Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bias Tape and the Merits Thereof

I'm making headway on the Celtic knot applique' blocks, which by the way, are made using my own bias tape.  I would not have done it without one handy little tool: the Clover fusible bias tape maker 1/4".  I recommend the Clover brand...I had purchased a different brand bias tape maker and it simply didn't work (impossible to push the fabric through it).

The bias tape maker is simple: just pull your pre-cut fabric (for the 1/4" tool, I found that a generous 1/2" strip of fabric worked best) strip through the tool while following immediately with a hot iron.  I also tried using the fusible bias tape threaded through the slot the tool has for it, to fuse the sticky stuff to the bias tape... to aid in pinning and placement for the applique' later, but... I had better luck not using the tool for that and just ironing the fusible tape onto my finished bias tape (as opposed to doing it all at once).

A quick side note: What is bias tape?, you may ask.  It is strips of fabric cut on the bias of a piece of fabric, at a 45 degree angle to the threads of the fabric.  The bias is the cross-grain of the fabric.  An easy way to figure this out is to lay a piece of fabric out that still has the selvages on it.  One selvage at the left and one selvage at the right, meaning the raw edges of your fabric (the edges that were cut off the bolt) are at the top and bottom.  Now fold the top right hand corner down at a 45 degree angle and at the fold is where your first cut should be, following the line of the fold.

Fabrics cut on the bias, do not fray.  They stretch and bend with ease making them perfect for countless finishing details, such as the Celtic applique' (which requires many curves), finishing edges for pillows, clothing, etc.  I made bias tape to finish this blue dress for Baby Girl.  And running the bias-cut strips through a bias tape maker folds the raw edges of the strips under...saving you the tedious work of doing it with just an iron.

Part of me hates to cut up a perfectly fine piece of fabric to make bias tape, but you can't buy bias tape as nice/interesting/suiting as what you can make.

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