Saturday, March 22, 2014

DIY: Making Bias Tape

Here's a quick overview on how to make your own bias tape. Usually, the selvages of fabric run along the top and sides of your fabric. The bias, is where your fabric will have the most stretch and give. Try giving it a tug. Nice and springy right?

Many patterns that ask you to use bias do so when it's for a product that has a lot of curves...cushions, neck ties etc. When you use fabric cut on the bias, it will sit nicely, and not get as twisted as fabric cut on the selvage.

Part of the reason I didn't like the cushion I'd finished was because the piping didn't curve as easily since the pattern didn't use bias tape. The piping was bumpy because it was just shoved in the main fabric (that had been cut on the selvage). It wasn't quite as noticeable before because the fabric was a lot more dense:

See how the piping goes up and down and how it's not as straight along the edges?...

Since my fabric wasn't quite as heavy as the floral fabric, you could really see some lumps and bumps going on:

That's not quite the look I wanted. So I decided to experiment with the extra fabric I had on hand and see if it would look better using fabric cut on the bias. And yep, it looked a lot better. So if you want to make your cushion, or project look more professional here's how you can make your own bias tape:

First lay out your fabric...

Then fold up one corner so it make a 90 degree angle. It is possible to make a bias tape without seams, but it will use up a lot of fabric. If you don't want any seams then make sure you have the correct length. I really don't mind a couple of seams. You can't even really see them when making piping, and it saves tons of fabric.

Once you figure out how much you need start cutting along the edge...

Then, go on ahead and cut the fabric in strips with the width you'll need. I had some piping that was used in the back of the couch that I used as a pattern. If you're not sure just make it the width you'd like and add 5/8's of an inch on either side for your seam allowance.

Once you have strips cut out and ready to go, piece them together by making right angles with the strips and lining up the edges. Pin it first where you seam will be, and pull it up to see if both strips line up evenly. If not, move it over until they do and then sew them together.

You can see here my strips didn't line up perfectly, but they lined up enough that I'd still have enough fabric for my piping and seam allowance to be 5/8's an inch.

Once you have the length you need, put the piping inside and pin it. You can also snip of the extra triangular fabric poking out at the top...

Then it's time to sew. Most people suggest using a zipper foot. If you have one, use it. If not, you can still continue. I lost mine long ago and just make do without. Whatever you are using, just sew along the edge of the piping right along it's side.

Here's what it looks like after the piping tube is nice and snugly sewn inside:

Then you'll place it (with the 5/8's seam closest to you and the piping furthest from you). You'll have the right sides (the side of the fabric you want to be's the blue side of my fabric) of your fabric together.

Then pin it right under the piping again and sew along again.

When you're all done, you'll be glad you used bias strips for piping. Your finished product will look a lot neater and professional (Here's a sneak peek of how it's starting to really come together).

 If you want to see the other tutorials for my latest project of reupholstering a couch look here, here, and here. I'll get the tutorial on stapling up soon...And hopefully, I'll finally get to that gimp that I've had sitting on my table and will finally be done! I got a little side tracked by starting up another project...Easter dresses! Spring is in the air and I couldn't be more excited!

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