Have you ever wanted to just quickly cut bias strips without having to waste fabric or cut it into an origami-sized square? Here’s a quick method for cutting bias strips for any size rectangle.
On this stop of the Back to School Blog Hop hosted by Hunter’s Design Studio, I’m going to walk you through cutting bias strips from fabric in few easy steps. This method does require more seams at the end, but you’re cutting on the true bias (instead of a twisted tube) and making the best use of your fabric by not cutting it into a square.
If you are left handed, you should be able to follow these instructions and adjust them for your dominant hand. Apologies in advance for my bias! (See what I did there?)
As with any cut of fabric, you’ll want to press out the bolt fold, straighten the fabric, and give yourself straight edges to work from. We’re going to work with a half-yard of fabric in this example, so here’s my fabric folded in half with the fold toward me. I’m right handed, so I straighten the right edge first:
Then I rotate the fabric with the fold away from me and straighten the opposite side:
And now with those two edges parallel, I can cut off the selvage. If you’re the type who likes to save their selvages, be as generous as you want here:
Open up your rectangle of fabric wrong side up, with the longest edge along the length of your cutting surface. In this photo, the rest of the rectangle is off toward the left:
Fold down the upper right corner of the fabric toward the lower straight edge so that the right edge of the fabric is aligned with the bottom edge:
Now take the lower right corner and fold it toward the upper left, so that all the straight edges are aligned as are the folds. Incidentally, I think these are the same first steps in creating a paper hat!
Now, as it is on the table is pretty awkward for cutting, so pivot your rectangle clockwise so that the folds (the double-folds you can see) are perpendicular to you and the bulk of your rectangle is off toward the upper left:
Line up your ruler with the bottom edge and cut off the folds to the right of the ruler. This can be a tiny sliver of fabric – mine was about 1/4″ wide – but you need to make sure you’ve cut through all four layers of fabric.
Now, because I am right handed, I need to rotate this around again so I can cut effectively. The edge that you just cut has four layers, and that is now the straight edge where you can start cutting strips.
In this photo, I have rotated the fabric so the bulk of the rectangle is off to the right. In this case I’m cutting 2-1/2″ wide strips, so I align the 2-1/2″ mark on my ruler with the raw edges of the fabric that was just cut off. You can angle this however the cutting is most comfortable for you. For me, I do have this at an angle so I could keep the whole rectangle on the cutting table for the photo.
This shows the first couple of cuts, but at some point, your fabric is going to be longer than your ruler. After you take the first or second cut, you can fold your fabric to fit into your cutting field.
To fold the fabric so that it fits into the cutting area of your ruler, take the lower right corner and fold it up to the left, so that the cut edges (where your ruler is going to cut) are aligned.
Here is the full rectangle cut up. Eventually you will get to the point where you no longer have the four layers of fabric to cut into, and the fabric will once again fit into your cutting area. There will be a point also where you stop cutting strips because they will be too short to deal with. Note the triangle in the upper right; it’s wide enough to take another 2-1/2″ cut, but that strip would be very short to stitch for the binding I intend to use it on.
When you lay out your strips, you’ll have two types: one set will be the same length with the angled sides going the same direction, and the second type will all be different lengths with the angled sides leaning toward one another. I recommend arranging the two types together for sewing; once you get the same-angled ones stitched together end to end, you can then add in the others.
One thing I recommend before you stitch these strips together is to dog-ear the angled ends. By cutting off the dog ears, you won’t have to guess at where to align the strips to stitch them together. My handy Binding Tool is perfect for this job:
Just align the tool with your strip so the right edge of the tool matches the angle of your strip, and cut off the tip:
It works upside down too:
Now when you lay your strips right sides together, you can see how beautifully they match up! Just stitch these together with a 1/4″ seam allowance for a continuous strip, or use them for whatever purpose you desire!
Please follow the rest of the 2019 Back To School Blog Hop! Note that these industry peeps are all over the country and world, so be patient if you don’t see their post first thing in *your* morning!
Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com <<—- you are here!
Day 2 – September 2 – Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com
Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com
Day 4 – September 4 – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/blog/
Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com
Day 6 – September 6 – Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com
Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com
Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com
Day 9 – September 9 – Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com
Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com
Day 11 – September 11 – Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net
Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com
Day 13 – September 13 – Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com
Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com
Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com
Day 16 – September 16 – Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com
Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com
Day 18 – September 18 – Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com
Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com
Day 20 – September 20 – Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/
Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com
Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com
Day 23 – September 23 – Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com
Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com
Day 25 – September 25 – Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com
Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com
Day 27 – September 27 – Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com
Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com
Day 29 – September 29 – Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com
Day 30 – September 3 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com