Step-by-Step Guide: Sewing Bias Tape on Quilts for a Polished Finish

You’ve spent hours piecing together your quilt top and you’re nearly at the finish line. But there’s one last step that can make or break your masterpiece: sewing on the bias tape. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Learning how to sew bias tape on a quilt isn’t as daunting as it sounds. With the right guidance, you’ll master this technique in no time. So, let’s get your sewing machine ready and dive right into it!

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step. We’ll cover everything from choosing your bias tape to the actual sewing. Before you know it, you’ll be adding the perfect finishing touch to your quilts with ease and precision.

Sewing bias tape on quilts not only adds a clean, finished look but also secures the edges durably, which The Spruce Crafts explains in their comprehensive tutorial. It’s crucial to select the right type of bias tape that complements your quilt’s fabric and design, a process detailed in Sew Guide’s bias tape making guide. For novices and experts alike, Craftsy’s post on applying bias tape offers step-by-step visuals that simplify the sewing process.

Choosing the Right Bias Tape

Hang tight. Choosing the right bias tape is an important first step. Bias tape is available in a wide array of colors, patterns, and widths. It’s important to choose one that complements your quilt’s style and overall aesthetics.

Rule of thumb: Go for colors and patterns that are in tune with your quilt’s design. You wouldn’t want a mismatched or clashing bias tape ruining your finely sewn quilt.

Bias tapes usually come in three general widths: single fold (1/2 inch), double fold (1/2 inch) and extra wide double fold (1/2 inch). These are typically used for different types of projects. Your quilt project may dictate the width of bias tape that’s best for you.

Widths here represent the finished, sewn width. Keep in mind that a double fold tape is twice the width of a single fold tape before it’s folded and sewn.

You should take into account the thickness of your quilt. A heavier quilt might require a wider bias tape for a more robust finish.

Refer to the below table for an overview about bias tape width:

Bias Tape TypeUnsewn WidthSewn Width
Single Fold1 inch1/2 inch
Double Fold1 inch1/2 inch
Extra Wide Double Fold2 inch1/2 inch

Choosing the right bias tape isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s not just about the width. It’s about the right combination of the two, plus what will work best on your quilt. Following these guidelines will set you on the right path to a beautifully finished quilt.

Preparing Your Quilt

Before you can begin sewing bias tape onto your quilt, it’s necessary to prepare your quilt properly. Proper preparation of your quilt can help ensure the overall success of your bias tape application.

An essential step in quilt preparation for bias tape application is measuring. You’ll need to measure your quilt accurately to determine the length of the bias tape you’ll need. A standard rule is to add 10 inches to the quilt’s perimeter. This extra length accounts for corners and a bit more to ensure a comfortable overlap. But remember, always double-check your measurements to avoid last-minute problems.

Next, you will need to trim the edges of your quilt. Ensuring the edges are straight and smooth can facilitate the application of the bias tape. An uneven edge can cause issues with how the tape adheres to the quilt, potentially leading to an unsatisfactory finish.

After edge trimming, proceed to press your quilt. Ironing your quilt helps to flatten any seams or sections that might not be even. It smoothens out the surface, making the application of the bias tape easier. This step is particularly crucial if you’ve been working on your quilt over a long period and it’s been folded or stored.

To prevent shifting while sewing, secure your quilt. You can use quilting pins to help hold the quilt and bias tape together. Opt for quilting pins with large heads, making them easy to handle.

To reiterate, while preparing your quilt for bias tape application, adhere to the following key steps:

  • Accurate measurements
  • Trimming the edges
  • Pressing the quilt
  • Securing with quilting pins

By doing this, you’ll pave the way for a smooth bias tape application process.

Pinning the Bias Tape in Place

By this point, you’ve got a precise measurement for your quilt and bias tape, and the quilt’s edges are neatly trimmed and ironed flat. Direction, it seems, is more than half the battle won. The next step to place focus on is pinning the bias tape to the quilt.

Start at the middle of one side of your quilt. Why the middle and not a corner? Well, it provides an easy start point and will make it simpler to connect the ends when you’ve gone all the way around the quilt’s perimeter.

Align the raw edges of the bias tape with the raw edge of the quilt. Once they’ve been aligned, unfold one edge of the bias tape so it’s easier to pin it to the quilt. Position your quilting pins approximately every 3 to 4 inches. This pattern holds the bias tape securely, ensuring a smooth stitching process.

At this stage, you’ll want to ensure that the bias tape extends a few inches beyond your starting point. This overhanging section will be crucial for connecting the two ends.

