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No Waste Bias Tape Tutorial

Dear Friends,

Making bias tape can result in a lot  of fabric that is wasted when it is cut flat on the bias (unless you want lots of little seam allowances).  Then someone devised a method where you create an offset tube.  I don’t know about you, but I was never quite satisfied with my results.

And then….and then!  My couture professor showed us a method of making bias tape that is just amazing.  She is the first to admit that there will be a section that isn’t on the true bias but for most uses of bias tape, it won’t be obvious and doesn’t cause any construction issues.  You end up with a ton  of tape, so start somewhat small.  I think I ended up with 12 yards of tape from a 18″ x 36″ piece of fabric (the size I used for this tutorial).

No Waste Bias Tape Steps

1. Cut a rectangle with a 2:1 ratio.  For this tutorial, I used an 18″ x 36″ rectangle.

2. Fold in half to make a square.

3. Sew around all raw edges with a 1/2” seam allowance. Turn corners
with needle down. Essentially, sew the entire thing shut.

4. Mark line from where stitching hits corner to the fold on the opposite
corner. Flip and mark the opposite corner to corner. Check to make
sure the opposite corners have been marked. If you were using an
imaginary x-ray machine, you should see an “X”.

5. Carefully cut through only a single layer on the line.

6. Turn over and cut the other layer. You should end up with a tube.

7. Press the seam allowances open.

8. Match edges carefully. With a rotary cutter starting at one of the folded
edges, cut through both layers part of the way. Do not go all the way
across to other fold! It should remind you of an octopus.  Don’t forget to add seam allowances when figuring out how wide you want each strip to be.

9. Carefully turn the piece and draw a line from one row to the row next to
it across the uncut the area (this is a similar concept as “the tube”
method of making bias tape)

10. Start cutting along the lines you just drew to make on amazingly long
strip of bias tape

11. Be geeky like me and admire how many yards you got out of such a small piece of fabric.

Happy bias tape making!

Dr. Julie-Ann

6 comments to No Waste Bias Tape Tutorial

  • Mary

    Thank you for the helpful tutorial. I’m learning to sew and have made one little piece of bias tape for a pair of shorts. I liked the way it looked, but there was a lot of waste. I’ll have to try this soon. Love your blog and the podcast.

  • Paula Hylinski

    I’m still confused the first cut, I get, the second one lost me and so did the last ones…

  • Dr. Julie-Ann

    Hi Paula, I need a little more clarification on which ones lost you so that I can answer the question. By the second one, do you mean the one that goes corner to corner after you flip it over?

  • Dr. Julie-Ann

    Paula said:
    Yes…I can see the first cut, the second one is exactly opposite corners?
    And then when you’ve cut through all the layers, I don’t get how to angle and thereby turn it into one long piece…been sewing for 40 years and this is just too cool.I really wnat to get it figured out!

    Cut #1: corner to corner
    Cut #2: Yes, it is exactly like Cut #1 only it is in the opposite corners. This will give you a tube.

    After you do the Octopus cuts, lay the tube out so that the still intact part is in the center. If you want, you can number each slash to make it easier.

    Draw a line from Slash #1A to the Slash #2B on the opposite side. Then draw a line from Slash #2A to Slash #3B and keep doing that. If you’ve done the tube method, this step is akin to offsetting the ends of the fabric before sewing them together. I know it looks like the lines are going straight across but they really are angled.

    If you look at the photo just above Step 10, you will see that the top line goes off of the fabric (you can click on the photo to make it larger). You will draw a line from your last slash at the same angle and it will go off the fabric. Also, draw a line with the same angle from Slash #1B off of the fabric. Those are your starting and ending points for your long piece of binding.

    I hope this helps!

  • WOW oh WOW!!!!! Thanks so much Julie-Ann for this method. I have tried for a long time to figure how to do this – I actually thought about it and figured there had to be a way, but could not wrap my head around it.

    THANKS again.
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  • I have got to try that!!
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