Mary Catherine Longshore of Due Pinoli shares perfecting your bias-cut quilting.
Hi, I’m Mary Catherine Longshore of Due Pinoli and I love to make quilting fun and easy with skill-building patterns full of detailed, step-by-step instructions because quilting should be a joyful and restorative escape for everyone! Today I’m talking about cutting and sewing on the bias, including three tips for working with bias-cut fabric, and sharing a quick project to practice your bias binding skills.
What is fabric bias?
“Bias” is a term you might hear from quilters and sewists, but what does it mean and why does it matter? Most simply, cutting on the bias means cutting fabric at an angle relative to one of the straight edges.
When fabric is created, long threads (light purple in the image below) are first placed up and down on a loom. These are called the warp. Then, other threads (dark purple in the image below) are woven over and under the warp threads, like weaving a basket. These left-to-right woven threads are called the weft.
Often, when you cut fabric, you’ll cut it on grain which means you’re cutting it along the warp or weft threads with your ruler parallel to one of the straight edges of the fabric.
When you cut fabric on the bias, you are cutting on a diagonal line (dashed line in the images above and photo below) across both the warp and the weft.
This newly cut edge will be stretchy and will fray more easily.
Three Tips for Cutting and Sewing on the Bias
Follow these three tips to keep your bias edges straight and you’ll have a spectacular quilt in no time!
Practice Project: ‘Alpine Trivet’ with Bias Binding
Whenever you bind a project with rounded edges, it’s best to use bias binding to allow for more flexibility and to ensure a clean, smooth finish.
Some quilters use bias binding for every project, but I find bias binding more difficult to work with, so I save it for my projects with curved edges or for seams that need to move, such as coat and bag seams. To practice working with bias-cut fabric, make this quick round trivet and finish it with bias binding.
Making Bias Binding
1. From (1) fat quarter, cut (2) 2¼” x 22″ strips at a 45° angle relative to the selvedge. Use a ruler with a 45° line to make your bias cutting easier. Trim the ends of your strips to make them square.
2. Using a fabric marker, draw a 45° line across the short end of one of your binding strips. Place (2) strips RST perpendicular to each other, overlapping short ends, and sew across drawn line. Trim seam allowance to ¼”. Press seam open.
3. Lay your binding tails across one another RST and make a cross shape with the two creased seams. Draw a diagonal line across the intersection of the creased seams. Make sure both binding tails are on the same side of the diagonal line (mine are off to the right in the second photo below).
5. Once you’re happy with the fit of the binding, trim off the tails, leaving a ¼” seam allowance and finger press the seam open. Then, re-fold the binding in half lengthwise, press, and pin or clip into place along the raw edge of your trivet.
I’m a Texas mama who lives in Colorado and loves the incredible wildflowers in summer and tolerates the snow in winter. Quilting is my escape from daily life and raising my two little pine nuts (“due pinoli”). I created Due Pinoli to help others find joy from quilting with fun and easy projects. Follow me on Instagram at @DuePinoli and visit www.DuePinoli.com!
September 22, 2023
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