Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A bit bias

Bias tape.  You can buy it in the notions section, or you can make your own.  Bias tape is used to finish raw edges or add a decorative trim.  The Book also says you can use it replace facings in necklines, sleeves and armholes.  You can even use them to make tubing for button loops, spaghetti straps (woot woo), belts and ties.  Let's learn to make some, hmmm...

First of all, you need to find the bias.  Basically, the bias of a cut of fabric is at the 45 degree angle of the selvage edge.  Actually, I just made that up.  But I'm feeling pretty confident in it's accuracy, so let's go with it.  Welcome to my blog.  You need to find the actual bias, rather than just cutting along the straight edge, because a true bias will be more move more freely, making it easier to shape and curve as you sew and, for a garment, move. 

Beth over at Project: Project did an awesome little experiment with bias tape this week.  Plus she gives a few other tips in her post, as well.  Check it out, if not for the bias tape review, then for her crazy talent and beautiful Etsy shop.

To get the bias, you can fold the fabric with the lengthwise grain parallel to the crosswise grain.  The fold, or angle, is the bias.  I'm pointing to it here:

Or you can draw a perfect square in the fabric, butting one edge of the square against the selvage edge.  Then mark successively larger squares from there.

Then take a straight edge and line up the corners of each square, marking the bias

Now that you've found the true bias, mark out the desired width you want of each strip, and the desired number of strips you'll need

and cut

So now you'll have a bunch of long strips.  You need to connect them.

Lay a two strips, right sides facing, at right angles, like so

Sew together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance
Continue doing this until you've connected all your strips.

Press seam allowances open

And then I cut off those little triangles that jut out at each seam
And also cut the end of the bias strip to a flat edge, no longer angled

And that's it.

Or is it? 

To actually use the bias tape, read on:

1 comment:

Beth Lemon said...

How crazy! I just wrote about bias tape yesterday. I think we are on the same frequency. Wow.

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