Sunday, April 26, 2009

My love affair...

with bias tape. Mitch knows all about it. He finds my in my sewing room, measuring, ironing, cutting, and he knows.

I really do love bias tape. It is wonderfully versatile. You can make curved casing with it, bind armholes and necklines, bind hems (yay! no hemming!!), make pretty edges, use it to make ties... There are more... I particularly love it for binding the edges of my ring slings. If you want to read more about slings, look here and here.
It is also cheap, which is nice. A package of three yards is only about a buck fifty, but, if you make it yourself, it is even cheaper, and you can make it out of any print you want! How awesome is that!? I usually get about 10 yards of 1/2 inch double fold (that's "extra wide" in the packages) bias tape out of a 1/2 yard piece of fabric.

Are you excited yet? Here's the kicker - it's not even hard to make. It can get a little tedious, as there is a lot of marking, but there are some awesome instructions here from the Dread Pirate Rodgers, and here are some tips from me. (and a cute baby, trimmed with handmade bias tape.)
1. Buy yourself one of these. It is a bias tape maker. It costs about five bucks at Hancock's. You'll find it in the quilting section. It will make pressing your tape SOOO much easier. I have done it both by hand and with the tape maker, and with the tape maker, it took about half as long. Go get one.

2. As you are pressing your tape, roll it onto something so that your creases don't fall out and you don't tangle the tape. Here I am using the top part of a blank CD container. Worked great. Empty ribbon spools are also good, as long as they are wide.

3. For your print, remember that you are cutting on the bias, and folding the tape into a small size, so a big print will get lost, and things that are lined up will look different on the tape. Polka dots, for example, look very different, and you may not like the effect. Take an edge of the fabric and fold it up, approximating the bias, so you aren't disappointed after you've worked so hard.

4. If you choose to make your tape by hand, and are making double fold, start by folding the tape in half, then tucking under the edges. It is easier than measuring the edges individually. then folding in half.

5. Read the instructions on the bias tape maker for pressing, if you are using it. They're right, although I did find that ironing with the point of the iron (rather than the long edge) was better when I ironed over seams.

6. Pay no attention to the instructions for cutting out your bias strips. Use the link above. Making individual bias strips and then sewing them together is ridiculously tedious. Don't do it!

7. Make extra. You'll use it.

Now get creative! Bias tape is awesome!!

I'd love to hear your tips and tricks, so please share!

1 comment:

  1. I lost your email address, so please email me so I can reply about a different topic.

    I was looking for this tool today, you would think as a quilter I would have one. The truth is I've never made it, I always cut strips and sew together. But this is better. Hobby lobby had two, 1 inch and 1/2. Do you have both and use them for different things? Or do you mostly use the smaller one?

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