Last week I did a “show and tell” about my new Compass Star tree skirt. Both the piping that attaches the stars to the background, and the binding we’re made with bias strips. I have a favorite way to cut bias strips and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before.
When I learned to sew, way back in the 70’s, the common way to make a long strip of bias was to cut a rectangle of fabric, mark parallel lines the width of the desired strips, sew the short ends together, offsetting the marked lines by one, and then hand-cut on the line all the way around.
It made a lot of bias, but sections of the length had oodles of seams, some quite close together. I never cared for that. So here’s my technique:
Open the yardage on the work surface, with the selvedges top and bottom . Lay the 45° line of a long ruler parallel to the selvedge at the bottom,
and with the long edge of the ruler in a place that will allow a nice long length of bias.
As you can see my ruler wasn’t long enough to complete the strip, but it was quite simple to cut half way up and then slide the ruler to cut the remainder.
I set aside the lower triangle, and folded the bottom selvedge edge towards the upper left:
until the freshly cut edge lies on top of itself:
Then I determined my strip width and aligned that line of my ruler with the cut edge, being sure to cut perpendicular to the fold at the bottom (my strips will be cut at 1 3/4″),
Cut as many strips as needed in this way.
Here they are unfolded. You’ll notice that the ends are all at 45 degrees when using this technique.
To join the strips: place one, right side up on the work surface, and position the second strip, right sides together and perpendicular as in the photo (I think of it as a right angle “7”), overlapping to form 1/4″ dog ears.
Stitch from the corner of one dog ear to the same spot on the other end.
Then press flat.
I like to chain stitch all the diagonal seams until the strips are all connected.
That’s all there is to it. In next week’s post I’ll demonstrate how to make corded piping from bias strips and use it to “appliqué” my compass stars to the background.