Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Non Bias Tape 101

I am very pro non bias tape. All of what we do is in the moment. A quick reaction to what the garment is asking for. If it wants bias tape, then yes we must have it quickly. The realities of true bias tape are painful. You have to cut triangles of fabric--which takes up your precious yardage. Then you must breath deeply and determine which edge of which triangle lines up to make a conscious loop of fabric sewn just off the selvage to allow room to cut....the confusion goes on. Therefore, I have decided it is very appropriate to use non bias tape whenever possible. With knits, there is no compromise.

Here are a few steps to making non bias tape:

1) Cut across the grain of fabric (perpendicular to the little lines of knit) about 1/4 inch less than what your bias tape maker is needing. (If you want the end result of your bias tape to be 1/2 inch wide, then you need a 1 inch bias tape maker. In this case you would feed a 1 and 3/4 inch wide strip of fabric into the maker.

2) At the ironing board...iron set to very hot...cut a diagonal at the end of your strip. Feed the point into your maker, possibly using the tip of your seam ripper to help guide it through. Once the tip pops out the end gently pull your fabric through until the entire width is smoothly running through the maker. If your fabric is lumpy and bunchy most likely your strip is too wide for that maker. Trim it down a bit and try again.

3) Set your maker down, metal handle up, on the ironing board and use the tip of the iron to push the maker slowly along your strip of fabric. Once you have allowed an iron's length through let your iron sit for a minute to make sure your fabric is well creased. (This is especially true with knits. ) Then keep pushing, waiting, pushing waiting...

4) Once your maker slides off the end of your strip go back to the beginning and fold your tape in half and iron it again.

True bias tape purchased in the store is folded just off of center. This allows you to put the widest side on the under side of what you are stitching...allowing a greater chance for you to catch it on the back side of your work.

good luck.

ht, sj


1) to my mother for teaching me to sew starting at 8 y/o
2) childrens early bed times
3) good food on the table
4) spelt sourdough starter
5) friends

Videos to help with the lingo:

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