Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bias tape covered seam tutorial

Okay all you people wondering how to do this technique, I'm finally getting around to posting this tutorial. I've tried to be as thorough as possible. Let me know if you have any questions.

I usually do this at the arm seams and sometimes at the center back when there's a zipper and I can't do a french seam. This first picture is of the armhole seam of the current top I'm working on. I'm starting with a 5/8" seam allowance.

You want to trim the seam down to 3/8" to 1/2". I never measure, just eyeball it. I do trim one layer of fabric at a time. This is especially important around an eased in sleeve, where one layer is gathered and the other not.

Okay, both layers are now the same width.

Looking at a piece of bias tape, observe that one side of the fold is always just a tad narrower the the other. You want to sew on the narrower side, which insures the wider underneath side will be caught by the stitch as well. First you need to cut a piece of the tape that will cover the seam. Don't stretch the fabric or the tape when you are doing this. And cut it a bit longer then you think you need - maybe an inch or so.

Now fold the end under about 3/8" and iron.

Then you need to trim the sides of the folded piece away.

Now pin. Remember, the narrower side of the tape is the side you pin and sew on.

In this picture you can see the side you folded under where you will start the machine. I like to leave the other end unpinned for right now.

Now stitch.

Here's what it looks like so far:

Now cut your other end the length you need to meet the first end, leaving another 3/8" to turn under.

Cut the sides of this piece at an angle like you did the other end.

Now stitch and try to get your two pieces to meet. This is close enough, especially if working with a knit.

Slipstitch the ends together, and this is the end result:


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your bias tape technique.

  2. Your seams are always so beautifully finished! You inspire me to do a better job on the inside of my garments.

  3. Thank you for the tutorial. I have seen other tutorials on this but I like how you explain what to do with the ends so clearly. Can't wait to see the shirt when you are done.

  4. Excellent! Amanda, With costume-crazy-ness occuyping your time, you really pulled this one out. Thanks a bunch!!! Can't wait to try this out on the arm holes of a flannel pj top.

  5. Thanks for explaining and taking to time to show us each step. Good luck with the costumes!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial. I always have trouble at the ends! Your tutorial is so helpful. And I always think of you when I am finishing my insides!

  7. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I will be using this with my next knitwear project. I'll also be checking out your blog from now on.

  8. hey i've been looking breifly through your tortorials and was wondering if you had (or would PRITTTTYYYYPLEASE!!!) a tortorial on how to sew piping trim onto/into sleeves and such.
    i'm currently working up to making a replica of this shirt ( only i'm not shore exactly how to add the piping. please if you could help that would be awsome.

  9. I used this technique too, on the blouse. Really great, except I'd bought single fold bias tape instead of the double. Duh.

    But it was pretty straightforward since I'd been using Seams Great anyway. I hadn't realized the bias tape was less than 1/2 the cost of Seams Great. So it's worth considering where you use each product.

    I really enjoy your blog. I feel like I'm getting a tutorial with every post.

  10. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I was just thinking (after reading about the cool jackets you make), "What is bias tape and how do you use it?" Now I know. Thanks!