How to Make Bias Tape: Add a Custom Touch

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Quilting | Comments


quilting

Making bias tape using a bias tape maker is something that is easy to do, and bias tape has a variety of uses in sewing and quilting projects. Plus, being able to create your own bias tape in the fabric of your choice allows you to perfectly match colors and not be limited by the availability of pre-made bias tapes available for purchase at the store.

bias tape

Clover offers an easy to use bias tape maker that comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/4”to 2” wide. Along with the bias tape maker you will need a couple of other readily available supplies to create your bias tape. Gather an iron, some spray starch and an awl or toothpick. Also, pre-cut your fabric strips to a width double that of your finished bias tape. (For example, if you are using the 1/2” bias tape maker you will need to pre-cut your strips of fabric to 1” wide.)

Keep in mind that your fabric strips do not always need to be cut on the bias. If you will be using your bias tape to appliqué straight stems for flowers, you can safely use fabric strips cut on the straight of grain. If, however, you are making bias tape that will be appliquéd to create a curvy vine in the border of your quilt, you need to cut the strips on the bias.

make bias tape

How To Make Bias Tape: Step-By-Step

Step 1:

The first step in making bias tape using a bias tape maker is to starch and iron your fabric. Generously spray your fabric with starch and press until dry. This will create a stiffer feel to your fabric which will also make it easier to pull the fabric through the bias tape maker. After your fabric strips have been starched and pressed, you are ready to create your bias tape.

Step 2:

Simply insert your fabric through the wide end of the bias tape maker, using an awl or a toothpick to gently pull the fabric along through the slot at the top of the bias tape maker until the fabric begins to come out through the narrow end of the tool. When the fabric comes out of the narrow end it will have folds on both sides.

Step 3:

Pull a short length of tape through at a time, using your iron to quickly press the folds flat as each section is pulled through. Continue pulling the fabric and pressing until you have an entire strip of bias tape.

Your handmade bias tape is now ready to be used in your appliqué and quilting projects!

piecing

To secure bias tape stems or vines to your quilting and appliqué blocks, simply pin bias tape (or use small dots of acid-free water-soluble glue) to secure your quilt background. Then, use a matching thread along with an appliqué stitch to attach the bias tape along all long edges.

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to make bias tape using a bias tape maker, will you make your own bias tape for an upcoming project? Delve further into bias fabrics in the Craftsy online class Machine-Finished Hand Appliqué with Beth Ferrier.

Comments

  1. Joan says:

    These really work great, have most sizes and am never at a loss for the right size strips when I need them. Hope everyone will at least get one of the makers and give it a try.

  2. Sylvia says:

    I am soo getting one!!! Either 1 or 2 inch bias, going to have to trial press some fabric to see which size I like best!

  3. Rachel says:

    I found it easier to use the iron to kind of slide the metal part along the fabric strip, a few pins and one night and I turned 10 yards of fabric into bias tape that way without burning my finger tips Steam makes it much more professional looking but the metal piece gets HOT so be careful. I can’t think of which color I have the red and the blue one as well. I love these.

  4. comelee says:

    The old dog learned a neat new trick. thank you.

  5. Joan says:

    One other item I found helps with this…those neat teflon fingertip covers from the quilters section. I had difficulty not burning myself as I was working quickly and closely. No worries now!

  6. Dwanna winkler says:

    Where can I buy the bias tape making tool?

  7. Nancy says:

    If you don’t have a tape maker or need a custom size, try this: determine the width you want your tape to be (after folding both sides to the center), for example one-half inch, then take a long pin, insert it into your ironing board cover and right back up (like taking a small stitch), then insert the end one-half inch away (or equivalent to the finished width of your strip. Manually fold the first half inch or so of the end of your strip to get started, place this folded end under the pin, then pull through slowly while you press the strip.

    Also, when I do use the strip makers, I find it easier to flip it over and press from the back.

    1. mykema@comcast.net says:

      I use this method. Too. I o ly bought one bias tape maker and it wasn’t.t big enough. I use an additional pin about four inches away from the first . I can fold both sides ofthe fabric and iron at the same time. I put the iron between the pins.