How to Create a Flawless Bias Tape Insert

Here’s an example of how you can incorporate flawless bias tape into a home décor project.

Here’s an example of how you can incorporate flawless bias tape into a home décor project.

Great sewing is centered around flawless details. One of my favorite techniques is to apply a contrasting bias tape to trim my garments, quilts, and wall hangings. Using this bias tape as a trim grounds a project and ties all the fabric and design elements together. Taking the time to apply bias tape elevates a project from ordinary to extraordinary.

You’ll often see these types of details on very expensive couture garments and home decor. But this is the challenge: it has to be flawless! The width of the bias tape must be consistent and the stitching lines must be clean and crisp. But here’s the good news, after 50 plus years of sewing, I have developed a technique that guarantees a perfect finish to your bias tape. (Bonus: it’s easy!)

The following instructions will create a 5/8 inch bias tape as shown on the comforter and in the chest seam of the dress.

Tips Before You Begin

To make this project more interesting, I hand-painted the fabric to complement the bias tape.

To make this project more interesting, I hand-painted the fabric to complement the bias tape.

If you are using this technique on a garment, make sure the pattern you are using fits the intended person. Alteration to seams where this trim is applied makes the alterations more difficult.

If you are using light fabric against dark fabric, test the bias fabric to make sure the main fabric will not show through the bias fabric.

Before you head to the sewing machine, you will want to decide where you want the trim to be placed on your project. Because the fabric is cut on the bias, it will work on areas that are curved as well as straight lines. I normally place the trim on an area where I want to draw attention. If you are easing fabric such as the bust line, I would recommend placing the bias embellishment on the center front pieces rather than the piece that is to be gathered or eased.

Creating the Bias Tape

flawless bias trim 1 Step 1: Start by folding your fabric on a 45 degree angle. With a straight edge cut the fabric in 1½ inch strips.

flawless bias trim 2 Step 2: Next place the bias fabric on the main fabric with the pretty sides facing each other. Using a sewing gauge, position the bias fabric 1” from the edge of the fabric.

flawless bias trim 4 Step 3: Next, fold over the bias tape and press toward the edges of the garment or project. Top stitch or baste the raw edge of the bias tape to the main fabric. Stitch about ¼ inch from the side of the main fabric. This keeps the bias fabric from slipping or moving.

flawless bias trim 3 Step 4: Now using the edge of your presser foot, follow the edge of the bias fabric. This should give you about a ¼ inch seam line. If it’s not exactly ¼ inch, that’s okay as long as you are consistent with the use of the presser foot.

The next step is to sew the seams of the garment or project. Pin the two pieces together.

flawless bias trim 5 Step 5: Before sewing the main fabric together, flip the fabric pieces over so the first stitching line of the bias tape is visible. Instead of stitching 5/8 from the edge of the fabric, follow the previous stitching line exactly 5/8 of an inch. In theory, if this is done correctly, you will end up with a perfect bias tape and a 5/8 seam!

flawless bias trim 6 Step 6: Now open the seam and press as recommended and… voila! Perfect!

bias trim dress 2 This bias tape when placed on the chest seam is the perfect accent to finish this dress. There are loads of ways you can incorporate this technique into your own projects and designs though. So what will you make using your own flawless bias tape? Let us know in the comments!


Related Video: Using Bias Fabric Grain

Wendy Haight Scribner is a quilter, designer, inventor, and entrepreneur living in Hidden Springs, Idaho. She began sewing when she was just 8 years old. Her passion for all things fabric has and will always be the central focus of her life. You can connect with Wendy on Facebook or visit her Etsy shop, Wendy Haight Create, to see her hand-painted apron kits and other one-of-a-kind treasures.


Get in touch! Leave a comment or email editor@nationalsewingcircle.com


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Discussion
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19 Responses to “How to Create a Flawless Bias Tape Insert”
  1. RB

    Step 2 photo shows the back of the fabric and step 3 shows the front. But there’s nothing in the text that says to flip the fabric over. Best guess — the pic should go with step 4 instead (“Top stitch or baste the raw edge of the bias tape to the main fabric”). Also, text isn’t clear about trim vs edge finishing. Garment has both, but instructions are only about trim. Headline is similarly ambiguous.

