Bias Strips, Continuous Bias Strips

It’s a Small World

Even though I quilt nearly every day, I am always on the lookout for different techniques.

Last night I needed to make continuous bias strips for a current project.  I pulled out my basic technique book but wasn’t quit able to grasp how to join the straight grain edges together to make a cylinder and still have a piece that was flat enough to put through the sewing machine.  The picture in my book shows a perfectly flat tube.  Mine was very twisted and bumpy.  I thought that I’d probably have to go to my local quilt store for a hands-on demo.  (I am so lucky that they are only 5 miles from my home.)  Unfortunately it was 9:00pm – and they weren’t open!

Why not the Internet?  I found a number of videos that demonstrated the technique such as the one on ErinComptonDesign.  The technique is really quite simple:  Cut a square in half and sew the bias edges (the hypotenuse of the triangle) together to form a parallelogram.  

Mark width of bias strip parallel to bias edges.

Then bring the straight edges together.  The trick is to offset the straight edge the width of the cut bias strip (in this case 1 inch).

A tube is formed that can be cut into bias strips.

I find cutting with a scissors can be cumbersome compared with using a rotary cutter.  By inserting a small cutting board in the center of the tube, the strips can easily be cut with the rotary cutter.

The result:  Perfect bias strips.

I think that this method, while producing a continuous strip by the tube method is more of a hassle than joining strips at right angles and trimming to make the mitered ends.

I’m always on the look-out for new techniques to make quilting more accurate and easier – But in this case, I think I’ll continue to use this tried and true method when making bias strips.

I do think the Internet has really made our world smaller.  When people first began to quilt the techniques were handed down from mother to daughter, neighbor to neighbor.  Then we moved from rural areas to cities and suburbs and got caught up in every day life and lost that unique interaction.  The Internet brings experts right into our homes to share their techniques and hints.  What a small world we’ve become again!

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