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494: my new (to me) simplicity bias tape machine

melissa averinos

December 14, 2017

 

I'm back to garment sewing! So naturally I'm  obsessed with making bias tape.

Simplicity doesn't make a bias tape maker machine anymore - why not?? You can only find them secondhand and on eBay people charge a pretty penny for them. 

I passed up a reasonably-priced one (under $100) a while ago on the Facebook marketplace thingy and I was kicking myself about it for weeks afterward. When I got my sewing mojo back recently I searched again and there was one available so I snatched that mother up!

It came with a bunch of "tips" - different sizes to make varying widths of single-fold bias tape. Unfortunately it didn't come with the size I wanted to make - 1/2", which is what I like to use to face the neck and armholes on dresses and tops. And wouldn't you know, the 1/2" tip happens to be particularly expensive on the black market I mean secondhand marketplace (everywhere, not just eBay). Hmph. 

But! After looking at the tips that were included, I realized there wasn't really anything that special about them other than they clip into place on the machine base. I used packing tape to hold my regular (manual) 1/2" bias tape maker in place on the machine and gave it a try.

You know what? It worked great!

This machine is so fun to use! Watching it run through the machine and come out the other side all warm and nicely folded and pressed, without burning my hands with all that fussy pressing myself? It's pretty rad.

Also it's just fun to watch, like a pasta maker or play dough fun factory or something. 

While it is AWESOME to have this machine, you still have to, you know......cut the strips and sew the strips together and then press and maybe trim the seams...

 

and then roll them onto the roller thing to send through the machine and then wind the bias tape onto a card when it comes out and.... that is all pretty tedious.

 

So it still takes time to make, but it's worth it because adorable custom bias tape:

While we're talking about cutting bias strips, I did try out that 'continuous bias strips' method that you see around the internet and OMGWHYWHYWHY what a giant pain in the ass! You have to mark a bunch of lines, fold the fabric in a certain way and  sew it into a tube and then freehand cut on the lines and just ugh. It made me mad.

 Stupid continuous bias strips method  

I would so much rather cut all the strips on a mat with a ruler and sew them together than do that again. I asked on Instagram if it was just me that found it took way longer (and was annoying as hell) and there was a resounding "IT'S NOT JUST YOU!", which made me feel much better. 

Anyhoo. Here are some of my precious bias tapes used on my new dresses!

If you just can't be bothered to make your own bias tape but you love the look, you can always buy some from So Biased on Etsy

 Do you make your own bias tape? If so, using which method?

I have SO. MUCH. FABRIC. all washed and pressed and ready to be made into a million dresses, all with adorable bias tape I'm gonna make with this new toy. (You can always see what I'm up to over on the instagrams. ) I have so many things I want to talk to you about, both sewing related and otherwise.

Back soon.

xo,

melissa


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