Create Bias Tape Loop Binding
for
Small Projects

I developed this method of binding for making small things like potholders, notebook covers, and place mats.  I find that with smaller projects, it is difficult to achieve a nice flat/crisp looking binding finish because of the lack of room to maneuver right at the end.

This tutorial takes you through the process of calculating your binding length, cutting the bias tape binding strip, and then closing/finishing the binding loop.

Go to Applying Loop Binding when you are finished.

CAUTION: This binding method works very well for me however it can take a bit of finesse. If you would like to try it out, please do so at your own risk.  I recommend that you actually read this tutorial carefully, along with looking at the pictures, because your chances of success will go up greatly!  (I only say this because when there are pictures, I hardly ever read).

Unless you’re like me and always throw caution to the wind, I recommend you test this method PRIOR to applying it to your “good” project.

Use 1/2″ Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape

The continuous loop binding is different from your typical binding in that you finish off your binding before you apply it to your project.

This tutorial assumes the use of purchased pre-made bias tape.  If you wish to make your own binding, see the tutorial on French Fold Loop Binding.

Step 1 – Measuring Your Project

Your calculations will most likely require you to convert fractions into decimals.  If you need, you can find a handy conversion chart that you can download and print.

Square
Measure all four sides of your project.  Use a ruler that has 1/8″ markings and be as accurate as you can.  If your measurement is 5 3/16″ for example, you would use 5.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the square project has 4 sides all measuring 8 1/2″.  Add the sides together and add 2″.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 36″ long.

8.5 + 8.5 + 8.5 + 8.5 = 34
34 + 2 = 36

Rectangular

Measure all four sides of your project.  Use a ruler that has 1/8″ markings and be as accurate as you can.  If your measurement is 5 3/16″ for example, you would use 5.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the rectangular project has 2 short sides measuring 8 3/4″ and two long sides measuring 11″.  Add the sides together and add 2″.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 41.5″ long.

8.75 + 8.75 + 11 + 11 = 39.5
39.5 + 2 = 41.5

Round

Measure the circumference of your project.  Use a vinyl or cloth tape measure for this task.  Do not use a hard ruler.  If your measurement is 29 3/16″ for example, you would use 29.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round. If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the round project is 28 1/4″ around.  Add 1/2″ to this number.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 28 3/4″ long.

28.25 + .5 = 28.75

Hexagonal

Measure all six sides of your project.  Use a ruler that has 1/8″ markings and be as accurate as you can.  If your measurement is 5 3/16″ for example, you would use 5.1875 in your calculation.  Try not to round.  Note: DO NOT ASSUME your sides are all the same length.  I recommend you double check your measurements and your math on hexagons prior to cutting your binding strip.

If you have more than one item you are binding, be sure to measure each one – DO NOT ASSUME they will be exactly the same size.

Example:  In this example, the rectangular project has 6 sides with the following measurements: 4 3/4 + 4 7/8 + 5 + 4 3/4 + 4 3/4 + 5 1/8 = 29 1/4

Measure all sides, measure again and re-check your math.  Add all six sides 29.25 and then add 2″.  Your cut binding strip will need to be 31.25″ long.

4.75 + 4.875 + 5 + 4.75 + 4.75 + 5.125 = 29.25
29.25 + 2 = 31.25

Step 2 – Preparing Your Bias Tape Strip(s)

Bias tape is wound on a piece of cardboard.  When you unwind it, it will have creases.  Iron out the creases so that your strip is nice and flat.  When you are finished, let your strip dry and cool completely before cutting it to the proper size.

Step 3 – Cut Strips to Size

Lay your binding strip(s) on your cutting mat along a horizontal line.  Line your edge up with the left-most vertical measuring line.  Do NOT stretch your strip, simply let it lay naturally.

If your strip fits on your measuring surface without having to fold it, line up the left edge of the strip to the right of the cutting line (see photo below).

The right side of your strip will be cut exactly on the cutting line.

If you find yourself needing to fold your strip in half, line up the folded edge to the right of the line.  You will need to hold this down with your finger.  (The fold could actually add a bit which could result in your strip being a bit too long).  The right side of your folded strip will be cut right on top of the cutting line.

If you are working with a folded piece, remeasure it after you cut to verify the length is accurate.

 

Step 4 – Finishing the Bias Tape Loop

Once your binding strip is cut, you will attach the two ends.  I do this at my ironing board so that I get a crisp line to follow but you can also do this with a ruler and a fabric pen.

Open up your binding strip at each end and press the folds flat about 1″ in from the end (I used a very short strip for the pictures).

 

Press the left corner down and the right corner up – or – draw a 45° line in fabric pen or chalk making sure you are right at the corner of the end of the strip.

Regardless if you choose to mark your 45° angle, or if you decide to press it in, your goal is to achieve this . . .

 

Bring the two folded edges together.  DO NOT twist the loop.  If you pressed or drew your line properly, the two ends should line up exactly.

The back will look like the photo below.  Notice you will have a perfect square.

Now you can pin along that 45° line or crease to hold it in place for sewing.  The right sides of the strip are facing each other and the outer edges should match exactly.  The two diagonal lines/creases are exactly matched.

Before you sew, open up your loop to just be sure it’s a perfect loop, it lays flat, and it is not twisted. Sew exactly on the crease/line.  Remove the pins as you sew.

Step 5 – Press

When you are finished sewing, take your loop to the ironing board and set your seam with a nice press.

Trim the seam down to 1/4″.

Turn your loop so that the front is facing up.  Iron both seams in the same direction (you can press the seam open if you like, either way works).

From the back, your strip should look like this. . .

Press all of the original folds back into your tape.

Voila!  You now have your bias tape loop binding all finished.  You are ready to apply it to your small project.

Click here to go to tutorial on Applying Loop Binding.