How to Sew a Bias Tape Facing

comments (16) November 4th, 2008     

Pin It

CalPatch cal patch, contributor
Love it! 105 users recommend
Using an inside bias tape facing is a great way to hem curved edges.
Heres some single-fold bias tape and my raw curved edge.
Pin the opened-up tape to the right side of your edge, aligning the raw edges.
Using an inside bias tape facing is a great way to hem curved edges.

Using an inside bias tape facing is a great way to hem curved edges.

Photo: Cal Patch

My sewing students are always asking how they should hem tightly curved edges like necklines and armholes. The standard double-turned hem just won't work because the edge of the curve is much smaller than the seamline. I like to finish these areas with an inside bias tape facing. From the outside it will look just like a turned hem! You can use this technique on straight or slightly curved edges as well; it's the way I prefer to finish all of my skirt waists. It also works as a hem when you don't have enough fabric to turn up; all you need is 1/4 inch of seam allowance.

You'll need single-fold bias tape for this method. It's your choice whether you match it closely to your project or use a fun contrast color. You can even make your own bias tape out of the same fabric if you want to.

Here's some single-fold bias tape and my raw curved edge.

1. Begin by opening up one of the tape's raw edges and pinning it to the right side of your curved edge, matching up the raw edges of bias tape and fabric.

Pin the opened-up tape to the right side of your edge, aligning the raw edges.

2. Sew directly on the foldline, about 1/4 inch from the edges of the tape and fabric.

This is where you sew, right on the (opened-up) fold.

Here's a close-up of how it looks once you've stitched inside the fold.

3. Flip the tape to the wrong side of the fabric and pin again. I like to fold it just slightly beyond the seam so that the tape will be completely hidden from the right side. From the wrong side, stitch again very close to the folded edge of the tape.

After flipping to the wrong side, you'll edgestitch close to the lower folded edge of the tape.

And that's it! Your facing looks nice and neat from the wrong side, and all you see is a line of stitching from the right side. Clean and simple!

From the wrong side (inside) you see the tape...

...and from the right side (outside) you don't!
Did you make this?
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
posted in: neckline, bias tape, facing, armhole, finish

Comments (16)

FitsLikeAGlove writes: Thanks sooo much for this, I emailed it to my sister who was in need of instructions and I didn't want to have to make them....Thank you!
Posted: 11:19 am on September 30th
Sewnknit writes: Thank you!! This is of great help. The pictures are very well done too.
Posted: 12:51 am on July 22nd
glogirl writes: Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is the best level of instruction I've seen. Pictures are worth a thousand words!
I was able to complete a beautiful skirt both inside and out for my 4 year old grandaughter, overnight. Your website of wonderful "how to's" has caused me to join as a CraftStylish member and given me a greater desire for future sewing projects.
Posted: 3:20 pm on September 1st
sweetwatercloth writes: Thank you so much, I too have been searching high and low for a clear tutorial on single-fold bias tape. This is perfectly worded and the pictures are clear - why can't pattern makers be as helpful as you!? :)
Posted: 2:12 pm on July 26th
itsgood2bgrami writes: OH MY GOSH...I JUST WANT TO HUG YOU!!!!
Posted: 4:29 pm on July 16th
anandaescudero writes: This post is amazing. So clear! Thank you!!
I just started sewing this week and I bought a template to follow. I got stuck on the bias tape and now I have completed my first sewing project ever! Thanks again!!
Posted: 1:11 am on June 29th
TheAfricanQueen writes: I pity the person who has not found your site. After searching the net quite proficiently, I found your info the most informative and the most helpful.

More is the pity that I never learned any of this while growing up. I just made my own bias tape a couple of days ago and I am so very excited! Who would have thought I would have ventured out into sewing land, especially when I have shed many a tear trying to sew clothes. I'm up to my sewing needle in a current project which I don't want to dispel until I am finished.

I'll be posting it on my blog over at if you want to stop by to take a peek.

Thank you again for the fabulous info on bias tape and how to apply it to a neckline.

Sewingly yours
Roberta aka TheAfricanQueen
Posted: 11:48 pm on November 17th
theemptynest writes: thanks Cal...I will be using this tip often!
Posted: 7:27 am on April 7th
vapeck writes: This technique works great with heavy fabric, too. I made a fitted shirt from stretch denim, and a standard double-turned hem would have been just too bulky. The bias tape helps the hem lay smooth, instead of rolling up like shirt hems sometimes do.
Posted: 8:41 pm on December 16th
sunrainor writes: Hi there - I found your post while '10-surfing' How to Sew for my blog What's On 10? - I featured your great tutorial there and this site - I think it's great!
Posted: 7:35 am on December 14th
cavalierking writes: Hey! Great, simple idea. Love it!
Posted: 3:13 pm on November 10th
msnge writes: great info and love the pictures.
Posted: 8:36 am on November 8th
Jemparrot writes: Thank you! This is so helpful! I didn't have a clue how to hem some of the skirts I've made----and it shows.
Posted: 4:34 am on November 8th
DarleneChun writes: Really nice job! Great finish and easy trick to a perfect rounded/curved hem.
Posted: 5:58 pm on November 5th
ifthebirdsknew writes: wowza....if i only had a gal like you hanging around in Somerville my hems would be way well sewn! great photography. kiss kiss
Posted: 1:37 pm on November 5th
cirone writes: wow, that's really helpful! great pictures. i had been wondering how to sew curved lines and was cutting weird notches into it (like on an inside of a bag) but not liking that because it didn't really seal off the seam from fraying.
Posted: 2:46 pm on November 4th
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.