How to Sew Double Fold Bias Tape

finished bias bound sample seams on curved and straight and inside flat seams

Using double fold bias tape to finish raw seams on sewing projects creates neat and professional looking seams on quilts, quilt coats or on neckline and armhole openings on garments. Double fold bias tape is basically a strip of fabric cut on the bias, and then folded into quarters.

In this tutorial I’ll be showing how to fold bias tape to prep it for sewing and attaching bias tape on straight and curved edges. I’ll also walk through two ways of sewing flat bias bound seams to finish the inside seams of a jacket. If you plan on making your quilt coat or jacket reversible, this gives a nice finish for when you’re wearing the inside on the outside!

I used these same methods for my two quilt coats I’ve made, the Rue Quilt Coat and Daphne Jacket and I love how it creates beautifully finished seams both inside and out. Experiment with contrasting bias binding colors or patterns to really make your sewing projects unique!

In my pattern The Lakeview Tote some of the seams are enclosed with bias binding to make the insides look neat and pretty! (see photo below)

You can choose to buy pre-made bias tape or learn how to make your own! Making your own bias tape is a great way to use up leftover fabric and pick your own pretty fabric to coordinate with your project. Check out my tutorial How to Make Bias Tape to learn how to cut out fabric strips to make your own bias tape.

The most common finished widths for bias tape are 3/8″ (1 cm) and 1/2″ (1.3 cm). Typically when sewing garments 3/8″ bias tape is used for finishing necklines or arm openings. For quilts and quilt coats, 1/2″ is a good size in order to fold over the bulkier layers of a quilt sandwich.

Now that you have an idea what double fold bias tape is and what it’s used for, lets get started with how to attach it to your project! 🙂

a variety of bias strips in different shades of fabric laying on a white table next to a scrape piece of quilted fabric

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some Things you’ll need

  • Bias tape maker (optional, but helpful)
  • Bias tape (handmade or store bought)
  • Iron – This one is similar to the one I have

For this tutorial I’m using 2″ (5 cm) wide linen bias tape and working with quilted scraps leftover from making my Rue Quilt Coat. It’s actually a good idea to practice first on scrap fabric, preferably the final fabric you’re using for your project. This gives you a chance to practice with the thickness of the layers you’re working with and is a great time to decide if you like how the bias binding looks with your chosen fabric.

Folding Bias Tape

After cutting and piecing the bias strips together (my article, How to Make Bias Tape, walks you through those steps), you’ll then want to start by getting the bias tape ready to sew by pre-folding it.

This is where a bias tape maker comes in handy and can greatly speed up the time it takes when making your own. However, you don’t need a bias tape maker and I’ll be showing how to fold bias tape without one.

Fold Bias Tape Into Quarters

No matter the width of the bias tape you’re using, it will be folded into quarters. Try not to stretch the bias strips as you do this – it can affect the finished width!

First, fold the bias strip into half and press. Fold the raw edges into the middle using the crease in the middle as a guide and press again (if you’re using a fabric with a right and wrong side, fold with wrong sides together).

showing the last step of folding the bias strips by folding everything in half

Then, fold everything in half and press. If you’re using 2″ (5 cm) wide bias strips, then the finished width of the bias tape should be about 1/2″ (12 mm) wide.

Using a bias tape maker

If you have a bias tape maker, or want to use one, you’ll need one for the size of bias tape you’re making. So, use a 1/2″ (12mm) bias tape maker to make 1/2″ (finished folded width) double fold bias tape.

After you’ve cut the bias strips and pieced them together then you simply feed the bias strip, wrong side up, through the bias tape maker. As the strip comes out it will be folded, so press with an iron as you pull the strip through the bias tape maker. Once the raw edges are folded into the middle for the whole strip, then fold the bias strip in half again and press.

Skip the folding step

I have a confession. For the most part, I skip folding my bias tape and sew it directly onto to my project. I’ve sewn SO much bias tape that I’ve learned that I actually prefer sewing bias tape without pre-folding. I like to rely on following a seam allowance versus following a fold line and have found that I get more consistent results that way. This is totally sewists’ preference and you do whatever method you’re comfortable with!

