“Bias Binding Tips”

I finished all the baby changing pad covers for my niece and thought I would send a hooded towel to Germany with them, just for an added surprise!  Since the hooded towel would have rounded corners, I needed to use bias binding to finish the edges.  When working with corners that are 90 degrees as is the case when binding a quilt, you can use binding cut on the width of fabric (WOF) since no stretch is needed when making mitered corners.  For rounded corners however, WOF binding will not lie down and conform to the curve making a big mess with much more struggle than the task deserves.  The finished product would be a “Bless your heart, you made that yourself, didn’t you?” moment that no one could deny!  Here are a few tips I hope you find helpful the next time you give bias binding a go.

My favorite tool to use when making bias binding is the Binding Buddy. It makes quick work of cutting 2.5″ binding. One end is straight…
…and the other end is cut off at a 45 degree angle.
Place the 45 degree angle along the straight edge of your fabric and cut your fabric. It will be on the bias, just like magic!
When joining the strips, you will be joining two 45 degree angles. Line them up like this, then flip one side over the other so the right sides are facing one another…
…like this. Look familiar? If you had squared edges, you would be lining up the fabric the same way you do when joining WOF strips.
Sew a 1/4″ seam, following the 45 degree edge.
I like to use a 1/4″ piecing foot for this with the needle in center position.
Press the seam open so it lies nice and flat.
Remember to cut off the little dog ears!
If some of your strips have a straight edge and some a 45 degree edge, no problem!
Just place the straight edge piece over the 45 degree angle piece and stitch going from top to bottom. This is exactly how you join WOF binding strips.
You’ll need to switch to a regular sewing foot for these strips.
Simply trim off the excess and press the seam open.
Warning: by using all the strips, both straight edge and 45 degree angle edges, you will end up with seams going in different directions. I have not found this to be a problem with the materials and prints I have used, but be aware.
Once your strips are joined, fold in half, wrong sides together, and press.
Remember, it is very important that you do not stretch your bias binding while pressing or sewing! It will hold a curve and will stretch out of shape easily. What makes it so great on curves makes it tricky to work with!
Because of bias binding’s tendency to stretch, it’s really important to lower your presser foot pressure before sewing. I lowered mine from 6.5 to 3.0.
I used my 1/4″ piecing foot, with the foot pressure lowered, to attach the binding. I always attach my bindings to the right side and fold to the back. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do not stretch the binding as you sew. It will feel as if you need to stretch the binding, especially around corners, but resist that urge!
I used the open toe Sewing Stars foot to stitch in the ditch. I line up the ditch with the finger at the front of the foot and I’m golden! This is how it looks from the front.
This is how it looks from the back.
This is how my curve looks from the back…
…and this is how the same curve looks from the front. This bias is flat with no waves or tucks because I did not pull it around the corner, I just guided it. If you see rippled bias binding on a project, that is a sure indication it was stretched either by the sewer or by the foot pressure on the machine.
The finished product. Can you tell the theme for the baby is Winnie the Pooh?
Here are the three changing pad covers and the hooded towel ready for their trip to Germany!

Happy Sewing!