Continuous Bias Tape

I love working with bias tape!  Many times I will eliminate neck facings in favor of bias trim, because it's so fun to work with.  This method of creating bias tape uses a square of fabric, and is quicker than cutting individual strips and piecing them together.  

1. Determine the size of your square:
Finished length x Finished width (before folding) = Area
Square root of area = one side of square
Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room in the length to account for seams in the construction of the tape, as well as seams you make when using the tape.

2. Cut a square of fabric to the size determined in step 1.  This is square ABCD (remember geometry?)  The length AB or BC will be the length you determined in step 1.

3.  Fold the square in half, from point A to point C.  Press along the diagonal, to give yourself a crease to follow.  Cut along the diagonal crease.  You now have two right triangles of fabric: triangle ABC and triangle ADC.

4.  Align the two triangles along the edges AB and DC, right sides of fabric facing each other.  Sew triangles together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I use a small stitch (~2), since this seam will be sliced at several points later.
5.  Press seam in place, then press seam open.  You now have a parallelogram WXYZ.  I changed the naming conventions, since it was confusing with two A's and two C's.
6.  Mark the desired strip width, starting on a bias edge (XY or WZ).  
7.  Join two non-bias edges together (right sides together), by bringing point Y over to the first line under point X (orange arrow).  You will then have sort of a cylinder that doesn't look like it's aligned.  You need the edges staggered for this to work correctly.  Stitch together with a 1/4" seam allowance, press seam open.
8.  Cut along the marked lines, beginning at one of the ends. Press as necessary -- in half for single fold or in half again for double fold.

Bias Hem Facing

This is a helpful technique to use to lengthen an existing hem, or to help you hem a circle skirt.  Shown on a pair of men's trousers.

1. Prepare your bias facing.  I made my strips 3 inches wide, 1.5 inches folded in half, to work with the existing 1.25 inch hem on the pants.  

2. For an existing hem, remove the stitching and press the hem open.  Even though these are a new pair of pants, the creases are very faded and will show in the final product.  The good news, is that the creases give you easy lines to follow when stitching.  Sometimes the topstitching thread will help cover the faded crease line.

2. I like to seam the bias facing before I sew it to the pant leg.  To measure the length of the facing, pin to the hem line, aligning the folded edge of the facing with the crease of the original hemline.  

3. Where the edges meet, make a fold and press.  The crease gives you a nice stitching line to follow when joining the ends. 

4.  To stitch the facing together, it's easiest just to unpin the facing from the pants (if you'd pinned this to a large circle skirt, I'd just unpin a few inches, not the entire skirt).  Unfold the facing, pin beginning edge and ending edge together, right sides facing and stitch along the crease lines that you made in step 3.  Press the new seam open and trim the SA to 1/4".  Refold the facing.

5.  Re-pin facing to right side of pants, aligning the fold of the facing to the original hem line. I like to pin the facing to the hem with the pin heads sticking out.  I then turn the pant leg inside out and stitch it from the wrong side.

6. Stitch facing to pants, following the crease line of the original inside fold.  Even though the pin heads are on the other side, they're sticking out far enough for you to see them and pull them out before you stitch over them.

7.  Turn pants right side out again.  Press in place, then turn facing down toward raw edge of hem and press again.  I like to under stitch here, as it helps give me a nice turn and keep the facing hidden.

8.  After under stitching, turn the facing to the inside and press again.  Pins will help keep the facing in place for the final stitching, which I did from the right side in this example, only because I wanted to try to cover the faded crease line with thick top stitching.  If this is a new garment, I may just stitch in place from the inside.

9.  Press again and enjoy your longer pants!

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