Attaching Bias Tape

While it is possible to attach bias tape in one pass, I’ll be showing how to sew it in two passes. This method takes a little longer but you have so much more control over how the finished sewn bias edge looks.

Place Bias Tape on Fabric

Start by placing the right side of the bias tape to the wrong side of your project. In my case, the gingham side is my “wrong” side or inside of my coat. You can place as little or as many pins as you want. I typically place a pin at the beginning and then sew without pins, especially on straight sewing sections.

showing the first stitch line along the first fold line of the bias tape

Stitch on the fold line

Following the fold line you made when pressing, stitch along that first fold of the bias tape.

Like I mentioned before, since I usually skip pre-pressing my bias tape, I reply on seam allowance instead, so I sewed with a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance. This may be different depending on your project and the thickness of the layers you’re working with.

folding the bias tape away from the fabric towards right side of fabric

Fold Bias Tape Over

Fold the bias tape away from your project, over the raw edge and bring it around to the right side.

place bias tape over stitch line

With the right side of your project facing you, bring the folded edge to lay just over the previous stitch line.

I like to have my bias tape folded flush against the raw edge of my project to give it more structure. Also, if the bias tape is folded flush over the raw edges then it means that I can follow the same seam allowance as the previous step and will catch the underside while edgestitching on the right side (hopefully that makes sense!). If you find that the bias tape isn’t folding over the stitch line or is bulging, you can trim down the seam to eliminate bulk.

Pin in place where needed. I will usually place just a few pins at the beginning, or at an upcoming curve, but for the most part I will fold the bias tape over as I sew.

edgestitch in place

Edgestitch close to the folded edge of the bias tape.

If the bias tape is folded flush against the raw edge, and the folded edge is laying right over the previous stitch line, then sewing with the same seam allowance as the first pass guarantees that you will catch the edge on the wrong side as well.

a light brown quilted coat laying on a table with a closeup of the bias bound edges

Since I was planning on making this quilt coat reversible, I wanted both sides on my bias tape looking neat. If you aren’t planning on wearing your project reversible, then catching the underside of the bias tape doesn’t matter too much since it’s rarely seen.

And that’s how you sew double fold bias tape!

Attaching Bias Tape on a Curve

a scrap piece of quilted fabric laying next to a strip of bias tape on a white table

To attach bias tape on a curve, the overall method is the same as when sewing on a straight edge but I’ll share a few of my tips for getting a neat bias bound curve.

Pin the right side of the bias tape to the wrong side of the fabric. Ease the bias tape into the curve little by little and pin as you go. I like to use plenty of pins around the curve and placing them at the seam allowance you’ll be sewing helps to get a smooth curve.

Sew bias tape following the fold line (or desired seam allowance). When sewing around the curve, sew right up to the pins before removing them (or carefully sew over them).

Sink the needle and pivot as needed to to help maintain an even seam allowance. Also sewing with a smaller stitch length, like 2-2.5, can help achieve a more accurate curve line.

folding the attached bias tape over to the right side to bring the fold over the previous stitch line

Turn your project over to the right side and bring the bias tape over and place the folded edge right over the previous stitch line.

Since bias tape is cut on the bias it makes it pretty moldable, so shape and ease in the folded edge of the bias tape pinning as you go.

Edgestitch along the folded edge of the bias tape, removing the pins as you come to them and pivoting when needed.

Curves can be the hardest part to sew a neat stitch line, especially on both sides. By using plenty of pins, sewing slowly and with practice you can get pretty good results!

Flat Bias Bound Seams – 2 Methods

If you plan on wearing your coat reversible and want beautifully finished flat seams on the inside, there are a couple of ways to do this. This, of course, is totally optional and you can always finish the seams in the same way as the rest of the coat.

If you don’t want your inside bias bound seams sticking up when wearing the reversed side, then keep reading to see how I sewed them down flat on both the Rue Quilt Coat and my quilted Daphne Jacket with two different methods.

