Every time my mom comes to visit I promise that I'll show her how to make continuous bias and somehow we run out of time...and energy. So. This is for my mom: how to make continuous bias (of course you can use it, too ;).Once in a while I need lots of bias, more than a little strip I hastily cut from the corner of my fabric, and let's face it, the selection of pre-made bias is slim. They've got some basic solid colors all in polyester, but no variation in pattern or content. Continuous bias is a long strip without having to sew lots of little strips together. Some places I've used a lot of bias tape are on my table and desk mats, around the edge in my Never Enough Orange Sewing studio:
and on the Divine Grace dress I made for Project Run and Play last year:
Start by folding your fabric on the bias (45° angle). Cut along the fold.
Continuous bias is also convenient for binding a quilt, although, as we've established in the past, I've yet to complete a quilt. One yard of fabric makes a huge amount of bias :)
Next, with right sides together, match the edges of fabric together so the bias edges you just cut create an X. Sew along the edge and press the seam open.
Open up your fabric and on the right side, draw lines along the bias edge. The width you draw your rows will depend on what finished size you want your bias tape. I made mine 2" wide and ended up with about 1/2" finished product once it is sewn on. If you plan to make piping, you will need to double your desired width. If you plan to use it as double folded bias tape, you will quadruple the desired width. I know, math involved!
You want to be as precise as possible so you stay on the bias. If you get off a tiny bit by the time you get to the other side of the fabric, don't worry, just trim the extra off.
This is the part that you're going to have to read more than once and study the pictures ;) If you need to actually write the numbers on your fabric to help, do it. Fold fabric right sides together, bringing the the bottom up to the top. Match the lines you just drew, except off by one, so the corner of your bottom fabric will line up with the first line you drew on the top. It will work, I promise.
It will look like this at the beginning and end of edge. Match up the lines you drew so they intersect 1/2" into the seam and sew.
This is what it should look like when you press open the seam allowance.
Now you have a giant tube of fabric on the bias.You can either use a cutting mat, straight edge and rotary cutter to cut along the lines, or just a pair of fabric scissors, while you watch a movie that doesn't involve subtitles ;). This will take a little while.
Now you finish your bias strips how you want: piping, double or single folded bias tape. I use my bias tape maker machine, but you could also use the manual ones that are a whole lot cheaper. If you're going to go to the trouble of making your own bias, it might be worth the investment (use those 40% off coupons!) and it goes lickety split without the burns!
I wrap my finished bias on the cardboard from the store bought piping/bias tape that I've used up for neat and tidy storage. Or you can leave your bias as is and make A Very Biased Skirt:
That post also has more information about bias if you're wondering what in tarnations is so great about bias in the first place.
What comes next? Enjoy the variety that comes with making your own bias in patterns and fiber content!