DIY Bias Tape - No Special Tools Required

Well, my navy twill shorts went right back on hold. I almost never get to sew on the weekend and this weekend's busyness spilled into this week. Today, when I finally had time to work on them, I decided I was a bit bored with the project (this happens frequently and is why I don't generally publish sewing reviews in series). So instead, I took on a related project - a bit of bias tape to spruce up the interior of the shorts.

I tend to keep all of my sewing scraps and never find a use for them. So, I pulled out the scraps from a sunwashed madras that I used recently as a shirt muslin. I cut out a long rectangle to work with. Then, after a few minutes of Googling, I had two sets of instructions to use. One, from "Prudent Baby" which showed how to cut the fabric into a strip (that's right, just one) and the other from "Creative Little Daisy" that explained how to iron the bias strip without any special tools!

What you need:
A large scrap of fabric trimmed to a square or rectangle
Tailor's marker
Threaded machine

Ok, let's begin. First, lay out your fabric right side up. Fold one side into a triangle, lining up the side edge with the selvage, and lightly press.

Open the triangle and cut it off.

Move this triangle to the other end, lining up the two edges, right side together. Sew. (I used a 1/4" seam allowance here.)

Press seam open. Your fabric should now be a parallelagram.

Flip the fabric, wrong side up. Using your ruler as I guide, draw a line parallel to one edge. I found my Dritz Dressmaker's ruler helpful as it a slot at 1" in which I could make my mark.

Slide your ruler over, even with the new mark, and draw another line. Be sure to space your lines twice as far apart as you want your single fold bias tape to be or four times as far you want your double-fold tape to be. (Ex: I spaced mine 1" apart which gives me 1/2" single-fold tape or 1/4" double fold tape.) Continue your lines until you reach the opposite end of your fabric.

Flip the fabric back onto the wrong side. Fold the fabric lengthwise, off-setting the lines by one (the edge of one side will line up with the first mark on the other).

Now, Prudent Baby was certainly correct in saying it will feel like your doing something wrong. Just go with it. The fabric will twist and it will seem odd by it does work. When you've lined up all of your marks, sew a 1/4" seam down the length. Press seam open.

Next, you're going to cut along the lines you made, around the spiral again and again, until you have one long bias strip.

Yay! Prudent Baby then suggests a Clover Bias Tape Maker but since I don't yet have one, we're going to use the Creative Little Daisy method.

Using a ruler or seam gauge as a reference, stick a pin through your ironing board cover twice, creating a gap the size you want your single-fold tape or twice the size of the desired double-fold. (Ex: I left a 1/2" gap.)

Next, cut the end of your strip to make an even triangle and feed it under the pin. You'll need to guide the fold for the first few inches.

As you pull it through, press it. I found this worked best when I left the iron next to the pin and pulled both ends taught so that the fabric feeding through buckled into the right fold. Continue pulling the fabric through, keeping an eye on the fold, until you reach the end.

You will now have single-fold bias tape! For double-fold, fold the tape in half lengthwise and press. Wrap the tape around a small piece of cardboard and admire your work!

This is a cheap and easy way to get the exact color, pattern, and size bias tape you need for your next project.The possibilities are now endless! If you make enough, the fabric you choose can become your trademark. Use it to personalize all your sewing projects!

Tomorrow [hopefully], back to the shorts! x

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