How to cut bias binding using straight cuts with a regular ol' ruler... a method that you just won't find anywhere!
Many years ago, I took a class from my LQS on how to make a bias scarf. Do you remember those? My guess is that if you don't, they will be back in vogue in a few years. After all cliches are true — what goes around comes around!
But I digress. The back story to this post is that the shop owners had this funky way of folding the fabric so that you could make bias strips using a straight cuts and a regular ol' ruler. What? No special ruler? You read that right — no special ruler and no die cut machine!
I have to tell you, I didn't learn during the scarf class how to fold the fabric, the owner did it for me. A couple of years later, I went into the store to buy fabric for a binding, and the shop owner folded it for me. I took it home folded and kept it pinned together for a loooong time, afraid to unfold it because I wouldn't remember how to fold again! (So yes, my quilt remained unfinished.) But I finally became brave and unfolded it and took notes as I did it. I was even able to to put together a sheet of instructions that I took out time and time again before I became familiar with this method. Here are pictures of my notes:
You won't find this method in any quilt book. I finally saw an article in THREADS magazine about 8 years ago, but have never seen it since. This is truly one of the sewing world's most best kept secrets- until now!
Bias binding is my preference so I need a fool proof cutting method. I don't cut my binding until my top is pieced and quilted because I am not always sure what color I am going to use to finish my quilt. This usually means that I want to cut my binding late at night.
I put together a PDF of the instructions so you can keep them by your cutting table. We don't all have big screens on phones or tablets, so I thought a PDF would be more helpful to more people. Because — I can't keep a secret!
I know — what you really want to know is how much do you get?
The first picture in this post is a fat quarter. Then second picture is the pile of strips I cut. Notice that the only "waste" is the 2 triangles on the left. Now with this method, you get several long strips. As you can see below the longest strip was 24", and the shortest was 9 1/2' from seam allowance to seam allowance.
Because the strips already have a angled/ mitered end, you only lose the seam allowance on each strip. All told, I got about 120" of bias binding from my fat quarter. I forgot to count how many cuts I made, but am thinking it was about 6. I cut my strips 2 1/2" wide.
This method doesn't work with a square, it has to be a rectangle. The larger the rectangle, the more longer strips you get. So unless you were doing a small project or a scrappy binding, fat quarters probably aren't the best choice, but a fat quarter sure gives you a lot of binding!
Here is a one-page sheet on this technique to download --
I love bias binding. And this makes it sew late night easy.
Here's to joyful quilting!