Friday, September 16, 2011

Bias Strips Tute, Method #3

I just made 22 yards of bias strips for the welting for Audrey's cushions. It went very quickly and I like this new technique I tried. I found it gave me more accuracy and was pretty easy. I call it Method Three or Bagged Bias because you sort of make a bag at the start. I used Method Three because I think we all know the fold it up and rotary cut method (#1), the method that looks like a pair of pants (#2) and this one. It is sort of like Method #2, but I think less hassle. 
I got this method from this really fabulous book on making slipcovers by Sunset. This book is so clear and I've yet to find a question unansered. Its all in there. (Sorry for the big white blob. It's better than the big white glare that was there originally.)

  • Square off your fabric. Mine is 36 by 52. Fold along the short end. You have a fold at the top. Pin the other three sides, matching as needed. At the machine stitch the three pinned edges, not the folded one, with a half inch seam. Don't bother making small stitches or fussing at the corners. 
Cut off all four corners about an inch and a quarter down. I didn't go that far on this one and should have. I had to compensate later instead.
You will need to be able to get a pair of scissors thru the corner. This is a knitting needle, just to make the point.
  • Mark each corner. With the fold at the top, top left is A, top right is C, bottom left is B, bottom right is D.
  • Fold it so it looks like this pic in the book, with A and B at the bottom and D andC folded and at the top. I found it helped to press in the crease from C to D. Then slip your scissors in the D hole/corner and cut across the crease to C. CUT ONE LAYER ONLY!!!  
ETA, 09/27/12: It appears a typo is in the book regarding A and B. Just ignore the letters A and B and make sure you have folded the "bag" so it looks like the picture, folding on the imaginary line between C and D. Make sure you cut ONE LAYER ONLY from D to C and it will all work well. 

This will give you a big bias tube. You will have to shake it out a bit to make the tube. Once you get the tube shape square it all off again. Press your seams open as well.

Six inches from the left side of the tube, from the fold, measure and mark a line. From that six inch line draw a line every 1 5/8ths inch or whatever is appropriate. This is for home dec welting, not piping so I am using 1 5/8ths. You may want narrower for piping. 

With your rotary cutter cut each long strip but only up to the long  vertical line. Now open up the solid section and rearrange the tube to  so the solid section  is all flat in front of you. Time to get out the pencil again!
I've emphasized this with a white line. Draw a line diagonally from the beginning of each cut on the left to each cut on the right, moving down one  section. Your lines will all be diagonal as above. Cut across those lines, the white ones here, and voila, you are done and now have miles of bias strips all in one continuous piece. I think this is the cleanest, neatest method I have tried and hope you give it a shot next time you need some bias stripping.

For those concerned that the stripes will now be "off" it is totally unnoticeable on the cushions as you can see in later posts and above. 

The last of my dehyrated tomatoes. You can see they are still quite fleshy. The insides are grey with the pepper/sugar/salt mix that was sprinkled on. DH says I put up about a hundred pounds. Dressed weight, not so much! These will be wonderful popped in a salad come the middle of winter when tomatoes are 3.99 a pound.

The bias stripping was my first step in the process of making the window seat cushions. Next will come glueing the batting to the foam. Tomorrow will be a sunny day so a good one to work outside. I don't like those fumes from the spray adhesives getting sprayed inside the house. Till then........Bunny


  1. Hi Bunny,
    I love that method - it is the way I learned to make bias when a lot is required. You did a great job on the tutorial.

    Your tomatoes are just luscious. Homegrown are simply the best.

  2. hmm interesting! have bookmarked this! will surely try it out! Thanks for sharing!
    Adithis Amma Sews

  3. I love this's so easy and yet efficient and makes bias strips look so professional. And tomatoes at $3.99/lb...I we get them cheaper, but in the middle of summer they are grainy, tasteless and just blah...that's why home grown is the only way to go...all scared and split from ripening....yours look wonderful!

  4. Love this method. Will definitely have to give it a try!

  5. I remember seeing this method demonstrated before but not as clearly as you have explained it, Bunny. Thanks! Great tut, as always!

    Do you think I can dehydrate tomatoes in my oven?? Answer here in this comment section & I'll subscribe by email to get all responses, & will see it, along with others who might want to try your recipe, even if they don't own a dehydrator.


  6. great tip on the bias binding - and the tomatoes looks yummy

  7. Glad you all liked the tute. I find I can get really correct measurements and cuts this way.

    You can dehydrate tomatoes in the oven. I have seen 150º - 175º suggested. You must keep checking on these at least once an hour. Don't do them overnight as I guarantee they will dry too much. You want them a tad fleshy for the best flavor and texture, IMO. So start this project in the AM when you will be home most of the day.

    I find the time it takes is really dependent on the weather. My first batch took about 8 hours in the dehydrator on a very rainy day. The last batch took about 6 hours on a dry day. This will all be a bit faster in the regular oven as my dehydrator works at about 140º for tomatoes. The wetter the tomato the longer it will take as well. This is one reason Romas work so well, lots of flesh, less seeds and juice. If you have a convection oven it would be perfect for this as the fan would work like the fan in the dehydrator. I am heavy handed with the spice mixture. It leans toward the pepper side, so be aware of that as well. Good luck to those who give it a try. I'm here for ya'.

  8. Thanks Bunny! I DO have a convection oven setting on mine & rarely use it, but this will be perfect. We're getting LOTS of ripening ones now. I saw on your blog you went down to at least 33º last night. Brrrrrrr! Put an extra quilt on the bed, Honey!
    My E. has his electric blanket turned up on high already. LOL


  9. Thanks for the great explanation and tip on the Sunset book. I just bought fabric today to slipcover my sofa. What perfect timing!

  10. Thanks for the tut on bias binding and also the tomatoes!!

  11. Hi Bunny....thanks for the great tute. You've inspired me to make a bias-tube of my own soon :)

    It can be fun to take the squared-off tube and instead of cutting it onto strips...use it as a pieced length of fabric and cut a garment from it. Where you place the pattern pieces (dress, top, shirt, whatever) on the stitched seams of the tube can result in a really cool looking garment !

    1. Brilliant idea, Pam! Have to roll that one around the brain for a bit!

  12. Great tute..I will love using it on my bindings for quilts. I have used a similar technique, but this looks so much easier and accurate.

  13. I have this book and was very frustrated because I could never understand the directions. Until now. Thank you for pointing out that the corner points in the diagram are marked incorrectly. Ah!


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