There you stand in the fabric store, staring at that giant display of Bias tapes and bindings in front of you, the shiny cellophane packages glinting in their neat, color coordinated rows. Single fold, double fold, blanket, quilt. Geeze! What’s what? Do you just throw a dart and hope for the best? No! You study your S4H Sizing ID Chart and get exactly what you really need.
Here are the basic facts about the six most common types of bindings.
Single Fold Bias tape
This is the flat Bias Trim with both raw edges folded in. Bear in mind, all packaged Bias tapes we’ve found have a slight gap between the folded-in edges. In this case, the completely flat starting tape is just under 1″. It finishes at ½” with one folded edge measuring about ¼”, the opposite side measuring about 3/16″, and with an approximate 1/16″ gap at the center. If you remember your fraction math, these three widths added together equal the ½” finished width. The Bias tapes described below will follow a similar pattern.
But why is one folded edge slightly wider than the other? This is common with all packaged Bias tape and is because when applying, you often need one side to be a bit wider to accommodate the stitch-wrap-and-stitch-again Binding method. For more about making and attaching Bias Binding, check out our full tutorial.
Single fold Bias tape usually requires stitching along both edges… similar to applying ribbon. It’s normally used for Trim, casings and narrow facings.
Extra Wide Single Fold Bias tape
Just like the single fold above, but this Bias Trim finishes at just shy of 1″; the official measurement is ⅞” or .875″. Like its skinnier cousin, it usually requires stitching along both edges and is most often used for Trim, casings, facings and hems.
Double Fold Bias tape
This is basically the single fold Bias tape from above, folded in half. It’s almost always used as an edge Finish or to create ties. It finishes at ¼”.
Extra Wide Double Fold Bias tape
You’re noticing a pattern by now, I’ll bet. The extra wide double fold, is the extra wide single fold, folded in half. It finishes at ½”, and as above, is most often used as an edge Finish or for ties. This size is probably the most common options, and is one of our favorites for simple bindings, such as around a placemat or hot pad or even as edging for a bag flap.
Double Fold Bias tape Quilt Binding
We like to think of this as extra-extra wide double fold Bias Binding. When flat — with the raw edges folded in towards the middle, it is 1¾” wide, and it can certainly be used flat just like the narrower bindings above. Finished, quilt Binding measures ⅞”wide. Use it to Finish the edges of fabrics with bulk, like fleece blankets or, as the name implies: quilts.
This type of Binding is not technically a Bias tape, but is always offered in the same area as all the others described above so we’ve included it here. It is simply a 4″ wide satin ribbon folded once, in half, finishing at approximately 2″. As a “ribbon” – the long side edges are finished and will not ravel, however, when you cut across on the vertical, that edge can fray.
Most people choose this for finishing fleece blankets or replacing worn blanket Binding. It’s almost always satin so it creates that wonderfully smooth bound edge kids love to rub across the bridge of their noses when they suck their thumbs.
There you have it. Now… step up to that Bias tape display with confidence!
If you like these little helpful tips and tricks, you may also like our Sew4Home Sewing Cheat Cards. Each card covers an important, need-to-know sewing tip or technique in a handy business card size: 2” wide x 3½” high. You can download a set for yourself and all your sewing friends instantly from our Sew4HomeShop on Etsy. The Six Cards cover the following topics:
- How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle for the Job
- How to Read a Tape Measuring Down to 1/16”
- How to Convert Yards to Inches or Centimeters
- How to Draw a Perfect Circle
- How to Identify The Most Common Straight Line Shapes
- How to Create Hexagons, Pentagons, Triangles, Stars & More with Common Angles