Method 1

This first way is very simple, but can also be a bit bulkier depending on the thickness of your quilted fabric and bias binding. However, the seams on my My Rue Quilt Coat were pretty bulky and I was able to do this just fine!

Finish the seams with bias binding in the same way as the steps above and then press well. Usually the side seams of a garment press towards the back, and the sleeve direction can depend on the project, but for both my quilt coats I pressed the seam allowance towards the sleeve.

Fold the bias tape towards the same direction you pressed and edgestitch in place along the folded edge.

You can either stitch this from the right side of your garment, or from the wrong side. I stitched mine from the right side, which makes the inside seam a little wobbly, but I wanted to make sure the topstitching looked neat from the right side of my coat.

Keep in mind that you will see the stitching on the reverse side so use coordinating thread if you don’t want it standing out too much. In my example (see above photos) I didn’t do this, but on my final quilt coat, I put two different colors of thread into my top thread and bobbin to match the corresponding fabric.

The hardest part to sew down the bias binding is definitely the side, underarm and sleeve seams. You can see in the pictures above that when I was reaching the end of the sleeve, I really had to scrunch and wrangle the fabric around my machine. Just a heads up – while it’s possible to do this, it can be difficult (a lot depends on the fabric bulk) and sewing slowly is advised!

closeup of the side seam of the Rue Quilt Coat in a brown gingham quilted fabric

On the Rue Quilt Coat I was able to sew down the sleeve bias binding, but I couldn’t quite reach with my machine right at the underarm where the seams were bulkiest. I sewed as far as I could get to the underarm, backstitched and just left the rest of the bias binding to stick up.

Method 2

The second method of sewing the inside bias binding flat has a little more steps involved but can be a good alternative when working with very bulky seams. This is how I finished the seams on my quilted Daphne Jacket and the same method explained in the pattern instructions.

You may have to experiment with the width of the bias tape depending on your project since it is worked a little differently than the first method above. You’ll see what I mean as you read on!

first stitch line when attaching bias tape to a piece of two scrap pieces of quilted fabric

After the seams of the garment have been sewn, you will then attach the bias binding by following the first fold line or seam allowance (I used a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance).

Trim down the seam allowance of the front seam or the seam allowance that will be on top when pressed in the desired direction. This will help to reduce the seam bulk when sewing the bias binding and when wearing the garment.

Fold under the raw edge of the bias tape and bring the folded edge over to cover the seam. You can also pre-press the bias tape edge before this step to get a clean fold to work with.

I’m using 2″ (5 cm) wide bias binding in my example with a seam allowance of 3/8″ (1 cm) and I probably could have taken off about 1/2″ to make the seam binding a little narrower. This may be something you want to experiment with if you try this method.

showing how to pin the bias tape in place before edgestitching

You can pin the bias tape in place if you want, or try sewing without (pre-folding the bias tape would help keep the edge neat while topstitching.

Edgestitch along the folded edge of the bias tape and then again on the other side of the binding. This is up to you if you want to have one or two lines of stitching and what you want showing on the reverse side.

On my quilted Daphne Jacket, I edgestitched the first side of the bias binding down from the wrong side, then turned it right side out and topstitched from the right side to catch the other side of the binding. This way I could control a little more how it looked from the right side, but it did mean some of my seams were wobbly on the inside.

Again, like on the first method, the side, underarm and sleeve seams will be the trickiest. On my quilted Daphne Jacket, I was able to sew over the underarm seam, but my quilted fabric was less thick compared to my Rue Quilt Coat.

I had to sew realllly slow and scrunch up the sleeve as I went being careful not the sew on any other part of the jacket that was underneath (see photos above). At one point I thought it wouldn’t be possible, but I kept inching along and made it through!

showing the inside of the quilted Daphne jacket back view

Whichever method of flat bias bound seams you prefer, they both make the inside seams of your coats or jackets look so clean and professional – and I like how the flat seams feel when I’m wearing my coats!

Hopefully you were able to take some inspiration and/or helpful tips from this tutorial! Let me know if you have any questions, or if you made something with double fold bias tape after reading this tutorial – I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing 🙂

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