In the previous post (Continuous Bias Strip) showed you how I create continuous bias strips. In this post I’ll show you how I transform those strips into continuous bias tape. Bias tape is a bias strip that has been folded (wrong sides together) and pressed. It’s used for concealing cut fabric edges in a variety of projects.
First a quick recap
A continuous bias strip is a long strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias (45° to the selvage). It’s the precursor for bias tape. Single fold bias tape is a bias strip with it’s raw edges folded toward the centre (wrong sides together) and pressed. Double fold bias tape is single fold bias tape that has been folded in half and pressed again.
Make Single Fold Bias Tape
Once you’ve prepared your continuous bias strip (see previous post), you’re ready to make single fold bias tape. Lay your continuous bias strip lengthwise on your ironing board, with the wrong side facing up. Fold the top and bottom edges towards the centre and press. Repeat for the next section of bias.
Remember, bias-cut fabric is stretchy. Make sure you are pressing (not ironing) to avoid distorting your bias tape.
I’ve noticed that I get the best results when my iron is heated to the maximum temperature that the fabric I’m using can safely withstand. A light spritz with water also helps to create a sharp crease. I suspect spray starch would also be great for this.
I have used a seam gage, pins and plenty of patience to fold a strip of continuous bias into continuous bias tape. The longer your continuous bias strip is the more time consuming this process is.
Use strips of card stock
I’ve also tried using a piece of thin card stock the width of the finished single fold bias tape as a guide. I cut my card stock at least 12” (30 cm) long so that I could work on a reasonable length of bias strip at a time. I position the card stock in the middle of the bias strip then, fold the long edges of the bias strip around it. I press along the length of the card stop then slide the card stock to the next section of bias strip and repeat. While I was pleasantly surprised by how much faster this was compared to pinning, I did notice that the folds are not as sharp.
Use DIY Bias Tape Tool
YouTuber “Pantapuff” demonstrates how to make a bias tape tool with card stock: DIY Bias Tape Tool. I tried this method. Feed your bias strip through the 3 holes and carefully press the end of the bias tape. Slowly move the card stock Bias Tape Tool along the bias strip, pressing as you go. This is an efficient way to make a long strip of single fold in a short amount time and it results in single fold bias tape with sharp folds.
How To Use Bias Tape Maker Tools
Bias Tape Maker Tools are metal or metal and plastic tools for making single fold bias tape. They are a good investment if you plan on making a lot of bias tape. My un-branded bias tape tools didn’t come with instructions. I have to admit that I was using them with the wrong width of continuous bias strip the first few times. The results were unsatisfactory and they sat in their mini-drawer for a long time.
To avoid making the same user error mistake that I did, I recommend downloading this cutting guide for continuous bias tape: “Whip-Stich.com cutting guide Continuous Bias Tape”.
I’ve recreated a portion of Whip-Stitch.com’s table below:
The label on the bottom of a bias tape tool indicates the finished size of the single fold bias tape that the tool makes. Feel the end of the continuous bias strip into the slot at the wide end of the bias tape tool. The handle of the bias tape tool will be on the top and the bias strip will be the wrong side up. You may need to use an awl or a seam ripper to force the end of the bias strip all the way to the narrow end of the tool.
Pull a few inches of bias strip through the tool and press to get the bias tape started. Slide the bias tape maker tool along the bias strip a few inches at a time, pressing as you go. You may wish to pin the pressed end of the bias tape to your ironing board, but I don’t find this necessary.
Here’s a photo of single fold bias strips being made with the common sizes of bias tape maker tools. Top to bottom: 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″.
The next photo shows some common sizes of single fold bias tape and the tools that made them: 1″ wide with DIY tools, 1″ wide with tool, 1/2″ wide with tool, and 1/4″ wide with tool.
Your single fold bias tape is now ready for use. Alternatively, you can turn it into double fold bias tape.
Buy Single Fold Bias Tape Tools
While I can’t find any information about what brand my bias tape maker tools are or where I purchased them, I do know that the Clover brand tools are highly regarded. Several sizes are available and they can be purchased individually and as a kit. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Make Double Fold Bias Tape
Once you’ve made single fold bias, it’s surprising easy to turn it into double fold bias tape. Fold the single fold bias tape in half lengthwise and press it. I find pins and a spirtz of water give me the crispest double fold bias tape. Feel free to use spray starch.
Incidentally, the above three widths of continuous bias tape were made using rectangular pieces of fabric that were 11.25″ by 12″. Notice how the yield increases as the width decreases: 72″ of 1/2″ wide double fold bias tape, 106″ of 1/4″ wide double fold bias tape and 186″ of 1/8″ wide double fold bias tape.
Storing Bias Tape
Store bought bias tape is usually sold in lengths of 4 yards (3.6 m) and is wrapped around a 2” by 5” piece of card stock and covered in cellophane. I like to warp my homemade bias tape on a piece of card stock (eg cereal box) and secure it with either a pin, elastic band or long twist tie. If my bias tape is longer than 4 yards, I usually cut the card stock a little wider (eg 3” by 5”) to better accommodate the additional bulk. I’ve dedicated a shoebox-sized plastic box for storing bias tape, piping and ribbon, so I don’t bother to wrap my bias tape in plastic or cellophane.
Have you used bias tape? Have you made your bias bias tape? Comment below and/or Pin me for later.