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: http://www.math.com/students/calculators/source/square-root.htm
My final total is: 12.6, which I round up to 13"
*** FOR YOUR REFERENCE HERE IS MY FORMULA***
(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.
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! :)