August 29, 2011

How To Make Continuous Bias Binding

I don't remember when I first became interested in custom-made bias binding, but at some point I noticed a pretty quilt with matching binding, and realized its potential.  I thought myself  lucky when I ran across some large spools of bias binding at a LQS sale; I bought some great ones. didn't occur to me that I could make them.... I just thought that you had to special order large amounts from a fabric company. (any newbies out there?)

My next project: make kitchen curtains.  I'm using the Simplicity #5696 Easy! Can Tops pattern. I decided to make the ones that don't have a lining... instead, it takes binding. Lots of binding.

Now is the time, to learn how to make continuous bias binding...

If you do a search on how to make continuous binding, you'll get lots of links.  I'm narrowing it down to two favorites here, I think you'll find them easy to follow:
bitterpurl: continuous bias binding - a tutorial 
Included in the tutorial (at the end), is a guide to how much yardage will yield.  I found it helpful.
I would love to thank her for her wonderful tutorial (the comment section is closed), so I'll just add a Great-big Thank You here.

There is also this video, using the same method:

Here I am, making my first-ever continuous bias binding... 

* I used a little more than a 1/2 yard of fabric (the tutorials started with 1/2 yard)

1. Folded it from selvage to selvage (cut away the selvage)
 2. Sewed along the 3 raw edges
 3. With folded edge toward me, I drew a diagonal line between left-bottom corner and top-right corner. Snipped off those corners, then took my scissors, lifted the top layer of fabric and cut on the line (just the top layer of fabric).
4. Flipped the square over, and drew a diagonal line between the uncut corners. Cut away the corners, and took the scissors to the top layer, cutting along the line.

( Next time, I won't cut off the corners so deeply, it will be less "cleaning up edges".  You just need enough room to get your scissors in and cut up the diagonal line.)

5. Unfold and it looks like a big tube.

6. Time to "clean up the edges" with the rotary cutter.

7. Press the seams open.

8. Time to consider the width of the binding.  I need narrow binding for this project. 

9. Start on one edge and mark the width. Then cut the strips, stopping at 4 - 5" from the top edge. Don't cut past that mark! 

There will be about 10" of uncut fabric.

Open it up, and you have a "crazy-looking" tube.

If you like to use your ironing table as a work surface, it could be helpful to let the strips dangle while you get ready to mark the new diagonal lines (in the uncut section).
I chose to place my cutting board in between the strips and the uncut section.

On to the next 2 pictures for marking and cutting...

10. Mark diagonal lines for cutting like so...

Notice that I didn't start on the very edge; that is done after marking these lines (these purple lines were added to the photo so that you see them easier)

(you can click on any of these pictures for a better view)

11. Mark the "outer lines"; matching the width of your binding.
* Notice the lines added to the photo, first you have the purple lines that we've already marked, all that is left to mark are outer edges (highlighted in Yellow).

12. Cutting Time: I started on the left side, cutting on the diagonal lines. 

Each time you snip away on the diagonal line, you release length to your binding yardage!

(The end pieces of the binding will have to be squared up, but as you can see, there's not a lot of waste)

I ended up with oodles of bias binding...
I've folded, pressed and wrapped mine around a tube; now it's time to finish the curtains...

I mentioned the sewing pattern that I'm using, for the kitchen window, well, when I pulled the pattern out and compared it to the window, it looks too big.  I considered using a different pattern and went searching online for patterns (I admit it).    Hey!... I found some great ideas.

* Pam Damour - You are probably familiar with her designs.  She has great templates for making pretty curtains. The pattern that I liked from her site is much like the one that I'm using!  Check out her designs and videos, she makes it all look so easy.

I continued down the make-your-own curtains search... it lead me to the idea of making curtains from tablecloths.  What a great idea.  Now, take the idea of tablecloths into curtains and add the word "vintage"... OH MY!  That is how I found the next blog:

* Amy @ Delightful Distractions. has shared a wonderful way to use/and preserve a vintage tablecloth.  I am inspired to keep my eyes open for such "finds" as I'm patrolling the thrift stores.

Back to the Project:
I took the Simplicity pattern and did a shortened-version (4" shorter).

... just enough over-lapping.

I chose to make matching tabs...

With the existing Gingerbread trim above the sink, combined with these curtains, I can actually say this little window has charm!


  1. Dear Jessica
    Your curtain looks great!!And the Tutorial is super!
    Have an nice time, Rita

  2. Hi Rita! Hope all is well with you, family and sewing!
    Thank you, the curtains gave the little window some interest and I'm enjoying the subtle colors!

    I was happy to find easy directions for making continuous bias binding... and, if I can do it, anyone can!
    I'm finishing up a set of placemats this week - using my own bias binding!!



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