Turning corners with bias binding

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.Earlier this month we looked at making bias tape or bias binding (is there a difference?)

How to make continuous bias tape and use the Clover bias maker tool

How to work out how much a square of fabric will make, or how to decide how big a square you need to start with for any given length – swanky calculator spreadsheet or handy table

Now it's time to start using it.  But oh dear, it's not as easy as you might think when you start out.  A straight line is fine, but corners – oh my!  I just assumed because it was on the bias and stretchy, that I just would bend it slightly round the corners and that would be fine.  You do not want to see my first attempt – its a sewing nightmare!

So after much research and trial and error, I am now much improved, although my accuracy could still improve to get the most neat finish. But take a look at these steps for how to turn a corner with your bias binding.  If you go on to join me in some of the projects later this month, you'll need to know how to do this.


Turning corners with bias binding

Sew along the fold in your bias tape, keeping the tape level with the raw edge of the project being bound.  As you approach the corner, stop sewing but leave the needle in place and the presser foot down.

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

Fold the bias tape up at a 90 degree angle lining it up with the point of the approaching corner.  This will give you a diagonal 45 degree angle at the corner.  Finger-press to leave a small crease then open it back out again.

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

Now continue sewing until you get to that diagonal crease.  Back stitch a few stitches and cut your thread.

Refold the tape on the diagonal.  Then fold the tape back down at a 90 degree angle so that the free end is now laying flat along the direction you'll be sewing next.  Pop in a pin, or just hold it in place as you take it back to the machine.

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

Start stitching in the fold line right at the edge of the fabric and sew to nearly the next corner.  Repeat the steps above to turn the next corner until you are completed.

This is how the corner will look when you turn it the right side out.

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

Phew – not so difficult when you know how.  But what about the back I hear you ask.  Let's take a look at what happens when you turn it to the other side.

Smooth out the front side you just sewed and turn the remaining bias tape over to the back of your project.  Turn under at the fold and pin neatly in place, making sure that you just cover the stitching line from the front side.  When it comes to the corners, fold in one side, then the other and if the sides are nice and even, you should get a nice neat 45 degree corner, like this one.  Pin in place.

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

Now its time to stitch around once more.  I like to stitch again from the original side, just inside the edge I stitched before, and this should catch the bias tape folded over to the back.  Just double check the fold on the corners as you get to it.

Here is the finished result, front and back.

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

And here is my finished over-sized mug rug, made from just a few scraps of fabric left-overs.  Room for a big mug of creamy cappuccino and a Chocolate Hob-Nob!  (That's a favorite dunk-able cookie from the UK.)

Turning corners with bias binding.  How to get nice neat, sharp and even corners front and back.

Working with bias binding, and making nice neat edges, turns and corners has given me an even greater appreciation for the skills of all the quilters out there, where accuracy in sewing and seam allowances in so important.
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30 Responses to Turning corners with bias binding

  1. Pingback: How to make and use piping - So Sew Easy

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  3. Sonja M says:

    I have come to the conclusion I am just dumb. I can’t deem to make the last joint/ seam to save my life!!!! As a def taught quilter/sewer !! I end up doing the final end piece square.
    I just doesn’t seem to matter how wonderful the tutorial. What the heck is wrong with me?!?!?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Firsts of all Sonja, kudos because of despite of you being de def you are trying. Please don’t give up. Do not start applying the bias at the corner but rather do it around the middle of the square. This is a common mistake that new sewers make, I have made this mistake, is that what is happening here?

    • Janis says:

      You are like the rest of us that can’t seem to get it.

  4. Marilyn says:

    Where do you start and finish when applying bias binding?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      You need to start away from the corners.

      • Elena says:

        Away from the corner at least the same distance as the tape is wide. Also, start sewing with a 5 inch tail of bias tape/binding so that you will have sufficient excess to join the seam at the end for a perfect fit

  5. Stella Boyd says:

    I love making fleecy blankets for my grandchildren but I hate the binding part ,I have tried several methods but have never really been pleased with the outcome . I will try yours as it looks so simple. Thanx for the tutorial.

  6. Sue says:

    As a tutorial, it would be much easier to see if you used contrasting material. As it is it is very difficult to see.

  7. jennifer says:

    Great tutorial – thanks so much! My first time using bias tape around corners and it came out almost perfect.

  8. VivC says:

    Hi Deby. I’ve just purchased your travel wallet pattern and can’t wait to make one. I’ve had a look at your hints and tips and am delighted with the support you are giving us sewers. I hope to make a successful item which I’ll be proud to use.
    Many thanks

  9. Anna McCoy says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. I used to use my grandma as my go to knowledge base for all things sewing, but I lost her a few years ago. But I remember her doing exactly this. Thanks again.

  10. Jack says:

    Hi Deby, This is my very first time I have ever tried to sew. I am (trying) to make some gifts for my daughter for Christmas. I ran into a problem on the last corner. HELP.

  11. Barbie says:

    You make it look so easy! It turned out beautifully, I can’t wait to try it 🙂

  12. Marti says:

    Thanks for sharing this helpful tip! Pinned! 🙂

  13. Karen M says:

    Again you make it look so easy, always look forward for your post on Sunday mornings. Thanks Deby

  14. Julie says:

    I love your super easy to follow hints and tips – thanks!

  15. katiasafia says:

    je vous remercie pour tous ces trucs de couture

  16. Pauline says:

    thank you deby I am just about to border my picture quilt, this will be very helpful

  17. freckledots says:

    You know, I’ve been making and sewing on bias binding for the last few years and it is my most dreaded part of any project or quilt, but a necessary evil. I had never, in all the time doing it, thought to turn up the 45 degree angle BEFORE I got to the freaking edge. I had always just tried to guess where my seam would need to end. Sometimes it’s the simplest things. I also always try to stitch in the ditch on the return, but this looks really nice done on just the inside of the ditch. Think I’ll try that on this next quilt I’m supposed to bind.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thanks for being so kind! I know a lot of tutorials will tell you to stitch in the ditch to hide the stitches, but in all honesty, by sewing isn’t accurate enough to get every stitch in the right place, and wiggling about here and there only seems to end up looking worse. So I like to follow the edge of the binding and not try to hide the stitches. I think it turns out all right for most projects, but of course for the most precious of quilts etc, invisibly stitching down with hand would be the way to go to get the perfect finish. My time is too short to aim for perfect!

  18. Danice says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. I found you on SHOW-Licious’ Link Party 🙂

  19. Vivien Levermore says:

    if you were a quilter you would be doing this all the time. Also it looks nice stitched down with a blanket/buttonhole stitch or one of the fancy embroidery stitches if your machine has them.

  20. Misha says:

    I hate bias binding because mine always comes out skew so I’ve signed up for a craftsy course on bias binding and edges. I’ve done lesson one and two and have already picked up some tips.

  21. You made that look so easy!

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