If you use a lot of single fold bias tapes or Double folded bias tapes in your sewing, and you want them uniformly folded without much effort and in no time, this is one sewing tool that will definitely find pride of place in your sewing kitty – a Bias Tape Maker.
I do not have to elucidate on the uses of bias tapes in sewing – I absolutely cannot do without bias tapes in making thin straps for clothes, masks, aprons, binding fabric edges of quilts, potholders, runners and a lot of things I make. Bias tape is not only used as a binding finish in sewing – it is also a nice trim. You can also use it to sew a border.
When you need a lot of bias tape, and you are making them the traditional way, there are chances of you getting frustrated, trying to navigate the folds of the fabric strips and the hot iron pressing them in place at the same time, even burning fingers. And prepackaged bias tapes are more expensive than their worth. So definitely, this tool is a boon.
A disclaimer – This is not an electric bias tape maker – these are simple handheld metal bias tape-making tools that are comparatively inexpensive and gives you the ability to make yards and yards of bias tape very easily. Just feed the fabric strips through this tool and it will automatically convert to beautifully folded bias tapes.
How to use the Bias tape maker
To use this tool you need to cut your strips. If you do not want a stretchy tape (which is what a bias tape is all about- it stretches to accommodate the fabric edge you are binding) you can cut the fabric on the straight edge (parallel to the selvage of the fabric) or by the crosswise grain for a little bit of stretch.
For cutting bias strips you will have to mark the fabric along the diagonal. Check out this post on cutting bias strips in different ways here.
They are usually available as a set for making tapes in different widths- 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 2″
25 mm is one inch – if you use the tool with this marking (on the back) you will get a 1 inch wide single fold bias tape; 18 mm =3/4 inch; 12 mm = 1/2 inch; 6 mm =1/4 inch
I used a 1 inch wide fabric strip and passed through the 12 mm bias maker tool to get a 1/2 inch wide single bias tape. Cut 1 1/2 inch strips and feed through the bias tape maker marked 25 mm ( largest in the lot I bought) to get a perfect 3/4 inch wide bias tape.
As you pull out the fabric you need to keep a hot iron handy near you to press as you pull the bias tape out.
Attach a very long and thin needle and thread on the short edge of the bias tape. Use a sturdy thread. Pull the needle through the back to the front of your bias tape maker. Now tug the fabric through the bias tape maker with the needle and thread.
This will ease the fabric into the bias tape maker more easily than any other way. Another way is to use a sharp object like an awl or knitting needle to pull the fabric through the bias tape maker. Remember to place the fabric right side down as you pull.
You can also pin the end of the bias strip to the surface of your ironing table or whichever surface you are using. Pull carefully with the steel handle.
Press as the tape emerges out from the end of the tape maker. (This step is non-optional). Some people apply a little starch to the fabric strips to get a stiffer bias tape with neat folds. Check out this tutorial on home made starch.
Keep all the bias tapes you have made rolled on a cardboard card neatly till the time you are ready to sew it. Use a small piece of masking tape to keep the ends in place.