Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bias Binding Tutorial

I always like the look of plaid and stripe bindings on the bias, and bias bindings are the best for sewing around curves.  I know there are lots of ways to cut the binding on the bias which include folding the fabric in interesting ways, but I keep it simple and just cut through one layer of fabric at a time.  I thought some of you would like to see how I make my bias bindings.


  • Binding Fabric--I usually purchase a little extra.  On a quilt this size (40 x 50 inches) I normally purchase 1/2 yard of binding.  For the bias binding I purchased 2/3 yard of binding.  It was only six inches more, and made it a little bit easier.  Note:  The smaller the piece you are cutting, the more seams there will be.  
  • Rotary Cutter
  • 24 inch ruler with 45 degree angles marked (My favorite is the Big Daddy designed by Trudie Hughes.)

This is how I calculate the number of strips needed for bindings:

  1. Calculate the perimeter of your quilt (length of side 1 + side 2 + side 3 + side 4) and add 10-15  more inches to cover the extra fabric needed for corners and joining the ends.
  2. Divide that number by the length of your binding strips.  (Most of the time I say 40 inches because you loose a couple inches when joining the ends on the 45 degree angle, but for this bias binding my length was 31 inches.)
  3. Round that number up to get the number of strips.    

I will use this Forest Friends quilt for an example:
  1. 40 + 40 + 50 + 50 + 15 = 195 inches
  2. 195 / 31 = 6.3 strips
  3. 7 strips are needed :)
  • On some bias bindings you may have some longer and shorter strips.  So instead of dividing by the length of you strips, you can keep a running total of the length of all your strips added together.  
  • I know that adding the extra 10-15 inches may lead to some extra binding left over, but I would rather have too much than too little.  I rarely run out of binding fabric when I use these calculations.  
Now on to cutting the binding.  :D  You may want to iron your fabric with a little spray starch before cutting, but I don't always do that.  

1.  Square up the right and left sides of your fabric.  Unfold it on your cutting mat.  

2.  Line up the 45 degree marking on your ruler along the selvage.  It will not reach edge to edge.  Cut as far as you can along your ruler.  

3.  Keeping your rotary cutter in place, slide the ruler along your cutting line so that a different 45 degree marking lines up with the left edge of your fabric.  Finish the first cut.  

4.  It now looks like this.  Set the bottom left triangle aside for now.  (You can cut into it later if you still need more length for your binding.)

5.  Rotate the larger piece so you can cut along the entire length of the bias edge.  

6.  Using your ruler cut your strips the width you want to use.  I cut mine out at 2.5 inches.  

7.  Measure the length of your strip.  Mine was 31 inches along the bottom edge.  Use this in the calculations I mentioned above.  These strips already have your 45 degree angles cut on the ends ready for piecing.  

8.  Continue cutting strips along the bias edge.  

9.  I was able to cut six strips out at the 31 inch length.  This was not enough, so I cut one strip into the triangle section.  I then had to trim one end to the 45 degree angle.  

Note:  Because I only needed 6.3 strips I knew I would still have enough with one that was a little bit shorter.  

 This is what you will have when you are done cutting.   

10.  Take your strips to your sewing machine and line them up like this.  The triangle tips should stick out about a quarter inch.  

11.  Sew from point to point (along the red line I drew).  The tape you see in the center is in line with my needle making this easier.  

12.  Press and sew your binding strip together the same way you would any other binding, but be careful about stretching it too much as you sew. 

13.  Enjoy the look of your bias binding.  

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  


P.S.  I will be linking up with some of the parties on my sidebar.  There is something fun for every day of the week. 


  1. I was away from blogland for a couple of weeks and look at you - you quilted up a storm, tutorials and all.
    Keep it up and continue inspiring us all!!!

  2. What a great tutorial, Jasmine. I tend to just use straight grain bindings, but making one awkward cut and then rotating the fabric is really a helpful tip I will definitely keep in mind!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have never cut bias binding and your instructions make it simple! :)

  4. Thank you for this, Jasmine! It probably is not going to happen in the next couple of quilts I finish but I AM going to do this :) Your tutorial is awesome, I'm bookmarking for the future :)

  5. Great tutorial, Jasmine!---Well organized and presented.

  6. This is so much simpler than the many tutorials that I have seen - most involve folding the material is some obscure fashion which I can't seem to get. Thanks so much for writing this up.

  7. Thanks for sharing this fabulous tutorial, Jasmine! I have only made bias binding twice. Your method is perfect!

  8. Today on my blog, I said these words: "Bias binding and I do not get along." I know my major problem is with stretching the fabric while I sew. But bias bindings are so cute with fabrics with a strong directional pattern. Now I'm reading your blog, and with your clear directions, I'm thinking that just maybe I need to give it another try. Thanks for the tutorial!

  9. I haven't tried bias binding yet so this is great to see. thanks!


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