Making your own bias binding

I’m making a romper for Edith. We were given one similar last year from Marks and Spencer and it was worn to death so I was determined to find a pattern for one as close as possible. I eventually found this one from Tiny Design Co Patterns. It’s not identical but it’s pretty close. While making it, I decided it would make a post about making your own bias binding.

I bought my fabric from my local fabric shop earlier this year. It’s a polycotton so it didn’t break the bank and Edith was quite taken with the button display. I let her choose from either strawberries, daisies or ladybirds. She chose little ladybirds, whether this was a conscious choice on her part or not it doesn’t matter. I like to think that it was.

I’ve gone through the make up of the garment as suggested. When I got to the neck binding section of the instructions I decided that it would be more even if I made bias binding and also easier to apply.

How do you start?

First you need to cut bias strips. What does this mean? When you cut a strip parallel with the selvedge edge, this is following the grain. It’s really strong but it has no flexibility so not suitable for curving around necklines or armholes. But perfect for quilting.

The bias is 45 degrees to the selvedge, it has a bit of stretch to it and can be manipulated into curves so perfect for use in garment making. To find the bias you can either use a set-square but if you don’t have one of those it’s quite simple to figure out. First take your selvedge edge and rip across the width of the fabric to form a right angled square edge. If you don’t have any selvedge left, just rip across both the width and length of the fabric.

Next bring the two square edge sides together to form a triangular shape. Press into place, open out fabric again and use a ruler to draw a straight line along crease. You now have your bias. Cut your strips to your desired width. For this pattern they’re 4cm wide.

Nifty little tool

Now you need a bias maker. You can get these in a variety of widths. I bought a set of 5 bias makers from Amazon for under £20 which was great value for money.

Insert your fabric strip with the right side down into the widest part of the maker and out the narrowest part. If you can’t get your fabric to come out, use a pin to push the fabric down the central slot, that’s what it is for.

Now gently pull the maker using the little handle along the fabric and press as you go. Just be careful as the iron might make the metal hot and you don’t want to burn your fingers. Also don’t pull your fabric too tight as this will make your bias really narrow and pull all the stretch out of it which defeats the object.

And if you did cut your fabric a little wobbly it doesn’t matter too much because once the fabric is pressed through the maker the folded edges are (in theory) even. This is kind of what is suggested in the instructions but the method in the instructions is quite laborious and liable to burn your fingers or get you frustrated if you’re not very good at ironing stuff evenly.

Now with the creases ready I can open out my binding and line it up with the cut edge of my garment and sew down the crease. Once the binding is sewn in place it looks lovely.

Et voila!

When I got the romper out to show Edith before putting the snaps on, she was so excited and she spent the rest of the evening wearing it even though it was incomplete. I had to finish it pronto so that she could wear it the following day.

This pattern is lovely. I went with the size based on Edith’s average age as I knew before I started, it was going to be baggy and I wanted to see the designer’s intention. I guess this is a nice toile. I think it is a bit too baggy for my dainty girl, so the next one I make will be slimmer around the body. But that’s not going to stop her enjoying it.

Thanks for reading.

Rosie xx

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