Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Box Cutter Bias Tape Blues

I love pinterest, not only because it shows me things I hadn't thought of, but because it often presents me with a new way of doing the things I've always done.

Case in point-bias tape. I hadn't used bias tape much but when I did I used the store bought boring kind.

Enter pinterest and all the nifty ways to make pretty bias tape out of your favorite fabrics and put a good use to some scraps. I had some blue paisley I wanted to use but I don't have a handy dandy bias tape maker so I found a tutorial that used a box knife without the blade to fold the fabric.

There are several tutorials on making bias tape for how to cut the strips and sew them together so I'm not going to give you the easy bits.  This is to show you the how the box cutter method works so hopefully you don't have to have the same frustrations I did and can have awesome custom bias tape!

My strips were 1 1/2" wide and had a length of about 11 feet. My box cutter was 3/4". Easy peasy, right? The directions say to start a fold and feed the material through the box cutter (sans blade), using a pin if you have to to guide the fabric at first. The box cutter should fold the material toward the center evenly so you can just pull through and you'll have bias tape something like this:

Beautiful bias tape!
See how even it is? "Yeah," you think, "this really works!" And it does...sort of, until this happens.

Houston, we have a problem.

Your fabric jumps the grooves on the outside making folding impossible or it starts to veer weirdly in one direction, trying to fold completely in half instead of folding in the sides. Usually this happens when you're half-way through at the point where you can't turn back and you just want to throw the whole thing across the room. Take heart, grab a drink and don't panic. 

Pull the unfolded fabric backwards until you get a good length of folded fabric in the channel, like the first pic, line everything up and go again. I also found that if I kept my thumb at the base of the knife where the fabric was supposed to start going in it was easier. Also remember not to go too fast since you have a greater chance of pulling to one side or the other, throwing off your folds.

One more tip the pin suggested was to use a flat iron to press the fabric as it came out folded. This worked like a charm, just keep your iron on a low heat. I don't know why I never thought of it but kudo's to whoever did! I did adjust the fabric a smidge when it came out of the top of the knife if it needed some centering but otherwise, with a little patience you can have your own custom bias tape for whatever project you want. That's so much cuter than the store-bought!

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