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Bias Tape Cheat Sheet

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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 Sew4Home Cheat Sheet and get exactly what you really need.

Here are the basic facts about the six most common types of bindings.

Single fold bias tape

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This is the flat bias trim with both edges folded in. It finishes at ½" and 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

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Just like the single fold above, but this bias trim finishes at 1". Like its skinny cousin, it usually requires stitching along both edges and is most often used for trim, casings, facings and hems.

Double fold bias binding

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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 binding

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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 is one of our favorites for simple bindings, such as around a placemat or hotpad or even as edging for a bag flap.

Quilt binding

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We like to think of this as extra-extra wide double fold bias binding. Quilt binding finishes at ⅞". Use it to finish the edges of fabrics with bulk, like fleece blankets or, as the name implies: quilts.

Blanket binding

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This type of binding is simply folded once, in half, finishing at approximately 2".  Most folks 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 tape display with confidence!


Comments (13)

Jim37 said:
Jim37's picture

I see what I need displayed here, The BIG challenge is finding where to purchase it....!!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Jim37 - Glad you found the article helpful. Packaged bias tape is readily available from sewing and craft outlets both in-store and online -- especially the Wrights brand pictured above. You shouldn't have trouble finding it.

LisaMiller said:
LisaMiller's picture

Yes -- I've found myself standing in front of the large display case many times.  And then going home empty handed.  Thank you for this cheat sheet.  :)


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ LisaMiller - you are so welcome. Glad to know you won't be going home empty-handed the next time!

nikki lee mee said:
nikki lee mee's picture

This is very helpful!

Until reading this, I was always very confused because the single fold tape actually has two folds! 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ nikki lee mee - mystery solved! Glad we could help!

C.Moore said:
C.Moore's picture

the double fold bias tape makes great ties for bustling wedding gowns! 

Connie Molnar said:
Connie Molnar's picture

I'm still sad that Wrights tapes are no longer made in Massachusetts.

BettyMey said:
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Great article - didn't really know what the real difference was for the different types. Thank you!

tilleybl said:
tilleybl's picture

Thanks for this run-down.  It's basically what I already knew on most of it, but loved you mentioned making "ties" with the tapes!  I hadn't thought of that!!  I love to make drawstring bags and this would be great.  I, too, inherited a small box of multiple bias tapes and satin tapes from my grandmother and now I know I can put them all to great use.  

Barbara Jean said:
Barbara Jean's picture

Thank you for this article.  I inherited several boxes of an assortment of bias tape.  Would you please run an article showing some crafty ideas to make with so much tape.  Thank you.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Barbara Jean - We have quite a few articles on the site that make sure of bias tape. You can search by that term or browse through the Project Index. But we have also made a note of your suggestion on our You Asked 4 It list of project requests. 

Nancyjc said:
Nancyjc's picture

This article is very helpful.  I've started to make my own bias strips and have been a little confused.  This clarifies everything and helps me to understand why the last attempt turned out to be way too small.  I've been sewing for years but never really had a need for bias tape.  Now I want to use it all the time so this is very helpful!  It's amazing how much we think we know but don't!   I learn something new on this site all the time.  Thanks!