Make your own biased mess

15 Jul

I got a gadget: the Clover bias maker. It’s nifty. The whole internet offers handy tutorials on the wonder of this gadget, and how it can simplify my sewing by allowing me to easily make my own bias tape at home using the same fashion fabric as the rest of my project.

I’ve had it a while, but it wasn’t until last night that I felt I had the right project for custom, fabric-matched bias tape. So I cut up my strips, stitched them end to end, and started pressing and pulling…and whee! wasn’t it fun!

All that neat, crisply pressed bias tape just spooling out of my gadget, and under the welcoming steam of my hot iron (at right).

But, you say, what’s that on the left? That, my friends, is the same freshly handmade bias tape, on one end of the strip, and how it has uncurled there by the time my Clover magic-maker and iron combination have reached the other end of my strip.

In fact, let me show you my whole piece of so-called “bias binding” so that you can get the whole effect:



Yes, there’s a reason I chose to call my sewing blog “Handmade Mess” and I’m afraid, today, that I have run into that reason once again.

It’s okay, I will persevere, as I generally do, and I think it will be perfectly useable for the project at hand. I’m just putting this up there so that you can witness: sometimes the bias maker turns out smooth, crisp lines of tape, and sometimes, with some fabrics (maybe it’s the nature of seersucker to shake out a pressed fold) or in the hands of certain inept seamstresses, it’s not as pretty a process as one might like it to be.

7 Responses to “Make your own biased mess”

  1. mrsmole July 15, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Lovely colored fabric, not so easy technique for sure. Seersucker…there’s a reason that “sucker” is part of the word….we love it, we hate it, we want to do fancy things with it and all it wants to do is be lumpy….that is it’s job. it’s simply made that way. Using your steam iron at the point of the bias maker where the folded part exits should tame it into submission. You could also wet it with some spray starch before and after or “Best Press” liquid as it makes fabrics relax. But in the end there is nothing quite some nice as bias binding made with a stripe or plaid…so crisp and eye catching! You get an “A” for trying!

    • handmadejulie July 15, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      > there’s a reason that “sucker” is part of the word.

      Ah, ha ha. You got that right, for sure!!

  2. prttynpnk July 15, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I believe that my bias tape make could be behind the sewing cabinet. I lost patience trying to thread the fabric thru it and about had an attack. Maybe I’ll fish that out and have another go- your results are so worth it!

    • handmadejulie July 15, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Hee hee–the instructions say “use a tailor’s awl” at which, of course, I laugh. No many how many gadgets I buy, my sewing room will never be complete with all the pieces I need to complete a given step in a set of instructions.

      I used a long sewing pin, instead, to kind of poke the end of the fabric, and drag it through. Of course, I bent the pin all to hell in the process…maybe I should have included a photo of that, as well!

  3. nkd July 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I’m suspecting a high poly or nylon content. In addition to the spray starch, sizing, or Best Press I’d also make sure to move slowly with the iron — not just a quick press-and-steam-and-move, but a good 20 seconds or however long the fiber will allow before scorching on each section. And neatly rolling the pressed tape as you go, not letting it wander and tangle and get its own ideas.

    • mrsmole July 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      Some folks recommend rolling the bias up on an empty cardboard tube to keep it all neat depending on how long that tail ends up to be. Nancy Zeiman shows how to only press a couple inches before you move the maker along to expose more of the fabric, slowly, slowly show it who is boss.


  1. Making a Mess… « handmademess - July 23, 2012

    […] I soldiered on, and worked with what I had, and used my messed-up-unpressed-bias tape from the other day to finish the edges (instead of lining it, as the dress pattern indicates.)  That part worked out […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: