Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continuous Bias

I am working on several projects right now that require a large amount of piping. Instead of piecing several bias strips together I prefer to make a continuous bias strip.

First, I start with a piece of fabric. I am using white pique. I have pulled a thread to find the horizontal straight of grains. I do not want to tear my fabric for this because it will distort the fabric edges a little.

Then I cut the fabric on a 45 degree angle. The longer my bias edge is, the fewer seams I am going to have. This is great for sewing because I don't want to have a seam line in the middle of a collar edge or the front of a bodice.

For this tutorial my bias fabric is 15 1/2 inches wide and 17 1/2 inches long.

On the wrong side of the fabric I have marked bias lines that are 1 1/4" apart. Notice on the left side that I have a little bit extra. Not a problem. This will be trimmed off later.

Now for the tricky and the most important part. I am going to match up my bias lines, but I am going to offset the first row. If I don't do this and match up my lines perfectly, I will end up with pretty little circles instead of a continuous bias strip.

Here is a close up of how I pinned the lines together. My straight pin is going through the middle of both lines, 1/4 inch from the edge.

After everything is matched up, I stitch a 1/4 inch seam. The seam is pressed opened, then it is trimmed down to about an 1/8th inch. My sleeve board works great when I am pressing open little seams.

With a good pair of shears I start cutting on the lines. I start on one end and just follow the lines that I drew.

To make the piping I place a cord in the middle of the bias strip. In this tutorial I have used gimp cord. I am using my #3 foot on my Bernina. This foot is actually a button hole foot but it works great for piping. My needle position has been moved over to the left and my stitch length has been set to longer stitch.

And I end up with 138 inches of piping! That is almost 4 yards.

Don't need piping? Here is my tutorial for making double fold bias tape


  1. I did this once a long time ago and it worked great. Then I came home and tried it and ended up with little circles. Since then, I've been too scared to try it again so I just have been piecing strips together. Your tutorial is great though and I think I am over my fear and will try it again! Thanks!

  2. This IS a great tutorial! I haven't done this technique in a long-long time, thanks bunches for a reminder of how it's done right! Next time I need alot of bias strips, I am going to try to remember to do it this way!

  3. Hum... this looks like a great idea. I can't wait to try it!

  4. that is so clever!!! :) thanks for the idea. i'm abt to embark on my first ever smocking project and i've picked one of ur free patterns. will link u up!! thanks again...hope i dont screw up....

  5. Janet, I have seen this technique before but never as clearly explained & photographed as yours. Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. I am SEW bookmarking this page!!!!!