Monday, April 1, 2013

Bias Tape Tutorial by Guest Blogger, Heather of Littlestprettythings.com


Bias tape is one of those things that can make any project feel really special.  We are excited to share Heather's tutorial, of the fantastic blog littlestprettythings.com.  Here you'll find step by step instructions on how to make this versatile trim!   And stay tuned for another tutorial from Heather, where you can put your beautifully finished bias tape to use!


I am quite sure there are many, many tutorials for making your own bias tape on the internet, but as a self-taught novice sewer I still get confused by it sometimes. 

Bias tape is simply strips of fabric, cut on the bias (the diagonal) then sewn into one continuous strip, folded, folded, and folded again to make a neat little casing for raw edges. It is cut on the diagonal because generally woven fabrics don't have much give, but when cut on the bias there is just a tiny bit of stretch. This is particularly useful for binding curved edges. You get a nice, neat trim with no puckering. Do not shortcut by cutting strips with the grain and think "Oh, it'll be fine," because trust me – it will definitely not be fine. 

Anyway, fabric stores sell bias tape in all sorts of widths but mainly in just solid colors. Sometimes it's fun to use something a bit more interesting. In that case, get your cutting mat and rotary blade out – we've got work to do.


For 4 yards of ½" double-folded bias tape you'll need:

•           fat quarter of desired fabric
•           rotary blade
•           cutting mat
•           straight edge (I like using a quilters ruler)
•           bias tape maker* (note: a 1" bias tape maker will make ½" double-folded bias tape)
•           coordinating thread


* A bias tape maker is not necessary but it will make your life about a million times easier.


 

1.     Lay your fabric out on a flat surface. Fold the bottom corner up, even with the selvedge. Cut excess fabric away, creating a perfect square.
2.     With the fabric still folded in half, use scissors to cut along the fold. This is the bias. You now have two triangles.
3.     To make it easier to cut, fold the triangle in half bias-corner to bias-corner. Arrange the fabric on your mat so the bias edge is lined up with the ruler markings and the selvedge edge is on the diagonal.
4.     For ½" double-folded bias tape, cut you fabric into 2" strips. (to determine the width of your strips multiply your desired finished width by 4. ½ bias tape: .5×4=2 so 2" strips.)
5.     Piece your strips right-sides together leaving a ¼" overhang on each side. Then sew the strips together using a ¼" seam allowance. I actually have my presser foot marked with a permanent marker at a ¼" to make this easier. You want your needle to start at exactly the point where the 2 fabrics meet.

By overhanging the corners of the strips ¼" and sewing a ¼" seam allowance you will get a perfectly aligned strip. Lining the strips up evenly will cause them to stagger at each seam once sewn. No good. 

Once you've sewed your strips together press the seam allowances open. Now you're ready for the bias tape maker.



1.      Feed your strip through the bias tape maker and press as you pull the tool down your ironing board. You will be creating two folds toward the center of the strip. Be mindful here to keep the folds as even as you can.

* If you don't have a bias tape maker, you'll have to manually fold each side in to meet the center. I iron the strip in half first then fold the edges in to meet the crease and iron again. Watch your fingers!

2.     Once all the fabric has been fed through the bias tape maker, fold the strip in half again (hence "double-folded" bias tape) and press. 

There you have it! 4 long yards of beautiful double-folded bias tape!

Thanks so much Heather!  



4 comments:

  1. Excellent tutorial. I've been wanting to try to make my own, but wasn't sure how to start. Thank you!

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  2. Using the 'continuous bias' technique would eliminate having to match and sew all those short seams.

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  3. Consider yourself hugged! You have posted the simplest to follow photos of how to fold and cut fabric. Some instructions are so mind-boggling that I simply give up. Thank you!

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  4. Thanks for the tutorial! I have been making baby bibs with bias tape and have gotten a lot of puckering. I told my mom I just made strips of fabric (not on the bias) and she showed me why cutting on the bias is so important! We didn't have time to actually do the cutting and sewing it together, so this is super helpful! I just started sewing on my own a few months ago and there is still so much I need to learn!

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