Calculating Continuous Bias

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Now that you know how to create a continuous bias strip, let’s learn how to calculate yardage.  Now, I’m not just talking about determining the total amount of bias needed to bind your quilt.  I mean, how much material is actually needed to create that continuous bias strip used to finish your project.  This way, you are not left guessing.  You can head to the store with confidence and purchase that fabric! Or if your anything like me, you will be digging through stash!

Continuous Bias Formula


Continuous Bias Formulas | The Sewing Loft

This project is for all levels.

Skill Level- 1 Button

You can calculate the amount of fabric needed using the above formulas.  The above chart walks you through a few different ways to calculate your fabric.

Formula for Continuous Bias from yardage | The Sewing Loft


  • 360″ of bias x 4 1/2″ wide = 1620  ÷ 42″ wide fabric = 38.57″ ÷ 36 = 1.07 yards of fabric.
  • 220″ of bias x 3″ wide = 660 / 42″ wide fabric = 15.72″ / 36 = 0.436 yards

Formula for Continuous Bias from a Square | The Sewing Loft


  • 325″ bias x 2″ wide = 650 =  25.49″ or  26″ square of fabric
  • 150″ bias x 3″ wide = 450 = 21.21″ or 22″ square of fabric

Calculating fabric consumption for bias | The Sewing Loft


  • 15″ (14.5″) x 18″ (17.5) = 253.75 ÷ 2 1/2″ bias = 101.5″ bias
  • 20″ (19.5) x 22.5″ (22) = 429 ÷ 4″ bias = 107.25″ bias

I know what your thinking, this math stuff is for the birds.  I just want to sew!  But to be fair, sewing and pattern making actually requires a great deal of math.  Ask any sticher how much fabric is needed to complete a pattern and they will have to do a few quick calculations.  They are instantly thinking, how wide is the fabric.  Since fabric comes in different widths, this measurement is key when calculating yardage.

Continuous Bias Cheat Sheet


To get everyone on their merry way of stitching, I have created this easy cheat sheet.  To make things easy for you, I have created this cheat sheet. First, I suggest knowing the total amount of bias needed for your project.  Refer to your pattern or measure the total area.  Then, using the chart above, match up the total bias length with the total width.  Find the cross point on the chart and this is the magic number of square inches needed to create your continuous strip of bias.  You will see that it really does not take that much fabric.  For example, less than 1 yard is needed to create 300″ of 4″ wide bias.  (That’s pretty wide bias in my book.)


Printable Continuous Bias Cheat Sheet | The Sewing Loft

Let me show you an example:

My project requires 72″ of bias 2″ wide along the outside edge. By finding those numbers on the chart, you can see that I will need a 13″ square of fabric to create the needed bias strip.    That means, that I need less than a fat quarter to create the bias strip.

Cheat Sheet Example | The Sewing Loft

Free Download on The Sewing Loft


Creating custom bias is a great way to give your project that personal touch and creative flair.  The key is not to be caught short on fabric.  With a few minutes of prep work and simple calculations, you can be stitching with bias in confidence and complete your project with little fabric leftovers.




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  1. Thanks so much for the cheat sheets. I think I may understand it now. However, what if I need a much smaller amount, like going around a pillow?

  2. Demetria Santillan says

    THANK YOU! I had 1 1/2 yd of fabric that I wanted to use for piping fabric for a pillow cover but I didn’t know if it would be enough. Your formula solved my dilemma!! It will be enough! Now I know what to use from now on!! When this problem comes up again! I was racking my brain!! Thanks for letting me clear my head before it exploded! lol