It would be nice if fabric came in endless strips and you didn’t have to worry about piecing borders or bindings. But where is the fun in that ?
Fabric comes in 42″ widths, give or take a couple of inches and often you will need to join two or more width of fabric pieces to make longer strips for your quilt’s border or binding. My favourite way to join these strips is with a Diagonal seam.
What is a Diaganol Seam?
Diagonally sewn seams are sometimes referred to as bias seams because the seam is sewn on a 45 degree angle (true bias). Visually a diagonal seam is more appealing than a straight seam. It is less bulky and a lot stronger than the straight across version. At least that’s my theory!
Using Diagonal Seam
I use diagonal seams for binding, borders, sashing and straps. A binding with several colours using the scrap fabrics from your quilt can be quite an effective finish. The first time I used scraps was because I didn’t have enough fabric to finish my binding. When you are in a crunch you get creative. (I look at it as artistic licence) It’s either that or have another UFO hanging around.
Here is one way to sew a Diagonal Seam.
Sewing a Diagonal Seam
|Lay the strips at right angles with right sides together.Overlap the strips by at least 1/4″Make sure you are not including any of the selvage edges|
|Use a pencil or a fabric marker draw a line on the wrong side of the fabric.Begin drawing the line at the “V” the right angle has formed.Start at the top left ”V” and draw the line to the bottom right “V”|
|Glue baste or pin in the right top corner away from where you will be sewing.This will help keep your strips at right angles when moving to your sewing machine as well as when you are sewing.I like to glue baste in place as I have no chance of running in to a pin!|
|Follow the line you drew and begin sewing at the point of the “V”.Sew from the top left to the bottom right. You are sewing on a 45 degree angle.This is true bias and it will be stretchy.To avoid stretching guide the fabric through your machine. Don’t pull on the fabric.
See Working With Bias for more tips on bias fabric.
|Cut excess where the 2 strips overlap leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.|
|Press both seam allowances to the same side|
|Press right side up and check to make sure your seam is pressed flat.|
You have just completed a diagonal seam. It is so easy you will be speed sewing strips in no time!
Do you have some diagonal seam woes or a different way that you would like to share?
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