Monday, October 17, 2011

Sewing Basics # 14 - Easy Peasy Bias Strips

I don't know about you, but the prospect of accurately marking out and cutting narrow strips of fabric on the bias seemed a bit too fiddly and a bit too much like hard work for my liking. So for ages I relied on my stash of ready made bias tape for projects. Then I had a minor brainwave and tried out the basic idea here. What d'ya know...it worked! Alot of you seemed to think it was a pretty neat idea, so I thought I'd share my  bias strip technique in a little more detail in case, like me, you can't be arsed to faff about ;)

I used one of these bias tape makers to make my bias binding.  This particular size requires strips of fabric 1" wide. So I got me some 1" wide low tack masking tape (masking tape comes in several widths in our local hardware shop. If I need 2" wide bias strips I just use 2" wide masking tape)...

The fabric pictured is cut in a perfect square. (See here for an easy way to do this. The technique applies the same way to fabric as it does for paper!)  Now for a little geometry. Bias tape needs to be cut at a 45 degree angle to the grainline. On a perfect square, from point to point diagonally across the square, is exactly 45 degrees. So the strip of masking tape below, marks out a 1" wide strip of fabric at a 45 degree angle...

Every subsequent piece of tape lined up against it will therefore be at the perfect 45 degree angle too. I just kept adding strips of tape either side until they became too short to be of reasonable use. (For zero waste, the resulting corners/trianges left over at the end.could go in your scrap pile until you've enough to make some bunting)....

Leaving just enough gap between each strip of tape for your scissor blades...

...provides a super accurate cutting guide and stabilises the fabric whilst you are cutting (bias by it's nature is prone to stretching) this is especially useful on fine and/or slippery fabrics....

You end up with a load of strips backed with masking tape. Exactly the right size, with poker straight edges and cut precisely on the bias....

Square off the ends....

...and there you have them. Lovely neat bias strips. Ready to use to make your own bias tape. (I've been making up more than I need, then peeling off the masking tape as and when I need the make some bias tape up. Otherwise I leave the masking tape in place to keep them stabilised and store them for future use)

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Px

33 comments :

  1. I much prefer this way than measuring, then cutting. Great tip! Thanks.

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  2. That is a genius idea! I've always been put off making bias tape, just the fiddlieness (is that a word?) of it. Off to raid DH's DIY stuff. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. OMG - thank you!
    I was seriously pondering to get a rotary cutter to achieve straight cuts, but this is so much better!

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  4. such a simple idea, why haven't i ever thought of it?? ahhhh! thanks so much for sharing :3

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  5. Hmm, very interesting way to do this!

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  6. This is amazing! I tried making bias tape once and it was a major fail! They do have machines that will make it for you but I can't justify the cost. I will have to try this!

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  7. oh my god - genius! I love adding silk charmeuse bias tape to projects for a little bit of shine and this is going to save me a lot of time and heart ache!

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  8. What a great technique! I've always used the one I found on Colette patterns'blog, but this might come in handy! I'm a bit obsessed with self made piping, so I use all of my scraps to make bias strips.

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  9. Sheer genius. A nightmare task made effortless!

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  10. I love masking tape! What a GREAT idea! Thank you so much!

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  11. This is great, I need to share this with a friend of mine who just asked "what is bias tape?". She is new to sewing and I told her she could buy it, but making is always nice because it gives you more options to find a coordinating fabric. This is a great picture tutorial that will make it so easy.

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  12. Karen, indeed you do, he he! Watch this space :)

    AGoodWardrobe, this'll be perfect for silk charmeuse or anything similary delicate. So glad!

    Annabelle, glad it could help your friend.

    Everyone, so pleased you find this useful. Dunno about genius....Laziness is the mother of invention, ha ha!

    Px

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  13. Oh, this is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing! :-)

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  14. this is such an awesome idea! Thank you! I made some today and it was totally easy peasy :)

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  15. What a fantastic idea and a great tutorial - thanks!

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  16. I'm loving the masking tape trick, pure genius! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  17. Very cool, thank you for showing us. Lg Heike

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  18. I love that technique! The tape idea is genius.

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  19. Oh! Now this is a revelation! Thanks!

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  20. You have freed me from the grip of the old tired and never straight bias tape. I am sure the rotary cutter companies hide this trick from us. GRATEFUL HOBBY SEAMS FROM TX.

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  21. This is an amazing idea. double wow! saves time and helps with accuracy.

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  22. This is an incredible idea. I have found the rotary cutter helpful but gave up and rely on store bought tape.

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  23. wow so clever idea!

    http://babyemilycloset.blogspot.co.uk/

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  24. OMG. I think I love you! lol!

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  25. Oh my gosh you are a GENIUS. Wow this would have saved me so much time time and hassle, I wish I would have seen it before darn it!

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  26. Oh, thanks for this stroke of utter genius! I avoid bias bits and bobs like the plague, but there's no excuse now!

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  27. I just stumbled across this... you are a shear genius! I love the idea of leaving the tape in place. I've used blue painter's tape in quilting but never hit upon the idea of tape for making bias strips. Perfect, perfect, perfect! Thank you very, very much.

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  28. LOVE IT. Got cutting mat and rotary cutter but this is just SOOO much better! Thank you!

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