How to cut bias strips quickly and easily

This is not my original method, and I'm sorry to say that I don't know who came up with it
originally. I just think it's a great way to cut a lot of bias strips quickly.

This method works with any rectangular piece of fabric, although the narrower the fabric the
shorter your bias strips will be (and the more sewing you'll need to do to make long bias strips).

I've shown the steps here using paper with lines drawn on one side to indicate grain line (in this
case, parallel to the selvage edge) and you may want to practice this once or twice with paper
(marked on one side) and an old rotary blade.

Be sure to read all the way through the instructions before beginning.
Step 1
Start with the right side of the fabric
facing you, with the longest edge
placed horizontally.

The selvage edges will be on the left
and right (if they're still on the fabric).
Step 2
Fold the bottom right corner up so that
the top edges are parallel, the fold
makes a point at the upper right
corner, and the bottom makes a 45°
Step 3
Fold the top right point down so that it
looks like a pirate hat from elementary
school; the top right corner will meet at
the 45° corner at the lower middle-left
Step 4
Next take the top right angled edge
and fold it so that the point comes
down (about to where my thumb is in
this picture). You can see the fold line
if you look closely.

All you're doing is making the shape
smaller to make cutting easier; the
bottom right 45° edge will fold back on
Step 5
The folded fabric (paper in this case) has
been rotated 45° counter-clockwise, with
that edge that way by my thumb in step 4
now on the right.

I've cut off a sliver of fabric to remove the
fold. If you make this cut and the fold
doesn't come off in one long piece, you
haven't folded correctly.
Step 6a
Rotate the folded fabric all the way
around so that you can line up your
ruler along the edge that was just cut
and cut your strips. Make sure to
square up frequently by
double-checking that the bottom edge
and left edge are both lining up with
the ruler.
Step 6b
Here you can see one strip cut.
Step 6c
Since my paper was small, I only cut
two strips so that you can see what
happens when the fabric is unfolded.
You can cut as many strips as you
have fabric for, but some of the strips
will be very short.

Note that you can't just sew them
together at this point; you'll have to
either trim them to have the same
shape, as in the strip on the right.
If there's something that's not clear, please don't hesitate to ask me about it!
all images, graphics, and text  © Kat LeFevre/Pieceful Stitches Designs 2002-2008
last modified Feb 16, 2008
visitors since February 25, 2006