Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Make One Inch Bias Tape

You can buy one inch bias tape at the fabric store. It comes in many solid colors and a few prints.
If you want bias tape with a little more pizzazz, or to match another print, you can make your own quite simply.
You can, of course use any piece of fabric, but my directions start with a fat quarter. The first challenge is to find the 45 degree angle to the corner. Note the green angled lines on the top left of the photo above.  That is the angle at which we will make our tape.
A fat quarter of fabric is 18 inches long with one edge of selvage. It is half the width of the fabric. That should be from 22-23 inches wide in woven cotton. They are precut and folded into nice rectangles in a bin but are usually not cut to order at the store.
 A fat quarter of fabric, available at both fabric shops and quilt shops, yields about 5 yards of one inch bias tape. Start by straightening the width of the fabric by pulling a thread along the bottom width of the cut.
 Cut along the line that shows where the thread was pulled.
 You can also tear the edge of the fabric if you have enough on the edge. It will tear on a straight thread. Notice though that threads are pulling into the fabric and may show on the tape surface. If you tear, which is much faster, do so carefully.
Fold the straight bottom edge to the selvage edge. The angle created by the fold is called the bias of the fabric. That is the line that will make bias tape. 
Cut along the bias line from corner to corner. 
 Fold carefully along the cut bias line. Straighten edge, if necessary, by cutting evenly along the edge. Cut into two inch strips using a rotary cutter and the straight edge of a ruler. Be as precise as possible.
Soon you will have a pile of bias strips.  
Sew the end of the strips together using the angle. Check to be sure that when folded out, it forms a straight line of fabric. 
You can speed this process by not lifting your presser foot between seams. If this advice confuses you, just carefully sew a quarter inch seam, lift your presser foot, Clip thread and repeat until the pieces are all sewn together in a continuous string of pieces.
If the edge of your seams do not match perfectly, it doesn't matter. They will be folded under.  Press the seams to the left as you face it.
The tool above is a one inch bias tape maker. These are available at fabric stores or here on Amazon. You can proceed without one by folding the edges down to leave a one inch surface which is the right side of the tape. That process is time consuming to do accurately. I highly recommend the tape maker.
Thread the end of the fabric through the tool, wrong side up. The edges fold in as they come out the narrow end. 
Press down using a steam iron and continue through the length bias. Be careful not to pull or stretch the fabric as you press.
If you want to use fabric scraps for tape, you can make it on the straight width of your fabric. Construct it as directed for bias tape. Sew the pieces together at an angle as directed for bias tape to keep them from becoming bulky. It will not have the stretch that bias tape does, but can be used in children's clothing as trim or binding.
It works well as binding or embellishment in a straight, flat  application. It is does not follow curves as readily as bias tape, but can be used for binding in a pillowcase dress, if you apply it with care.
 Wind onto a card to hold it in place. I like to do this while the fabric is still warm from the iron. Use colorful bias tape as trim on children's clothing. It is more durable than ribbon and not scratchy. Use a 1/8 inch seam on each edge to hold it in place. It is also great for binding edges and armholes as described in yesterday's post on GriggsDakota.

1 comment:

  1. You lost me 10 photos up on this one but I admire you and love whatever you are making in the last photo! !

    R and boys
    Your seamstress skills are a lost art, you know!