Saturday, August 8, 2015

16. Stash and Dash - Make the Bias Binding

Summer Sew Along from

Make the Bias Binding

We will need:

For this step we will need the square of contrasting fabric cut for the bias binding.
We will also use these tools:
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Quilter's rulers - a 6" x 24" or 8½" x 24" works well
  • Sewing machine with ¼" foot
  • Pins - extra-fine
  • Stiletto/pressing tool
  • Thread snips/scissors


Make bias binding to finish the raw edges of the Stash and Dash fold-over organizer.

Why bias binding? 

Since we have rounded edges on the organizer, we need to use bias binding rather than the straight-grain binding that we used on the mesh and vinyl pockets. 

Fabric cut on the bias stretches more than fabric cut on the straight grain, so it is perfect for binding anything with a curved edge. 

Bias-cut fabric also has a lot more threads along the edge, so bias binding wears longer than cross-grain bias. Keep that in mind when you are making bindings for your quilts.

Can't I just buy a package of binding?

The beauty of making our own bias binding is that we can have binding that exactly matches our project. We aren't limited to the colors available at the local fabric chain store. 

And, we can cut just the size needed to make a perfect binding. For this project, we'll cut 2¼" binding strips. More-experienced sewists may even prefer to use a 2" binding. For projects with more layers, we might find that a 2½" binding would cover the edges more easily. By making our own binding, we can cut the exact size that works best for us.

We can also make a double-fold French-style binding which results in a binding with a double layer of fabric on each side. The binding edge of a project usually gets more wear than the rest of the project, so having two layers of fabric there really helps it last longer. 

Finally, we don't have to deal with binding that has already been folded and pressed. By just folding the fabric in half lengthwise and pinning the layers together rather than pressing, we get smoother, nicer results when our binding is stitched in place.

Use this method of making bias binding for any project, from purses and bags to quilts. Just vary the size of the square that you cut to assure that you will have enough binding for your project. For all the math to calculate the size needed, check out our Math for Quilters booklet. It includes all kinds of helpful formulas and charts. It is a reference guide that I use almost daily!

Let's get started:

1. Cut the 13½” square of fabric in half diagonally.

2. Keeping right sides up, move the triangle which is on the right over so that its short straight-grain right side matches the short straight-grain left side of the other triangle.

3. Fold the triangle that is now on the right over onto the other triangle so that the right sides of the fabric are together. Align the two long edges leaving ¼" "dog ears" on each end.
4. Pin to secure layers together. I like to use extra-fine glass-head pins because they are really sharp and they don't distort the layers. Place the pins at a right angle to the stitching line with the heads on the right so that you can remove them easily as you stitch.

5. With right sides together, sew the two triangles together along the pinned edge with an accurate ¼" seam. Remove the pins as you get to them.

6. Press the seam open.

7. From the resulting parallelogram, cut 2¼” strips, aligning the ruler along the long bias edge.

TIP: Be extra careful to make sure that you are aligning the ruler along the long bias (more stretchy) edge. Otherwise you will just end up with straight grain binding with lots of seams in it! Refer to the picture in the pattern to make sure you are aligning the piece correctly when cutting.

TIP: For larger pieces or if you have a small mat or short rulers, here's an easy way to cut accurate strips. Fold the sides of each triangle over, making sure that bottom and top raw edges are aligned evenly. Align the ruler along the long bottom bias edge to cut the strips.

8. With right sides together, join ends of the strips, offsetting the tips.

TIP: To make this easy, lay out the pieces so that the diagonal ends "match" as shown below.

Then just fold the strip on the left over onto the strip on the right, aligning the long bias raw edges and leaving the ¼" "dog ears" on each side.

9. Stitch the strips together with a ¼” seam. TIP: The ¼" seam should start right at the intersection of the two points. See the point marked by the stiletto in the image below. It will end at the same intersection on the other end of the strip.

10. Press the seams open. TIP: To avoid a trip to the ironing board for just a few seams, stay at your work area and use a wooden pressing tool to press these seams open. Quick and easy!

11. Trim tabs even with the strip.

12. With right sides out, fold the bias binding in half lengthwise and pin every 4” to 6”. TIP: Pinning the binding together rather than pressing it in half prevents wrinkles and puckers in the binding when it is attached to the project.

Next Up:

17. Bind the Edges, Part 1: Attach the Binding
Click here for the full schedule of postings for ByAnnie's Summer Sew Along - Stash and Dash.


  1. This is the best tutorial I've seen for making bias binding. Thank you for making it so clear to follow!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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