Ever looked at those romantic quilts with curved or scalloped edges? Seen rounded corners on some old-time quilts. They are very beautiful but how do you attach the binding without getting all puckered up? Well, relax and read this post. Let’s start at the beginning as we look at bias binding.
Bias binding is not only beautiful but is so practical. Quilters prefer it for three reasons:
I. Bias binding wraps around curved edges, rounded corners and scallops. Because the fabric used to make bias binding is cut “on the bias” it bends and stretches as you manipulate it around your quilt’s edge.
II. Practically speaking, bias binding is strong and durable on all those quilts that will go through hard use. There’s just something about the fabric threads at an angle that makes the binding withstand wear and lots of use.
III. Striped or plaid fabrics result in a fabulous candy cane or barber shop sign effect. Very cool and effective. Some of our customers only use bias bindings with striped fabric because they love the look so much!
Now we want to share with you how to create your own double fold bias binding efficiently through the “tube method”. This method gives you a long, continuous piece of bias fabric with little waste. No cutting endless short strips and wasting weird pieces at the end!
The amount of fabric needed to give you an adequate length of bias binding is determined by the following four step formula:
1. Measure the length of bias strip needed to go around the perimeter of your quilt sandwich. Remember to be somewhat “generous” in your measurement as you will have hills and valleys to wrap the binding around.
2. Determine the width of cut strip wanted. Most bias bindings are 2 to 2 1/2″ wide.
3. Multiply the “length” x “width” of cut strip = area of fabric
Example: 230″ in length needed to go around your quilt x 2″ wide = 460″ area
4. Find square root of the area to give you the size of square you need. Use a scientific calculator to get the square root or estimate and multiply until the find the “closest EVEN NUMBER” that matches the “area” you came up with in Step #3. Round up the square root to a simple number. Eg. the square root of 460 is 21.4476105895, go with a 22″ square!
5. Cut a square the size of your square root area. OR 22″ square in our example.
13 STEPS TO MAKING YOUR VERY OWN CONTINUOUS BIAS BINDING:
6. Press the seam allowance open taking care not to stretch or distort your bias seam. Now mark lines with your ruler. Distance between the lines will be the width of bias binding you want. Eg. 2″, 2 1/4″, etc.
8. After cutting the “slit”, fold both of the outside corners to the middle and pin as shown matching up the lines on both sides of the soon to be seam. NOTE – it is crucial at this point to stagger this seam as you pin it in place leave the slit you cut as a tail off the side. I know it looks a little weird at this point but trust me, this is going to be fabulous!
10. After sewing the seam allowance, cut carefully along the lines you drew earlier (remember those lines are on the wrong side of your fabric and won’t be seen when they become enclosed in the seam of your quilt later. Cutting this is becomes the funnest part.
12. Now you can take this long length of continuous bias binding to your iron and press all the seam joins you have open. Then press the binding in half lengthwise WRONG SIDES TOGETHER matching the raw edges.
13. VOILA! Now you have miles (or at least several metres of continuous bias binding to be used on your quilt sandwich that is awaiting binding. Some quilters use this method for all of their bindings. But remember this is the best kind of binding for curves, scallops and as a way of seeing that candy cane effect.
Sew the the double fold bias to the edge of your quilt or placemat (did I mention that this method works great on placemat bindings?! Be very careful not to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the bias strip. Be especially careful as you go around curves.
Next time, we hope to be able to show you how to apply this binding onto your project and get them curves bound up!
Happy stitching for now!