Cutting Stripes On The Bias
When I posted about the baby quilt I made with vintage stripes, I had a few requests for a tutorial on how I achieved the matched bias stripes. I hemmed and hawed about how to do this, since I really didn’t want to post instructions that would allow people to make Allison’s Pow-Wow quilt without buying her pattern. That just didn’t feel right. So what I’ve decided is that I will show some quick tips about cutting the strips I used, but without any dimensions or instructions for putting the block together. I hope that everyone understands why I’ve chosen this course of action.
To start with, I really recommend starching the bejesus out of your piece of fabric. It should be as close to paper as possible. Seriously. Because you will be cutting your strips on the bias (45° in this case), they will be very prone to stretching and distortion as you pin and sew, and the starch will help to protect against that. It is also important to handle your strips quite gently for the same reason.
Once you’ve prepped your fabric, line up the 45° line on your ruler with one of the lower stripes. The more accurate you are with this, the more precise your final piecing will be. Begin by cutting off the bottom right corner.
Then repeat the same thing on the bottom left corner, such that you are cutting in the opposite direction from your first cut. How larger a corner you cut off will depend on how long a strip you require for your project. In the photo below I have cut to allow for an 8″ strip.
Now that you’ve set up your angles, you can begin to cut your strips at whatever width you require. If you need more than one pair then alternate which side you cut from so that you end up with pairs that are close to equal in length.
When you take one left-hand strip and one right-hand strip and place them together you’ll see that they line up!
You might notice that towards the top of the pair, it seems to slip out of alignment. This is because the stripes on my fabric weren’t perfectly straight. This particular sheet was well worn and hence thinner than new quilting cotton, so it was hard to avoid a bit of waviness. But if you are using new fabric, and you are careful to “press” instead of “iron,” you should get much more accuracy.
I hope this was helpful, and if you end up making something with these tips I would love it if you posted a picture in my Flickr group. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!