Bias tape is a great and much-used accent for all types of home dec projects. But how many of us have braved the hours of tedious folding to create a good amount of it, or burned our fingers trying to iron the perfect crease? Well, snuff out those burnt fingers, because there is a great tool for dealing with this: the Bias Tape Maker. Here we share a few hints and tips to make using it easier.
Before you purchase a bias tape maker, you need to decide the width of bias tape you would like to make. Each tool is created for a specific width of bias tape, starting with ¼" and ranging as high as 2".
After you decide which tool you need, you'll need to determine the length and width of bias tape you need for your project. Inside the packaging of the bias tape maker, you'll find a handy reference chart that outlines how wide you need to cut your strips for feeding through the maker. This takes care of the width. For the length necessary, check out our article Bias Tape: How to Make it and Attach It. This provides a great resource to help you determine the amount of bias tape you'll need, and how to sew the strips together to get one long piece.
Once you have your long strip sewn together to the length you need, you're ready to use the bias tape maker. It really is as easy as it looks: just feed the bias strips into the left side of the maker, and folded strips come out the right side. As the strips come out the right side, iron them flat with your iron.
You might find it to be a little bit tricky at first to get the fabric fed into the device. Cutting the front of the strip at an angle helps. And, you can use a pin to guide it through via the opening at the top of the bias tape maker.
Once you have the strip fed through, pin the end of your strip to the far side of your ironing board. This will hold the strip in place so you can easily pull the bias strips through the bias tape maker. There's also a little handle on the device that's meant for pulling it along your tape.
In our photo above you'll notice we are ironing with the point of our iron. Some people prefer to use the side of the iron. If you're new to the technique, you might try this sideways option first. There's less chance you'll slip and open the fold slightly with the point of the iron, making the ironed strip slightly wider than intended.
If it is necessary your bias strips are precisely accurate, you may be a bit disappointed. The width tends to vary slightly when you use this tool. One way to try to combat this is to mark two parallel lines, the width you need your bias tape to be, on a piece of scrap fabric as long as your ironing board. You can then put this marked fabric across the length of your ironing board to check the accuracy of the bias tape as it comes out the side of the bias maker. For most projects, a slight variance in width won't be noticeable, but some of us are a bit more ... um ... exacting than others. Exacting sounds better than picky doesn't it?
Bias tape makers can be found at most local fabric stores. The most popular brand is Clover; in fact, I'm hard pressed to find any other inexpensive retail options other than Clover. Here are a few online sources: