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Bias Tape Maker

Okay, so it's been awhile since I have posted. I went back to a 40-hour a week job. I've been busy and haven't sewn much. I have done a lot of kitten fostering though. Do you know how hard it is to sew, live almost full-time in an RV, and foster a litter or two or three of kittens? Yup, not much sewing happens.

Any way, I am back at the sticks and brick home because of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order in my state. And like many other sewists, we are making cloth face coverings, AKA masks. Lots of them. I think my mother (who lives with us now), has her own little sweat shop going in our front room. The supply of elastic for masks has pretty much been depleted and our patterns either can use or call for ties made out of bias tape. We have plenty of fabric to make our own bias tape but my bias tape maker tool has gone missing. It's been quite some time since I have used it and who knows where I may have put it. Maybe it is in our RV, lol.

I got tired of the fold and iron method and went online in search of a DIY maker using 2" (or 1.75") strips of fabric. I tried the pin on the ironing board method, but my cover is too tight and it is prequilted so it was hard to get the spacing correct. I tried a cardboard maker method and wasn't happy with it, either. Then I found an intriguing bias tape maker on the Scientific Seamstress blog. Hmmm...this looks interesting. Alas, the PDF files linked in her post are no longer working. I even looked at her Etsy and BluPrint stores because I willing to buy the pattern but none were posted. What to do?

I started searching for other links to her bias tape maker. Maybe someone else had the files saved on their blog. I did find other posts where someone made the bias tape maker or other links back to her original post, but no pattern files posted. Then I found something...

...a website with photo images of the bias tape maker patterns. Ooooh!! I was able to save the images and after much trial and error, figured out how to set up the page with the correct scaling to print out the patterns. I had the necessary cardstock on hand and a fabric gluestick to act as a stand in for my regular and now dried-up glue stick, and I was ready to go!

My printer did not, would not, pull the cardstock through to print the pattern on. Plus my cardstock was 8x10.5 instead of 8.5x11. As a workaround, I printed the pattern on plain paper and transferred the markings over to the cardstock. I also took 1/2" of length out without impacting the functionality of the bias tape maker.

In hindsight, I should have glued the printed paper to a piece of cereal box (or other similar) cardboard. That would have been much faster!

In the interest of sharing this information, I have re-PDF'd the pattern files for your use. The tutorial is still valid on the Scientific Seamstress website.

You can download it here >> Bias Tape Maker Pattern

Completed Bias Tape Maker
I decided to take this bias tape maker a step further by adding pusher and puller "tools". These are both just 3/4" strips wide of cardstock to help get the fabric into and out of the maker. One piece is 10" long and the other is 7" long.

The tutorial shows the end of the bias tape fabric piece cut at an angle. The ties for my masks are 18" long and I am finishing one end of each tie by folding the fabric over before sewing.

Fabric Folded Over by Finger Pressing
Using the long "pusher tool", I am able to insert the fabric with the end folded over. I only finger press (or use your iron) to start the first couple of inches. 

Fabric Inserted into the Tape Maker
Then I insert the smaller piece at the other end and sandwich the fabric under it.

"Sandwich" of fabric and short tool
The fabric slides under the cross pieces easier and faster. I remove both tools before ironing the fabric bias tape as I pull it through.

Fabric tape pushed through to the end of the maker

Ready to pull through and iron
All of the credit goes to the Scientific Seamstress for creating the bias tape maker. I did try and leave a comment on her blog but nothing has been published since 2015.

I hope this helps you crank out those much needed masks as we all deal with the coronavirus.

ps - in case you are wondering what the blue is on my bias tape maker, I tore it during construction. A couple of small pieces of blue tape and I was back in business!

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