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Get Graphic with a Bias Tape Project

Threads #191, June/July 2017

Finishing edges with bias tape is not new, but using bias tape for bold and graphic accent has gathered interest, especially from innovative Japanese designers. Bias-tape lines can detail an edge, fall within the body of a garment, and follow a seam to highlight it. Varying fabrics and colors creates an exciting but simple way to embellish a garment.

Use ready-made bias tape . . .

You can buy prepackaged poly/cotton single-fold bias tape in solid colors and prints (QuiltNCrochet at Etsy.com). Striped and plaid motifs are particularly interesting when cut on the bias.

If you are happy to choose from the selection of 20-plus colors of packaged single-fold bias tape, this route takes less time to prepare. This tape is available in two widths. The narrow ½-inch width is easier to shape and control. You can also sew two colors of tape end to end to make a longer, multicolored tape strip.

. . . or make your own

If you want custom tape made with your own fabric, then a small tool called a bias tape maker does the trick. Bias tape makers come in assorted sizes and are labeled according to the folded strip’s finished width—from 1/4 inch to 1 inch. I used the 1/2-inch size on the sample garments. There is a limit to the fabric weight you can insert and manipulate through this tool. Applied bias strips work best in woven fabrics rather than knits and smooth rather than heavily textured fabrics. Lightweight cotton, linen, silk, and wool are excellent options because they press well and shape easily. Anything with polyester in it is more difficult to keep pressed in forming the folded bias strip and in the application.

Make and attach bias tape

To make finished bias tape with the bias tape maker, cut the bias strips twice…

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