Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mauby's Binding Series. Part One: Continuous Bias Binding

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Continuous Bias Binding

First of all you may ask, why cut your binding on the bias anyway? 

Bias binding will sit nicer on curves without crinkling or bunching.  

Also, by cutting on the bias you will have more threads on the edges that are sewn to the quilt. I don't think this matters as much if you use certain stitches, but that will be covered in a different part of the series.

I, for one, do not like cutting 10 different bias strips, just to sew each strip to one another.  So I use the continuous bias binding method:

  Where you sew only two seams and end with one large strip of bias binding.  Here's how I do it:

1.  Take your finished quilt (I used a mug rug or mini-quilt, to better see the steps in pictures.), and baste around the edges.  Then trim off the excess batting and backing. 

2. Measure across the top and double it. 
In this case it is 11 1/2" doubled = 23"

3.  Measure down one side and double it. 
In this case it is 6" doubled = 12"

4.  Add the two numbers together.
In this case it is 23" + 12" = 35"

Then add 18" to your total.
In this case it is 53"

5.  Take the width that you want your binding to be, I like 2 1/2" binding, and add 1/2".  Then multiply it by the totals.
In this case I took 3" x 53" = 159"

6.  Finally find the square root of your total. I usually use this link:

My final total is: 12.6, which I round up to 13"

(Width x 2) + (Length x 2) = Total 
Total + 18" = Total
Desired Binding Width + 1/2" = Binding Number
 Total x Binding Number = Total
Square root of Total = Final Total

7.  Take the final total and cut out a square that size from your binding material. 

8. Fold the square in half creating a triangle and press. 

9.  Cut along the fold line. This will be the bias line (it is most likely not an exact 45 degree angle but pretty darn close).

10. Turn the triangles so that the bias edges are on the outside to the left and right and the right side of one triangle lines up with the left side of the other triangle.

11.  Lay the triangles on top of one another, right sides together with the two non bias edges lined up like below: 

12. Sew together with a 1/4" seam allowance. 

13.  Open and press. Use a fabric pen/pencil/marker/chalk for this next part.  
Starting from one of the bias edges, draw a parallel line the distance of your desired binding width.  In this case it is 2 1/2". 

Continue drawing lines parallel to each previous line the same width all the way to the other bias edge. 
Your final row will usually NOT be the same width as the rest.  Mark this row with an X if you need to remember it will not be used. 

14.  Re stitch the seam from step 12, back stitching over each line marking. 

15.  Open and press again. 
Now fold your fabric piece, right sides together, matching up your non-bias edges.  There is a slight twist to the fabric here.  

The first line on the left edge, should meet with the bias edge and the top of the opposite edge.
Then the rest of the lines should meet with the lines on the opposite edge. 

16. Pin. 

17. Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Back stitching on the lines. 

18. You should end up with a tube like so:

19. Starting on one end, use the scissors to cut along the line without cutting through more than the single layer. 

20. You should end with a long bias strip.  Cutting off the strip of fabric that you marked as not the correct width. 

21. Fold in half, wrong sides together, and press. 

Tada! There is your continuous bias binding strip!  Come back tomorrow to learn how to attach it to your quilt with nice and easy mitered corners! :) 

**Please note that mastering this method takes practice and a bit of patience.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Once you get it though you won't go back! :) 


Sharon Pernes said...

I have seen this method and want to use it, but I always get confused at step 15. Now I understand 15 - 18, but have a question about 19. Note this is just from reading the post, I know it would be helpful if I tried it first, but i like to ask questions so here goes :)
Do I cut all the way thru each line?
Thanks for the great tute, I can't wait to see the next part of the series.

Sha :)

Sharon Pernes said...

Well I got the cutting question answered, yes it was a stupid one, lol. But I guess I don't really get 15 - 18. I lined the ends up wrong. Do you have any other hints to show me how they line up? I brought the left non biased edge to meet the point of the biased edge and the straight edge, but evidently I did it wrong because my 18 looked different than yours and when I cut it the lines didn't match (although when I pinned it inthought they were matching point to point.) Maybe a closed pic of exactly how to line it up? I don't know why this is so confusing to me, but thanks for any help you could give me.

Mauby said...

Sharon, Just emailed you but leaving the comment here as well for others! Hope it helps! :)

I would recommend drawing identical lines on the right side of the fabric.

Then after you pin (pin with safety pins so it is easier) you can turn the tube right side out and see if the lines match up.

Then compare with how you pinned it on the other side.

Repeat until the lines on the right side of the fabric line up. That should help give perspective on how to match the wrong sides of the fabric up.

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