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Thread: Newbie Question - single vs double fold binding & bias

  1. #1
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    Newbie Question - single vs double fold binding & bias

    So I have finished one quilt and the binding came out well. It was the sort where you just fold a 2.5" strip in half, sew on one side of quilt, then flip around the edge and finish by hand. It came out well.

    Now I have a changing pad I am making based on various examples/patterns I have seen around the internet. All the tutorials call for bias tape. I am not sure about the difference.

    So, could someone please give me a quick lesson? What is the difference in binding and bias? are they the same?

    Why would I use single or double fold?

    The changing pad has rounded corners if it makes a difference, while I did mitered corners on the quilt.

    (and if you have time for a bonus lesson, any tips on going around my rounded corners with the binding? I just used a CD as a guide to cut the corner off, if that tells you what sort of curve I am working with)

    Thanks!!!
    Last edited by romille; 08-20-2013 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    When doing rounded corners you really need to use strips of fabric cut on the bias. This is because, as you sew around the corner, the outer fabric needs to stretch more than your sewn line.

    Most quilters use straight-of-grain fabric strips to bind quilts as it handles much more easily than bias-cut strips. For quilts the corners are typically mitered, so there is no need for the stretch. Quilts with scalloped edges require bias fabric strips for the stretch.

    You can bind with either straight-of-grain fabric strips or bias-cut fabric strips; however, they handle differently.

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    OK, so the main difference in binding versus bias strips is the grain?

    I am still learning about grains too. Is bias cut diagonally, or perpendicular to the selvage? When I cut the fabric for my changing pad's binding (which I haven't sewn on yet) I just used a straight edge and cut towards the selvage, not at an angle. Was that a mistake?

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    There are two straight-of-grains in fabric. WOF is width-of-fabric, and is how most of us cut strips for piecing and also for binding. The cut extends from one selvedge edge to the other. This is the most stretchy straight-of-grain. This is probably how you cut your strips. If your pad's corners are round (say, the size of a small saucer), then this cut will probably not have enough stretch in it to get around the corners. If the corners are more softly rounded (say, the size of a dinner plate) then there may be enough stretch in this cut.

    The most stable grain runs the length of the fabric (parallel to the selvedge). When possible, quilters like to cut border strips with this grain because it makes the borders more stable.

    Bias is anything that is cut off-grain. The stretchiest bias is cut 45 degrees to both straight-of-grains. Bias strips cut at different angles will still be very stretchy, but the closer you get to the straight-of-grain on one edge or the other the less stretch the strip will have.

    You can test all these with your fabric. Hole your hands 8 inches or so apart and grab your fabric in each hand. Pull. On the lengthwise grain you will see little or no stretch. On the crosswise grain you will see a little stretch. On the bias you will see a lot of stretch.

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    Things are starting to make more sense now! Thanks I will stash what I have already cut and cut the new fabric cross grain for the binding.

    Now I just need to figure out when to use single or double fold.

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    Ooo... I just found a great page that helps answer my questions... I will post it here in case someone comes looking for the same answer in the future.

    http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/te...bias-tape.html

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If you are talking about recutting fabric strips for the pad with the rounded corners, then you probably mean you want to cut the new fabric on the bias for the binding.

    The fold types can be confusing.

    With quilts, almost everyone folds the fabric in half, sews the cut edges to the quilt, then turns the strip to sew it down on the other side. This creates *two* layers of fabric in the binding. Bindings are subjected to the most wear on a quilt, so having two layers of fabric in the binding helps the edge last longer. This is called "French fold" or "double fold" binding.

    Often other types of sewing call for fabric that has two folds (cut edges towards the middle) for binding. This is what you see in bias tape. It is actually called "single fold" (have not looked this up to see why). Something like your changing pad with rounded corners (and potholders) often call for this type of binding because it is cut on the bias and has a *lot* of stretch in the middle -- which is where you need it when sewing rounded corners, at what will be the outside edge of the rounded corner. The folds make the edges more stable, but the single layer of bias fabric in the middle gets to stretch a *lot*. This is very helpful on, say, potholders where you need enormous stretch around tight rounded corners.

    Connecting Threads has a series of tutorials on binding you might want to check out:
    http://www.connectingthreads.com/tut...tutorials.html

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by romille View Post
    Things are starting to make more sense now! Thanks I will stash what I have already cut and cut the new fabric cross grain for the binding.

    Now I just need to figure out when to use single or double fold.
    If it has rounded corners you should use the bias binding. Cross grain binding won't go around the corners. As for single or double fold, I think the double fold holds up better.

