ready to sew the binding onto your quilt!

Please don’t let anyone tell you that it takes a lot more fabric to make bia binding. Nope it does not. Use this method and you will see.

My friend Gene from Alabama did a video on this technique. I have fond memories of showing him and Pat from Deleware how to do this. We were in a restaurant eating barbeque and drinkin sweet tea (this is the South!). As I recall, Gene and Pat folded their napkins and used them as a reminder. Here is the link to Gene’s video THANK YOU SO MUCH Gene!.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsB9cmeHQcs
(I run from video cameras he is much cuter than me!)

Another Thank you to my friend Betty Lewis who taught me this technique many years ago!