Bias Bound Hem

This is fast way to make a fully finished hem, using commercial Double Fold Bias Tape.

Sample:

Finished Bias Bound hem, front and back

Finished Bias Bound hem, front and back

Critical Stats:

Width:1/8″-2″, determined by size of Bias Tape
Seam Allowance Required: 0″
Additional Supplies Needed: Double Fold Bias Tape

Process:

Prepare your hem by cutting off the seam allowance.

Double Fold Bias Tape: to be clear, this is the stuff that's folded into a V shape.

Double Fold Bias Tape: to be clear, this is the stuff that's folded into a V shape.

Good to Know: One side of the Bias Tape is slightly wider than the other.  This side goes down when you sew!

Good to Know: One side of the Bias Tape is slightly wider than the other. This side goes down when you sew!

Open the Bias Tape and squoosh the end in a little to make it narrower.  This will make it easier when it's time to finish the hem.

Open the Bias Tape and squoosh the end in a little to make it narrower. This will make it easier when it's time to finish the hem.

Place the edge of the fabric at the main fold of the Bias Tape.

Place the edge of the fabric at the main fold of the Bias Tape.

Fold the Bias Tape over the top of the fabric.

Fold the Bias Tape over the top of the fabric.

Sew, just inside the edge of the Bias Tape.

Sew, just inside the edge of the Bias Tape.

If you look very closely at the foot of my sewing machine, you’ll see there’s a little triangle.  I’m lining the left corner of the triangle up with the edge of the bias tape, and that helps me sew nice and straight.  Most likely, your sewing machine also has “landmarks” on the foot to help you.  (Never try to watch the needle when you sew.  Your eyes will cross every time.)

If you’re not terribly confident in your ability to sew, or you know you have a terrible time catching both sides of the bias tape, you improve your chances of success greatly by setting your machine to a narrow zig-zag stitch.  It will look exactly like what it is, but it will also get done on the first pass and done is beautiful.  ;)

When you get close to the end, stop the machine with the needle down in the fabric/Bias Tape.

When you get close to the end, stop the machine with the needle down in the fabric/Bias Tape.

Cut the Tape, about an inch longer than you need.  We're going to overlap the ends.

Cut the Tape, about an inch longer than you need. We're going to overlap the ends.

Open the bias, and fold the end back a little to hide the raw edge.

Open the bias, and fold the end back a little to hide the raw edge.

Wrap the folded edge of the Bias Tape snugly around the hem.  You want this as smooth as possible.

Wrap the folded edge of the Bias Tape snugly around the hem. You want this as smooth as possible.

The finished join: this is why we fussed with the corners when we started.  By making the tape a little narrower, we made sure there would be no pokey-threads at the join.

The finished join: this is why we fussed with the corners when we started. By making the tape a little narrower, we made sure there would be no pokey-threads at the join.

The back side: I used black in my bobbin so you can see the stitching more clearly...

The back side: I used black in my bobbin so you can see the stitching more clearly...

This looks like it should be about the easiest thing in the world, right?  Unfortunately, it relies on being able to sew pretty darn precisely, and that’s a skill that can take some time to master.  If you’ve never done this before, I’d recommend starting with a slightly wider bias tape (at least 1/2″) so that your work is firmly caught by the feed dogs (the upsie-downsie-grippy bits that move the fabric when you sew) of the machine on both sides.  When only one side catches, fabric tends to feed all wonky.  Above all, go slowly and stay calm…

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