How to Use A Bias Tape Maker

When I first started sewing bias binding, I did not know how to use a bias tape maker, let alone what it was! I would love to say that it was sewing love at first sight, but it wasn’t. So I’m here today so show you how to use a bias tape maker to prepare your bias tape for sewing.

I admit, I would avoid bias bindings because the preparation of the bias tape was a pain. Neatly folding the bias tape evenly and consistently through the length of the fabric would prove to be tricker than I thought. I would also burn my fingers trying to hold the bias tape together to press it neatly, especially try on our more tricky fabrics.

I knew the great benefit of using bias tape on my finishes, but I definitely dreaded the task. But, once I learned how to better prepare my bias tape with a bias tape maker, sewing with bias bindings became a breeze.

Benefits of Using a Tape Maker

Learning how to use a bias tape maker definitely changed my entire experience on the task. I used to think, ‘ugh! I can’t ever sew this bias tape the right way!” Then, I began to understand that sewing with bias binding was absolutely difficult because I was not preparing the bias binding tape for success.

Here’s where the bias tape maker comes in!

This tiny little tool gives you two amazing benefits: consistent folding for the bias tape and setting the tape for pressing. 

Consistent folding is the foundation of great bias binding. If the folding allowance is inconsistent throughout the length of tape, the aesthetic will be off, and may very likely show on your garment. While manually folding your bias tape is absolutely possible – don’t get me wrong. The bias tape maker tool just makes it go much faster.

With the folding, the tool has a tight enough opening to compress the fabric enough so that it will not unfold before you’ve had a chance to get your iron to it. Spending all of that time folding tiny bias binding only to have it pop open when you remove your hand and reach for your iron can add significant swearing time to the preparation of your bias tape.

Types of Bias Tape Makers

For our convenience, there are several sizes of bias tape makers available out there. The Clover brand carries a wide variety of sizing for their bias tape makers. I have four bias tape maker sizes, 6mm (1/4 in), 12mm (1/2 in),  18mm (3/4 in), and 25mm (1in).

Depending on the manufacturer, you may see measurements in millimeters or inches (hopefully both). The Clover bias tape makers have both measurements on the package, but on the actual bias tape maker itself, the measurement is in mm. Note, the inches conversion that is on the package is not exact. The manufacturers typically round up to the nearest quarter inch that is recommended for the project.

The size you choose indicates the finished bias binding width after being folded. If your pattern calls for 3/4 inch bias binding, you’ll want to choose an 18mm bias tape maker. And then you’re off to the races!

How to Use A Bias Tape Maker

I’m preparing my bias tape to make another blouse from my Lolo Blouse pattern. So, let’s walk together on how I’m preparing my bias tape for this project.

  1. Cut out your bias tape to the length as indicated on your pattern. If you have excess length to work with, cut a 45 degree angle on the corner of your bias tape. This will make feeding if through the bias tape maker a lot easier.
  2. Select the appropriate sized bias tape maker based on the finished width desired.
  3. Use a tool with a fine, but not sharp end to help feed the tape through the tape maker. (I like to use a bobby pin for this.) You’ll want to bring out about an inch and a half through the end to start seeing the bias tape maker work its lovely folding magic.
  4. Press folded bias tape with your heated iron that is feeding out of the end.
  5. Use your other hand to pull the bias tape make down the length of the tape, while you continue ironing the newly folded tape with the other hand until completed.
  6. Take a moment to appreciate your beautiful tape and not burned fingers! 🙂

How To Sew Bias Tape

Now that you’re an expert on all things bias tape preparation, join us in our next post where we show you how to sew bias binding to the armhole of our Lolo blouse.

Author: Style Sew Me

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  • How wide is the starting fabric? If I want 1 inch bias do I use a 1.5 inch strip? I’m new to this and perplexed. Thanks!

    • It depends on what your seam allowance is. I like to work backwards. If I know my finished tape will be 1 inch, then I add 2 x seam allowance to get the final width.

      Example:
      Finished tape should be 1 inch
      Seam allowance 1/2 inch

      1 in + (2 x 1/2 in) = 2 inch tape