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What Is Bias Tape?

Updated: Jun 3

Maybe you came across bias tape for the first time in a sewing pattern, or have seen it in sewing stores but never quite knew how to use it. No matter how you found it, we're here to help you learn all about this handy sewing notion: what it is, its styles, its uses, and even how to make it yourself! You can find bias tape in multiple sizes, colors, and styles at WAWAK.

Strips of single-fold and double-fold bias tape for sewing.
Bias Tape is a folded strip of bias-cut fabric commonly used for finishing hems, seams, and edges.

WHAT IS BIAS TAPE?

Bias Tape is a folded strip of bias-cut fabric commonly used for finishing hems, seams, and edges. It's available pre-creased and ready to use, or you can make it yourself with a bit of extra work! What makes this fabric tape so unique is all in the cut. As you probably know, woven fabrics have a grainline: the direction of the fabric's warp and weft threads. Usually, woven fabric is cut straight along the grain. However, it can also be cut at a 45-degree angle to the grain instead, known as the fabric's bias. When a fabric is cut into strips to make bias tape, it's cut on the bias—makes sense, right? Cutting the fabric this way adds a bit of stretch to woven materials that otherwise have none. In the case of bias tape, this means that the tape is a bit more flexible and easy to work with for things like curved edges and seams.


After it's cut, each strip of bias tape gets folded and creased either once or twice to prepare it for sewing. The number of folds determines the bias tape's style and uses.


Single Fold Vs. Double Fold Bias Tape

Bias Tape comes in two styles: single-fold and double-fold. Single-fold bias tape is folded once into thirds so the outside edges meet in the middle. It's most commonly used in applications where it's only visible on one side of a fabric—accents like hem, armhole, or neckline facings and flat decorative trims.


Double-fold bias tape is essentially single-fold bias tape with an additional fold down the middle. This extra fold allows this tape to encase an entire edge with ease. Because of this, double-fold bias tape (sometimes called bias binding) is commonly used for binding raw edges and seams.

How To Use Bias Tape

As you can probably already tell, bias tape comes in handy in many situations. In garment sewing, bias tape is often used for finishing raw edges, including the edges of armholes, necklines, and hems, or as decorative trim or facing. You can even use it to finish seams on the inside of a garment (a finishing method known as Hong Kong seams) which leaves no raw edges visible inside the garment. In quilting, bias tape is often employed to bind quilts as well as create lattices, meshwork, and decorative piping. Bias tape is also great for crafting casings, straps, and many other creative uses!


There are many different techniques for using bias tape. Generally, you'll often apply bias tape by stitching along the inside folded edge, folding the tape into position, and then sewing it in place on the right side of the item. However, the techniques used will vary depending on your project. Bias tape can also be applied using fusible interfacing.


Single fold bias tape pinned to fabric edge


How To Make Bias Tape

One of the best things about bias tape is that you aren't limited to basic colors: you can make it yourself with nearly any woven fabric of your choice! Creating patterned trims or binding that perfectly matches your project is easy: all you'll need is a rotary cutter and ruler, an iron, your sewing machine, and a bias tape maker like the ones pictured below.


Cut the fabric into strips on the bias, and sew the strips together end-to-end to form a longer tape if needed. Using a bias tape maker that corresponds to your strip width, feed the fabric tape through the bias tape maker. The bias tape maker will fold your fabric as it passes through it. Iron your bias tape as you pull it through to crease the folds. Now you have single-fold bias tape that's ready to use! If you want to make double-fold bias tape or bias binding, you can then fold your bias tape down the middle. (Avoid overlapping the edges completely—leave a small overhang to accommodate the offset that will occur when it folds around a fabric edge). Iron the tape once again, and your bias tape is complete!

Bias Tape Makers in a variety of sizes

Now that you're a bias tape pro, it's time to get sewing! Check out WAWAK's selection of bias tapes and bias tape makers to start incorporating them into your projects.






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