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How to Cut Fabric on the Bias

First of all, what is the Bias? The bias of the fabric is the diagonal stretch that happens at a 45 degree angle from the straight and cross grain. For a more detailed explanation go here.

Fabric cut on a bias has a fun stretch to it that straight cut fabric does not. This stretch is great for bindings because it helps form to the edge and won't create waves on the edges of the quilt. 

To cut fabric on the bias, the hardest part is orienting the fabric so that is at a 45 degree angle. 

First, UNFOLD the fabric! If you cut the fabric while folded, you might end up with V-shaped fabric strips. 

Next, figure out the 45 degree angle. My cutting mat has this reference for me. 

Cutting mat with 45 degree angles.

If your mat does not have this, you can line it up on a grid. Do you see how the 45 degree line goes diagonally through the corners of these one inch squares? Just line your ruler up to the intersections on these squares and you have a 45 degree angle.

Next, cutting. There are two methods I want to show you. The first is keeping the fabric straight and angling the ruler.

I have my fabric unfolded and lined up on my grid with the horizontal and vertical lines. I then lined up my ruler onto the 45 angle line on the mat. The rulers edges just peek out and meet up with the line. You can then cut on that line. Use this cut line as a reference point for future cuts. 

Ruler angled and fabric straight

The next method is keeping the ruler straight and angling the fabric.  In this example, I lined up the selvage edge of the fabric to the 45 degree line. I then cut, following the vertical grid lines. 

With this method, you can fold the fabric along the horizontal line. As long as you are cutting perpendicular to the fold, you will not end up with v-shaped strips. 

Bias cut strips

If you do somehow end up with v-shaped strips, just cut on fold and you can still use them. They will just be shorter. 

Personally, I like the second method better. It is easier to make longer cuts. 

 

This blog post is the next in a series of posts about binding. Check out the other posts below. 

Cutting Fabric on the Bias

How to Make Bias Tape Using a Bias Tape Maker

The Difference Between Single and Double Fold Bias Tape

How to Join the Edges of Binding and Sew on Bias Tape

If you have any questions or comments about your preferred way to cut on a bias, leave a comment below!

Have fun quilting!


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