    TL; DR: good info is poorly presented in both words and pics.

    Reply
    • National Sewing Circle

      Hi!

      Yes, you are correct about the order of the photos. The text and photo of step 4 should come before step 3. You will fold and press the bias tape before stitching the 1/4″ from the outer edge.

      Also, to clarify the text- these instructions are just for a bias tape embellishment or insert, like what is shown on the chest seam and on the comforter. We will get the text changed so that it is more clear.

      Thank you and I hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. Emelyn Matawaran

    It’s helpful I can incorporate this in my sewing projects.

    Reply
  3. gaylerush

    but the insie seam will be a raw edge. shouln’t the piece be zigzaged before sewing it onto your project>

    Reply
  4. Tavette

    My mom sewed beautifully (on her own machine) and got us a Singer Featherweight (still have it & it has never needed servicing, except for our cleaning & oiling it) when we were in elementary school so I’ve also been sewing all my life. I mean this in a CONSTRUCTIVE way, but if I found this bias tape tutorial to be very confusing. Beginners need clear step by step instruction. The tutorial shows measuring from the cut edge of the bias fabric to the cut edge of the main fabric. It would have been clearer if the main fabric hadn’t been white – same color as the bed of the machine bed. Then, – identify the fabric colors as to what part of the technique they are. The example shows (from top to bottom) (1) dull underside of the blue print bias fabric, right colorful side of blue bias strip, strip of brown (where did brown come from???) , dull underside of blue print bias and then a large piece of brown fabric. That was totally confusing to me. Never saw that brown fabric again.

    To create the bias strips, sewers were instructed to fold fabric (better to have made it clear that you meant the fabric you wanted to cut into bias strips) at 45 degrees and then cut 1.5″ strips. New sewers aren’t gonna know what that 45 degrees fold means but a photo at this point would have showed how to do it.

    One of the next steps goes from the dull underside of the bias strip to the right side of the bias strip facing up, BUT, it hadn’t yet said to turn the dull underside of the bias strip over.

    I could critique the whole tutorial and I mean NO DISRESPECR WHATSOEVER, but I think this tutorial is very confusing.

    Tavette – S. Fla.

    Reply
    • National Sewing Circle

      Hi, Tavette. We would like to let you know that your feedback has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of our online video streaming community.

      Reply
  5. Margaret

    could you show how to use the bias tape finish on quilts? I would like to be able to do it by machine and have it look nice (like on the bibs) My hands cramp badly when I do it by hand. Thank you Margaret Bernard

    Reply
  6. Karen

    I tried to access 6 of the “free” videos and after waiting 10.minutes for each one to load (to give them fair and ample time) NOT A SINGLE one loaded! Is there a secret to accessing videos?

    Reply
    • National Sewing Circle

      Hi Karen. We are sorry you are having trouble viewing the videos. We have sent you a troubleshooting email to help with this. Or if you would like you can contact our customer service team at 1-855-208-7187 and someone would be happy to assist you.

      Reply
  7. SH

    I am an experienced sewer, and your instructions were unclear to me. There is no way I can insert a bias strip using them. I wish you’d rewrite, this time for clarity.

    Reply
  8. M B Paz

    “Pretty sides together”? Why not use the most accepted term “right sides together” accompanied by a clear photo? This way anyone who does not immediately know the term will quickly learn it and it will recognize it when they see it on 99% of other sewing tutorials? Have to agree with other posters, VERY poorly written and honestly a waste of my time.

    Reply
  9. turtle2dove03

    What a confusing instructional video. I see all of the previous responses that have been submitted on this video have not been acted on. All of the same confusing pictures and instructions are still shown. The title should read “How to be confused on making a bias tape insert”.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      We appreciate your feedback and it has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of new programs and offers. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.
      Hallie
      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  10. CME

    Sorry, but I need to rant about the complaints here. I understood what she has written and the pictures were easy to see. I so wish people would be grateful for the hard work that many of these contributors add to this website. Whatever happened to the Golden Rule: do (say) unto others as you would have them do (say) to you! Thank you for this information!

    Reply