What is the difference between single and double fold bias tape?

Have you ever read a sewing tutorial and felt confused over the type of bias binding needed? I have! Really, there are several different types of bias tape; the thing they have in common is that they are cut on the bias, so have a slight stretch, and are therefore ideal for finishing raw edges. Some might be fusible, and they all come in different sizes and colours (making them great for decorative finishes too). But the most common are single and double fold bias tapes. Read on for a simple description of the two, and you’ll never be confused again!

Here is some lovely pink polka dot bias tape, which I recently used to embellish my Flamingo Embroidery Hoop (full tutorial here if you’re interested!) This is single fold….

…if you turn it over you’ll see why. Each edge has been folded in just once…

…and if I open it out, it looks like this – the tape essentially has three segments created by the folds.

Now lets look at some equally pretty double fold bias tape (haven’t come up with a project for this yet!) As you can see, this tape has been folded over on itself…

…and when I open it up, it begins to resemble the polka dot binding above. In other words, this one has been folded over one extra time (double fold!)

And when I open it up one more time, you’ll see each of those folds has actually created 4 segments.

So, if in doubt:

  • Single fold binding has the edges folded over to the middle
  • Double fold binding has the edges folded over AND has been folded in half again

Why the difference?

Well, double fold tape can be used to bind raw edges. This is because it can be folded over the edge of a sewing project and sewn in place so the tape can be seen from both sides. Look closely and you’ll see one side is ever so slightly bigger than the other, making it overlap by a tiny amount. This means, when you stitch the shorter side, it will automatically catch the longer side, and the whole thing is secured with one neat and tidy row of stitches.

On the other hand, single fold tends to be sewn along one of its edges only, and then folded under and stitched in place again to finish a raw edge. In this way, it is only visible from the under side of a project or garment.

But hey, these aren’t hard and fast rules (and rules were made to be broken anyhow, right?) As with all things sewing, the creative possibilities are endless. And when your binding is as pretty as the examples above, well its just going to inspire you to use it in many and varied ways according to your project (like binding an embroidery hoop, or joining some handmade bunting together). So take this little bit of sewing knowledge and run with it however you feel inspired!

And if inspiration is something you are looking for in your sewing, you might be interested to join my Creative Sewing Challenge. Sign up for free to begin receiving monthly prompts, and challenge yourself to find new and interesting ways to sew to that theme. Members create all sorts of wonderful projects, from botanical-inspired textile art, to winter-tree inspired wreaths. All types of sewing and sewing abilities are welcome; its free, fun, and open to anyone. Find out more here, or sign up below:

And here’s a handy pin for one of your Pinterest sewing boards – thank you for sharing 🙂