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What is Sewing Tape?

A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky

Sewing tape comes in several different forms, and serves a variety of functions. The three most common types of sewing tape are hemming tape, bias tape and stitch tape.

Hemming tape often looks like lace and comes in a variety of colors. It is frequently used to hem a garment when a perfectly flat hem is necessary, such as on a pair of cuffed slacks, or when the garment’s fabric is sufficiently fluid that a regular hem would be awkward at the bottom, but a rolled hem would not be suitable. It is also suitable for hemming nearly any other garment, as well. If a fabric has a large print or stripe, the stitches for the hemming tape will not show on the outside as much, although it can also be hand stitched so the stitches are not as obvious.

A seamstress utilizes hemming tape.
A seamstress utilizes hemming tape.

Hemming tape is easy to use. A seamstress simply folds the hem of the garment and pins it in place, then presses the hem to make the crease permanent. The hemming tape is placed across the edge of the hem on the wrong side of the fabric and is stitched top and bottom, to hold it in place.

Bias tape is a sewing tape often used for trim or other decoration. It may be used to trim a neckline or armhole --sometimes in a contrasting color -- or to neatly bind a raw edge of material. Bias tape comes pre-folded and measured, much as hemming tape, but it is usually cut from cotton or cotton blend fabric, on the bias. It is often topstitched for necklines or armholes, but when such stitching is not desired, it can be slip stitched by hand on the garment. Bias tape is also used in home décor projects and as a sturdy binder for items such as towels and potholders. Blanket binding is also a type of sewing tape, used to finish the edge of cotton or flannel blankets.

Bias tape is a sewing tape often used for trim or other decoration.
Bias tape is a sewing tape often used for trim or other decoration.

The third type of sewing tape is stitch tape. This tape is used when a sewing machine is not available, or when machine stitching is not necessary, such as for a Halloween costume or curtains for a dorm room. Stitch tape works much like fusible interfacing. It is sandwiched between two folded-over raw edges, as for a seam, and then pressed together with a hot iron. The stitch tape then adheres to both pieces of material, creating a seam. It is also useful for hemming these kinds of projects quickly.

Sewing tape is handy in any sewing kit, and can serve many purposes in making garments or in crafting.

Discussion Comments


@anon191310: This sounds like an item you might find at a good fabric store. Not the fabric section at Wal-Mart, but a dedicated fabric store, like Hancock's or something similar. I'd start looking there, and ask the sales associates if they've ever heard of such a thing.


Is there a one inch wide white cotton tape with a 1/4 buttonhole about every 2 inches along its length? That's what I'm looking for. I cannot do it myself as I have lost the electric cord for my machine. Thank you.


I like things like bias tape or no sew hemming tape for projects that involve refashioning a garment into something else. For example, when trying to turn a pullover sweater into a cardigan, a tape that can fuse to the fabric helps keep it from unraveling without having to worry about making the new seam look right, which can be hard with lighter colours of fabric or thinner knits.


While all of these types of sewing tape have either fusible or semi-fusible versions these days,I know many sewers who swear by the traditional concept of sewing things in themselves; especially things like bias and interfacing. While it takes more time and work, many believe it have a much better-quality, nicer look.

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    • A seamstress utilizes hemming tape.
      By: kalou1927
      A seamstress utilizes hemming tape.
    • Bias tape is a sewing tape often used for trim or other decoration.
      By: Pixelot
      Bias tape is a sewing tape often used for trim or other decoration.