The side seams and bottom hem of our Butterick apron panel need finishing with bias binding. I am not a big fan of making bias binding, but in the case of this apron, I totally think it’s worth it. It’s such a pretty detail!
However. Unless you’re working with a fabric that can be pressed into a nice, crisp fold, don’t bother. You will just end up tearing your hair out and swearing violently! If you are working with anything that has spring and fluidity, just go out and buy yourself some bias binding. You’ll thank me for it.
Now, there are lots of techniques and equipment out there to help with the making of bias binding. I have one thing to say to those techniques and pieces of equipment: harrumph! They have let me down. So, this is how I make bias binding. Launch in if you have tips of your own – just don’t recommend a bias binding maker to me!
We need to make a 4 x 70 inch (10 x 178 cm) strip of fabric, cut on the bias. It needs to be cut on the bias so that it has lots of give for going round our scalloped edge.
I take my piece of fabric and find a selvedge. I know that will be true and straight to do any measuring against. I then take my French ruler and find the line that shows a 45 degree angle – this is what we need to cut out on. I make chalk marks so that I can start chalking out one long line across the fabric.
From this line I measure along 2 inches and draw another line. From that line, I measure along another 2 inches and draw a third line. And so on…
Soon, I can cut three strips. There’s some wastage of fabric in that bottom corner. Anything cut on the bias is notorious for eating up fabric and wasting fabric. In this case, I’m not going to shed any tears. I’ll save that for another project!
Please note that I have sliced straight through to the ends of the fabric section. Do the same! As a loose guide for our apron needs, I cut three strips:
22 x 4 inch
29 x 4 inch
30 x 4 inch
Sewn together, these give me a strip that is 81 inches long. This is more than required, but I am very happy with that. You can always take away, but you can’t add – a good mantra to live your seamstress life by!
Now, I sew these three strips together to make one strip. I want them to join up thus:
Right sides together, I pin the two sections together. Important note: I’m not matching up the pointy ends of my fabric, I’m overlapping those points so that the long edges of the fabric strips meet up. Can you see that overlap? That’s what we want.
I sew and trim and then do the same to attach my third strip of fabric. Wah-hay! I now have a really long bias strip. Now my best friend, the iron, will help me turn this into bias binding.
I turn the steam off on my iron. With the amount of fiddling this takes, I don’t want hurt fingertips. Ouch! First, I trim and press open the little seams between the three strips of fabric. Then I press over a fold in the centre of the fabric, wrong sides together.
Now, I open this back out and start pressing one of the long edges in to meet the centre crease. I’m careful where I place my iron – I don’t want to inadvertently press out that guiding centre crease.
Rocking and rolling! Now, I bring the second long edge in to also meet the centre crease and press in the same way.
Then I give everything one last press!
Yay! Pain free fashion fabric bias binding. I’m not going to use mine straight away, which means I need to roll it up neatly so that all that careful pressing doesn’t go to waste. Do the same if you’re taking a break between stages.
What do we think, guys? This is really coming together!