Learn how to use a bias tape maker! The bias tape maker is a very nifty little machine. If you are going to bind with your own self-made bias tape, then this machine will save you lots of time. It is creative, funky and adds that special one-of-a-kind touch to whatever you are making. The bias tape maker makes the bias tape with equal sides as it pulls your strips of fabric through this wonderful gadget.
How to Use a Bias Tape Maker
It is important to note the bias tape maker comes in different widths. Having a couple of different sizes will give you more variety and scope. Bias tape can be used for a wide range of projects and is especially useful for trimming, neatening, and even hemming. When purchasing your bias tape maker look for one with several sizes in a kit form and that will ensure you have a tape for every occasion.
TIP: When looking at the widths on the bias tape makers, keep in mind that this is the width of the finished single fold bias tape. It is not the width of the fabric strips that you will insert inside.
How to Use a Bias Tape Maker Video
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How to Use a Bias Tape Maker - Step by Step
Here are the steps for how to use a bias tape maker:
Step 1 - Cut the Fabric
Cut the fabric you are using into the bias fabric strips at the right width for the bias binding maker you have purchased. Cut the tip of the fabric at an angle ready to feed into the bias strip maker.
Best Fabrics for Bias Strips
For the best results stick to natural fibers like cotton. Choose a fabric that has a small print because the bias binding strip is cut out into small narrow strips.
How Wide to Cut Bias Strips
Single Fold Bias - Cut the bias two times wider than the bias tape machine. A ½ inch (12mm) bias tape maker will take strips of fabric that are 1 inch (2.5cm) wide.
Double Fold Bias - Cut the bias four times wider than the bias tape machine. The fabric going through the machine will be folded in on itself twice. Once on each side to the middle. Then the sides are folded a second time to fold into the middle of the tape and this alters the width four times. A ½ inch (12mm) tape needs to be cut 2 inches (5cm) wide to fold the strip of bias tape through the machine and press a second time at the end.
How to Cut Bias Strips
Bias strips are best cut from squares of fabric. Cut a square of the fabric you plan to use and then fold it diagonally to mark the center. Measure strips along the diagonal at the width you need to use for your bias tape maker.
WIDTH CUTTING FORMULA:
- Single Fold – Cut strips double the finished width of the tape maker. For finished single fold bias tape of ½ inch, you will cut 1-inch strips.
- Double Fold – Cut strips x4 the finished width of the tape maker. For finished double fold bias tape of ½ inch, you will cut 2-inch strips.
Join the strips on the diagonal to ensure the stretch is continued for each strip of bias. Place two strips right sides together and stitch from corner to corner with a ¼ inch (6mm) seam allowance.
Press open the seams and trim the little triangles that stick out.
Continuous Bias Strips
Alternatively, learn how to make continuous bias strips. It is easy to do and works like magic. This avoids the bulk of having too many joins in the tape.
Step 2 - Insert the End
Ease the angled side of the bias strip into the bias strip maker.
Step 3 - Pull and Press
You feed the strip into the wider side of the bias strip maker and pull through. Then get ready to iron the strip as you pull it through the maker.
As the bias is pulled through the bias strip maker, press the sides of the tape to meet in the middle. Set your iron on steam and press down on the tape as the folded bias tape comes through the machine. It is a pull and press action rather than a sliding action.
At the end of pulling all the tape you have joined through, stop pressing and remove the machine.
Step 4 - Roll and Store
Roll your ready-made bias tape onto a cardboard rectangle and pin the ends to keep it neat and straight until you are ready to use the tape.
Making Double Fold Bias Tape
There is an extra step involved in making double fold bias tape. Make single fold bias tape with your bias maker.
Fold the tape in half down the center and press again. One side should be just slightly wider than the other - 1/16" (1.5mm) is enough. This completes the double-fold bias tape.
Alternatives to Using a Bias Tape Maker
Did you know there are some alternative ways to make bias tape single or double fold without buying a bias tape maker? For each of these ideas start with your ready cut bias tape.
Fold and Iron Method
This method is rather labour intensive as the bias tape fabric is folded in half to get a centre fold. Then the outside edges are folded and pressed to the middle to create the double fold bias tape using an iron.
This method uses the ironing board and a dress making pin or a needle for greater length.
- Insert the pin, or needle, in the ironing board, leaving enough space for the bias tape to be pulled through the pin space.
- Push the pin into the board and pick up a portion of the ironing board fabric at the beginning. Then leave the required space for the bias cut fabric to be threaded through and pin a second time.
- Pull the bias cut fabric under the pin and through to the other side. As the fabric is fed through the space left under the pin, check that the sides are curling towards each other and forming the two sides of the bias tape.
- The width of the tape will be dependent on the amount of space available under the pin. Extra-long pins or a needle will give more space between the area that is pinned or not pinned. A hatpin will allow a wider finished tape if you need more width for your tape.
Card and Pin Method
For this DIY bias maker you need some firm card, a craft knife or sharp scissors and a couple of pins.
- Cut a square of card wider than the finished tape size.
- In the middle of the card draw a horizontal line with a ruler the size of the tape you wish to make. Use a craft knife to cut through the slit. The slit should measure half the width of the bias tape with its folded sides. For example, a bias tape that will measure 2” when it is complete will need a slit that is 1” wide.
- The 2” bias tape will thread through the narrower slit and as you feed it through from the back of the card to the front you make sure that each side turns over to meet in the middle.
- Secure the card with some pins to the ironing board.
- Cut the bias tape at an angle to assist with the threading process.
- Watch the edges turn in and pull the tape from the back through onto the ironing board.
- As you pull the tape through you press the folded edges to meet in the middle.
- When you have finished this process, and the tape is free of the cardboard tape maker, it is pressed a second time to fold in half for double-fold bias tape.
The beauty of this method is your card, and the slit cut for the tape, can be any size you like.
How to Use a Bias Tape Maker - In Conclusion
Making and sewing with your own bias tape is a very creative way to finish your sewing projects. The bias tape you make will always be original. The different tape makers described in this article show how a simple DIY activity can be performed at home with a little invention of your own. Always make a bit extra and store your pieces of tape for another occasion when you may need just a little bitty piece of bias tape.
MORE ARTICLES ON BIAS TAPE
- How to Make Bias Tape
- Types of Bias Tape
- How to Sew Bias Tape
- How to Sew Double Fold Bias Tape
- Sewing Bias Tape
- How to Make Continuous Bias Tape
- How to Sew Bias Tape Corners
- Bias Bound Seam
- Hong Kong Finish
- How to Sew a V Neck with Bias Tape
- How to Make Piping
- Sewing Piping
- How to Bind a Quilt
- How to Use a Bias Tape Maker
- What is Bias Tape