tutorial: bias tape on a shirt

I’ve been getting a guilt trip from both girls, that I don’t sew much for little P, which is totally true. I also don’t shop much for her; she ends up getting mostly hand-me-downs. I guess that’s the price for being the second daughter (I speak from experience!). Since P and I share the birth order spot, I guess that explains why I sometimes have an extra soft spot for her 😉 So here it is, at your request and theirs– a spring outfit for P, a bias tape tutorial for you! (I made her suspender skirt based off of this tutorial, and I liked it so much that I already made two of them and can’t wait to try more, but how many suspender skirts does a girl really need?!)

Step 1. Cut your pattern and sew your stay stitching if needed.

I am using Wrights extra wide (.5 inch) double fold bias tape. I am going to call the folded edge the “closed” side, and the side that opens (where my thumb is in the above picture) the “open” side.

 Step 2. Fold bodice in half and press firmly to create a crease down the middle.

Step 3. Measure how far the tape is from the edge of the neckline and pin, with the closed side of the bias tape on the left side and the open side of the tape facing the collar.

Step 4. Lay the tape down in the pattern you want, tracing it with your finger to smooth. Mine is going to be a V, so I am putting the line right down the middle of my V. When you fold the tape this way, the closed side of the bias tape will now be on the top and the open side will be on the bottom.

Step 5. Make sure that the top layer overlaps and covers the bottom layer on each of the the open sides of the bias tape.

Step 6. Carefully pin, starting on the outside and working your way in, making sure to only pin through the tape once.
Pinning through twice will cause the bias tape to twist and wrinkle and not lay flat. It doesn’t turn out pretty. Just trust me on this.

Step 7. Sew the tape to the shirt. It seems to be best to sew 1/8″ from the edge of the tape to be sure to get both layers in the seam. When you get to the overlapped part, sew one stitch, then turn your fabric (while your needle is still down) to sew up the other side.

Step 8. Follow steps 3-7 for any more stripes you want to add; changing to matching thread as you go; making sure that there is a pretty, symmetrical little triangle between each stripe and lining it up with the crease.
TIP: if you aren’t leaving any space between your stripes, like me, make sure your foot is going over each previous stripe, and gently but firmly push them together as you sew so they don’t follow their natural inclination to move all over the place.

DONE! Well, kind of. Now finish the pattern directions; mine called for a 1/4″ hem, then an additional 1″ hem; but was incredibly short already, so I trimmed the sleeves and bottom in more bias tape. Now all we really need is an iron…


It got her stamp of approval for a.) being pink and b.) being comfortable enough to allow her to pretend to be a doggy. Alas, the photos of this well dressed pup were blurry since this little puppy is too quick for me to capture on camera, but boy do I wish I had proof of that moment–2 year olds are so much fun, I tell ya!


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