Bias tape miracle

  As you guys know, I sew a lot.  That doesn't mean I'm immune to the issues less prolific sewers face.  I can't stand zippers (it's an irrational, emotional hatred, I know how to put them in fairly easily), projects inevitably stall when sleeves need to put in and, until now, the idea of making coordinating bias tape to work with a project brought on fits of swearing that would make a Marine blush.

  But that was before I discovered this blog post.

  At first I was skeptical.  I'd purchased one of the metal bias tape makers a few years ago and found that it was essentially a waste of $4.  It didn't keep the fold centered, and if I was going to have to be folding it all down with my fingers anyhow, why bother with the tool?

  But, I couldn't sleep this weekend...and being up at 5 am will make a girl do crazy things.  Like try random card stock printables you've found online.  I have to say, I am SO glad I did.

  I'll walk you through how it works, then you should try it for yourself!

  First, cut your strips on the bias.  The instructions that print out with the tape maker have the measurement for what size strip you want.  I screwed up and didn't scale mine properly, so it makes slightly smaller tape than it's supposed to (give me a little bit of slack, it was really, really early and I was incredibly tired).

  ...For anybody who is looking at that picture and doesn't already have a cutting mat, rotary cutter and clear ruler and is thinking they can get away with just buying the rotary cutter and using a metal ruler and a plastic cutting board....I'm not going to tell you you can't.  But I am going to mention that I had the exact same thought a little less than 10 years ago.  Now I have a "cute" scar on my index finger to remind me how close I came to cutting the tip of my finger off, and that skimping on the proper materials only saves you money if you don't wind up in the ER.

  If you want an especially long strip of bias tape, cross two strips like this, with tails that are as long as your seam allowance is deep.  (My seam allowance is .25" so I have .25" of fabric hanging off each end)

  Once your strips are joined, press the seam allowances flat and trim off the tails.

  To get started, you actually have to manually fold a small portion of the tape by yourself.  ...I know, I know, I grumbled too, but you can't get it into the tape maker properly without doing it.

Please ignore my notes, they're in regards to the mistakes in scaling.

  Push the point of your fabric strip down through the tape maker using the point of a pin.  Now you're ready to start ironing.

  Make sure you're ironing up in the middle of the template.  If you're working with cotton, the bias tape will usually hold together even if you do the ironing at the bottom off of the template, but with synthetic fabrics (this is rayon), it will unfold as it cools.  The card stock strips below this center channel hold the folds together while it cools so you wind up with nice, crisply folded bias tape.

  When you're done, you simply fold the whole thing in half and iron it down the middle to create double folded bias tape.

  As I finished my first strip, I found myself thinking that the only thing that would be better, would be if she had a template for half inch, double folded bias tape too.  I always find myself wanting it for waist ties and what not.

  What do you like to use bias tape for? 
 Will you be using it more now that you have an easy way to make it?  I certainly will!

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  • 12/15/2011 1:47 PM Terri Sue wrote:
    i have never had any problem with the regular size bias tape maker. i learned about it 25 years ago while taking a smocking class when my daughter was 2. our instructor gave us a handy little tip. a yard stick is the exact width of regular bias tape. at that time there was no such thing as a rotary cutter. so you would fold your fabric to the true bias, and then lay the yard stick along it, and mark a straight line on both sides. after that just keep lining up the yard stick to a line and mark the other side till you have enough. of couse you have to cut along the lines with scissors. i still don't own a rotary cutter. join the pieces as you have. the only challenge with the bias tape maker is to get it started. you should have an angled end. push the end in and if it won't go through turn it over so you see the black plastic parts. there are openings. all you have to do is stick a pin in and drag the pin down which will force the material out some. continue this until you can grab the tip. writing this takes a whole lot longer than actually doing it. pull it down until you have a fold and start pressing. it goes really fast and easy. you won't have to keep making them because they are made out of paper. i urge you to give it another try.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/15/2011 3:29 PM ecb wrote:
        I'm not sure I've ever tried the kind of bias tape maker you're using.  The ones I've tried are completely metal and don't have any plastic parts.  Perhaps I'll have to keep an eye out!

      Reply to this
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