It’s time to tackle those corners now. When you reach a corner, fold the bias tape at a 45-degree angle. Here’s a trick: pin the bias tape away from the corner. This step will help to create a neat, mitered corner when you commence sewing.

Keep up with the pinning process until you’ve made a full round. Remember, completing this step ensures you are set up for a smooth sewing experience, resulting in a perfectly bordered quilt.

Pinning the bias tape should not be rushed. This stage, like every other step in this process, is paramount. Your precision and attention to detail will definitely shine through when you look at the final product.

Sewing the Bias Tape

Once you’ve successfully pinned the bias tape to your quilt’s raw edge, you’re ready for the actual sewing. Arguably the most critical part of your project, it’s vital to take your time and maintain a steady pace.

With your sewing machine setup and your quilt at hand, position the needle at a quarter inch from the edge of the tape. Be sure to align your sewing machine’s presser foot with the edge of the bias tape. Initiate your stitch by using the backstitch function on your sewing machine for two or three stitches. This technique will seal the thread in place and prevent it from unraveling.

Proceed down the side of the quilt, sewing a straight line along the edge. Accuracy here is crucial, as uneven stitches can be unattractive and are more likely to unravel over time.

While navigating the corners, take great care. When you come to within a quarter inch of the corner, stop sewing. Then, lift your presser foot and pivot the quilt so the edge you’re about to sew is parallel to the presser foot.

The folded corner of your bias tape should be aimed towards the opposite corner of the quilt. Now, lower the presser foot and continue sewing, again starting a quarter inch from the edge.

Finishing Touches

Now that you’ve carefully navigated your way around the quilt and securely fastened the bias tape, it’s time for some final tweaks to give your project its ultimate look. This will add beauty to your work.

Your focus should now be on pressing the bias tape. It’s an essential step that should not be overlooked. This gives a much cleaner, more polished appearance to your quilt.

To press the bias tape, protect your quilt by laying a pressing cloth over the sewn tape. Set your iron to the proper setting for your fabric type, typically a medium setting for cotton quilts. Press lightly, moving the iron slowly over the pressing cloth and keeping a steady pressure. Never allow the iron to rest in one spot for too long.

Be careful around corners. They can be tricky and need some extra attention. Use the pointed tip of your iron to press into the corners properly. Make sure to press the corners evenly, as uneven pressing can distort your quilt’s shape.

Once you’re done with pressing, it’s time for a quality check. Examine your work closely. Look for uneven stitching, loose threads, or fabric puckering. If you spot any issues, fix them right away.

To fix loose threads, all you need is a small scissors or thread clipper. Snip them as close as possible to the base, but make sure not to cut into your quilt or the bias tape.

For those minor puckers, you can press them out with your iron. More substantial puckers may require a bit of ripping and resewing. It’s not something you’d prefer to do, but striving for perfection should never be compromised.

We can’t stress enough the importance of taking time to iron out these little kinks. Your valuable time and patience should shine through your work. You don’t want your hard work to be undermined by avoidable imperfections. Attention to detail differentiates a good quilting job from a great one.

With these adjustments made, your beautifully bound quilt should hold an impressive aesthetic appeal. But there’s more to quilting than aesthetics. Bear in mind, quilting is not only about sewing, it’s also about expressing yourself creatively.


So there you have it! You’ve learned the ins and outs of sewing bias tape onto a quilt. Remember, the key is in the details – pressing your bias tape for that polished look and taking care around corners. Don’t forget to examine your work closely, fixing any uneven stitching, loose threads, or fabric puckering. It’s these small steps that make a big difference in the final product. With patience, attention to detail, and a little practice, you’ll be creating beautiful, professional-looking quilts in no time. After all, the beauty of quilting is in the process as much as the finished piece. Happy quilting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is pressing the bias tape important?

Pressing the bias tape gives quilts a cleaner and more polished appearance. It helps to flatten any wrinkles and ensures the tape fits snugly against the quilt, facilitating smoother stitching.

How should I press the bias tape?

You should press the bias tape with an iron applying steady pressure. Using a pressing cloth is recommended for protection and be careful around corners, using the pointed iron tip to press them properly.

What should I be careful of when sewing on bias tape?

It’s important to watch out for uneven stitching, loose threads, or fabric puckering. These mistakes can interfere with the quilt’s finish and overall quality.

How can I correct mistakes when sewing bias tape?

Examine your work closely for any issues and go over the problematic areas again with your sewing machine. Use scissors or a seam ripper to remove loose threads.

Why is attention to detail important in quilting?

Attention to detail ensures a great quilting job. Taking time to follow steps accurately, like pressing and sewing bias tape, guarantees a cleaner and more refined finish to your quilt.