In my previous blog posts, I have described how to decorate hems and fabric with bias tapes. And also how to make your own bias tapes using a bias tape maker you can buy in the shop. In this post I’m going to show you how to make your own DIY bias tape maker.
To make your own one, you will need the following:
- Cardboard (not too thick)
- Cutter (scalpel or art knife)
- Adhesive tape (optional)
TIP Do not use a cardboard that is too thick. It will be difficult to cut through all its layers (see the image below).
1. Decide the bias tape width
Decide the final width of the bias tape (width when sewn on to the fabric edge) and calculate the following:
larger opening of the bias tape maker
larger opening width = 4 ⨯ final tape width
smaller opening of the bias tape maker
smaller opening width = 2 ⨯ final tape width
fabric stripe width that needs to be cut
stripe width = 4 ⨯ final tape width – 2mm
stripe width = 4 ⨯ final tape width – 1/16 inch
In this tutorial, I’m going to demonstrate how to make a bias tape maker that creates a bias tape about 1,2 cm (1/2 inch) wide when unfolded and about 0,6 cm wide (1/4 inch) wide when folded and sewn.
Keep in mind that, depending on the fabric, the resulting width might be slightly different. Also the bias tape maker might be a little inaccurate as a result of hand drawing and cutting. I do not recommend making bias tapes makers for thin bias tapes (less than 0,5 cm – 1/4 inch when folded).
2. Prepare a cardboard rectangle
Take the cardboard and cut out a rectangle 9 by 7 cm (3 1/2 inch by 2 3/4 inch).
3. Outline the openings for the fabric stripe
Draw the central line of the rectangle along its longer side (see the image below).
Mark the height of the openings where the fabric will go in and out about 2,5 cm (1 inch) from the cardboard edge (see the image below).
Draw the opening widths. 2,5 cm (1 inch) for the larger opening where the fabric stripe goes in, then 1,2 cm (1/2 inch) where the fabric stripe goes out.
4. Cut out the openings
Now that the openings are pre-drawn, take your cutter (or another cutting tool – NOT scissors) and cut out both openings (see the image below).
You may need to flip the cardboard and cut the openings from the other side too (see the image below). Make sure that there are visible outlines where to cut (see the image below).
Be careful with the smaller opening. Make sure you are not making it wider. It is better to cut inside the outlined lines and make it a bit smaller. You can always make this opening bigger if necessary.
The bias tape maker should look like this (see the image below):
5. Label the openings
Use a thin liner to mark the openings. Next to the larger opening, write the width of fabric that needs to be cut for the bias tape maker. Next to the smaller opening, write down the width of the bias tape, when sewn and folded. I labelled mine in millimeters. You can mark yours in centimeters or inches.
6. Test the bias tape maker
Prepare a bias-cut fabric stripe that is 2,4 cm (about 1 inch) wide and slide it through the opening as shown in the images below.
If the edges of the fabric overlap while going through the narrower opening, make the opening slightly wider. Be careful not to make it too big.
7. Coat the bias tape maker with adhesive tape
If you are happy with your bias tape maker, coat it with adhesive tape. It will allow the fabric to slide through the openings more smoothly.
Start by adding thin stripes to the sides of the openings for the fabric stripes. Make sure the adhesive tape covers the edges of the openings and holds well (see the image below).
When the openings are ready, cover the rest of the cardboard on both sides. As a result, the small pieces you have added earlier will be held in place firmly.
8. Use your DIY bias tape maker
Now your DIY bias tape maker is finished and ready to do its job whenever you need it. However, make sure you are not touching the bias tape maker with the iron. The adhesive tape might melt and stick to your iron.
Also keep an eye on the fabric as it goes into the narrower opening of the tape maker. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the fabric a little so that it folds properly.
It is pretty obvious that buying a bias tape that suits your needs is the first and easiest option. Even if you have none, you are able to make one yourself now.