Friday, January 15, 2010

How To Make Bias Tape

You will need:

  1. Patience; if this isn't available a punching bag will also help :)
  2. a ruler
  3. scissors
  4. marking tool; Chalk preferably as it won't set in with ironing
  5. iron and ironing board
  6. fabric & thread
  7. sewing machine
  8. bobby pin/safety pin (long enough for the size that you are using ie. 1/2" double folded bias tape- you will need a bobby pin that is 1" or longer)

Bias tape has a wide array of uses. So what the heck is it? It's fabric that is cut on the diagonal (45 degrees)

It bends with the curves unlike if you were to use the straight grain of the fabric. It's used in finishing edges, cording and such. I needed some bias tape in order to complete my diaper bag so I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to try and make it myself. I can tell you it's not that hard to make. The main reason why I wanted to make it was because the hubby said "just buy some". Bias tape only comes in very basic colours, so if you want it to match your fabric or you want a pattern fabric, you will have to make it.

I had a lot of black cotton that I got from the 1.97 bin at Walmart. So I hit the net to research and came across a tutorial on how to make a continuous bias strip found here. This is a really good tutorial especially if you need a lot of bias tape. Make some and save it for later. I really liked how simple it was to follow.

After my strip was a long piece of unfolded bias tape, I needed to make it into double folded bias tape. So I again set out to figure it. I did have a 1/2" bias tape maker. However I needed a 1/2" double folded bias tape when completed. After spending more time trying to figure that out I finally realized that a 1/2" bias tape maker will make a 1/4" double folded bias tape. I then realized that the procedure was really simple and all you really needed was a bobby pin or safety pin equal to the single folded bias. Confused yet? Keep reading it will make sense.

I needed a 1/2" double fold so my bias strip was 2" to start (your bias strip is equal to 4 times the amount needed ie 1/2" x 4 = 2") So take your ruler and mark 2 dots so that the distance between them is 1 inch (which is a single fold in my case). Take your bobby pin and insert it before the lower dot and very quickly insert it again up through the dot (where my finger is) then insert the pin into the next dot and back out through the fabric of your ironing boarding and close it. You should now have a gap between the two dots that you marked.

Now insert your bias strip underneath the gap. It will start to fold inwards creating a single folded bias strip.

Take your ruler and measure the fold before pressing (should be 1" if following my measurements) then press. Once you get enough fabric through you can take your other hand and guide the fabric while keeping the iron down. Then if you need it double fold, fold in half and press it again.
Now take an empty piece of cardboard or a toilet paper roll and roll it up. Your done!

I also found a really great gadget on the market now made by Simplicity. Once you've completed making the bias strip you roll it around a wheel then insert it into the machine. It then goes through the bias maker and through a iron creating a single fold bias strip. It costs about $79.99 + US for the machine. I really can't imagine spending that much for this machine but if you make a lot of bias tape than it would be worth it as it would eliminate one step.

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