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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.