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    OK. you figured out bias will work best on the corners. Being a changing pad that till probably get a lot of use and washing, I would go with the double fold. This gives a more wearable edge. The single may wear out a little faster. Usually a single fold works when you are making a small wall hanging or mini quilt. There you do not want the bulk to take away from the quilt itself.

  10. #10
    Super Member KerryK's Avatar
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    You can go to www.youtube.com and insert "bias binding" in the search box and you will get lots of good information. I go to youtube a lot for various answers.

    Sounds like you are doing great! Be sure and post pictures!
    Kerry
    ~ American by birth, Southern by the grace of God ~

  11. #11
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    If you are talking about recutting fabric strips for the pad with the rounded corners, then you probably mean you want to cut the new fabric on the bias for the binding.

    The fold types can be confusing.

    With quilts, almost everyone folds the fabric in half, sews the cut edges to the quilt, then turns the strip to sew it down on the other side. This creates *two* layers of fabric in the binding. Bindings are subjected to the most wear on a quilt, so having two layers of fabric in the binding helps the edge last longer. This is called "French fold" or "double fold" binding.

    Often other types of sewing call for fabric that has two folds (cut edges towards the middle) for binding. This is what you see in bias tape. It is actually called "single fold" (have not looked this up to see why). Something like your changing pad with rounded corners (and potholders) often call for this type of binding because it is cut on the bias and has a *lot* of stretch in the middle -- which is where you need it when sewing rounded corners, at what will be the outside edge of the rounded corner. The folds make the edges more stable, but the single layer of bias fabric in the middle gets to stretch a *lot*. This is very helpful on, say, potholders where you need enormous stretch around tight rounded corners.

    Connecting Threads has a series of tutorials on binding you might want to check out:
    http://www.connectingthreads.com/tut...tutorials.html
    French fold and double fold binding are not the same. French fold is folded in half in the center and both raw edges are sewn to the edge of the quilt. Double fold is single layer, folded in half with both raw edges folded to the center. If you go to the store and buy double fold binding you will not get binding that will be two layers thick.

  12. #12
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    Is the changing pad just a single piece of fabric? Is it pieced? Will it have a solid back? When I do receiving blankets with rounded corners (2 layers thicK), I do an envelop style finish.

    Here is what I do: Finish the top and quilt it to the batting (for receiving blankets I do not use batting), but not the backing fabric. Cut the backing fabric to exactly fit the top and batting. Place the back on the quilt top, right sides together and stitch a 1/2" seam around the 4 sides -- depending on the size of the quilt leave a 10" or larger opening since you will be pulling the quilt through the hole. Trim the seams by cutting away any uneven fabric or batting. Clip the corners by trimming off a little triangle. Do not cut through the stitching. Turn the quilt right-side-out, then press so the backing is not visible from the front. Fold and press the open edges inward a 1/2". Glue the opening edges together. Top stitch 1/4" from the edge to secure. If you want to secure the back to the quilt you can tack it or do a bit more quilting. I have also spray basted the batting to the top instead of quilting it, stitched and turned the quilt, finished the edges by stitching and either tied or quilted the quilt at that point.

    I like this finish for quilts that are going to be used very hard.
    QuiltnLady1

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  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    French fold and double fold binding are not the same. French fold is folded in half in the center and both raw edges are sewn to the edge of the quilt. Double fold is single layer, folded in half with both raw edges folded to the center. If you go to the store and buy double fold binding you will not get binding that will be two layers thick.
    The Connecting Threads tutorial on binding (part 1) says that French fold is double fold binding. Doesn't make sense to me, especially with their accompanying diagram, but I figured they would know the correct terminology. Here is the website:
    http://www.connectingthreads.com/tut...tion__D98.html

  14. #14
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    The Connecting Threads tutorial on binding (part 1) says that French fold is double fold binding. Doesn't make sense to me, especially with their accompanying diagram, but I figured they would know the correct terminology. Here is the website:
    http://www.connectingthreads.com/tut...tion__D98.html
    I used to have a web page that had diagrams of the three types of binding. It's on my other computer and I don't remember what search terms I used to find it the first time.

    Their diagram is double fold binding but not French fold.

    I think a big part of the confusion over the terms are from people that only sew quilts and didn't necessarily learn proper terms for sewing things from garment construction.

    Found it! http://www.sewing.org/html/biasbinding.html
    Last edited by Scissor Queen; 08-20-2013 at 08:57 PM.

  15. #15
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    I think a big part of the confusion over the terms are from people that only sew quilts and didn't necessarily learn proper terms for sewing things from garment construction.
    I'm sure that's true. I just wish the commercial quilting sites would get it right!
    Last edited by Prism99; 08-21-2013 at 09:02 AM.

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