Apr 17

Bias tape maker

Bias tape can be purchased fairly inexpensively, but sometimes you’re in a bind and you need some right away. It’s really easy to make using an inexpensive little doodad and some strips of fabric. It can be as basic as grabbing some solid colored cotton, or sometimes you’re looking for something you couldn’t get in the store that is made out of your project fabric.

I recommend cutting some extra strips next time you’re cutting strips of fabric for a project. Then you can have some go-to strips handy for making bias tape or piping on a whim. See the tutorial on piping here.


(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Retro stellar blue - REOSTL

Bias tape maker - AKA doodad

Cutting supplies

If you’re looking for information on how to cut and join bias strips, please see the tutorial for the baby quilt binding here – but not until you read this section. The difference will be in the width of strips you cut. There are different doodads (this is the code word I will use for the “bias strip maker”) that create different sizes of bias tape. Mine makes a 3/4″ wide finished tape, but since the two raw edges of the strip are folded to meet in the center, I need to cut my fabric strips twice that width, or 1-1/2″ wide. You may need to adjust according to the doodad you bought.

Also regarding the tutorial I linked to above: I used bias-cut strips for the baby quilt and for this demonstration. It’s not absolutely necessary. You can use strips cut along the grain of the fabric (bias cut means they were cut at a 45 degree angle to the grain), but they won’t be able to hug any curves as easily. It depends on the project.

In the photos for this tutorial, I’m using a heavier, home decor weight fabric. It worked just fine, and so does nice, lightweight quilters cotton, which is used in the video demonstration.

I am still getting the hang of making videos. It’s a little bit blurry, but it gets the job done! Bear with me.

The process

With your strip right side down (if it has a wrong and right side), insert it into the wide side of the doodad. The instructions on the package suggest using an awl to push it in. I happened to have an awl handy (what else do I ever need it for!?). It definitely helped to get things moving. Push the fabric through until it starts to come out at the left side.
I’ve gotten it started, so now I’ve turned it so the strip is exiting to my right, because I need to press as I go and I’m right-handed.

As you can see in the photo, the doodad has turned the raw edges of the strip inward to meet each other in the center.

As you slowly slide the doodad to the left, gently press with your iron the part that is coming out the right side.

If you are using bias-cut strips, press gently. Bias-cut fabric stretches very easily.

I have found that when using lightweight fabrics, the seams flow through pretty easily. But with this heavy fabric, that wasn’t so much the case. I slowed down here and helped feed it in with my fingers/awl. It then progressed quite easily.
Easing it in … just keeping the seam allowance from catching and wadding up.

And that’s all there is to it. You just go all the way down the strip. If you want it folded in the center, you can fold and press lengthwise, encasing the raw edges inside. This is great for binding raw edges of projects.