Slightly Biased

4 Mar

This post was originally featured on Simply Sunshine in July of 2010, but is no longer available online.  It has been modified for its new home.

Once upon a time, I came across Prudent Baby’s bias tape tutorial.  At the time I thought, maybe I’d get around to it in the distant future and relegated it to my delicious account.  I’ve been pretty happy with just buying the premade stuff and not having to fuss with it.  So what changed my mind?

Noodlehead (again) has this tutorial for turning cargo pants into a messenger bag.  I just so happen to have a pair of cargo pants with an inconvenient rip that would look odd even if I mended them.  I absolutely love the look of the patterned bias tape she uses on the front flap.  The pattern adds a pop that the solid stuff just can’t do.  So last night I pulled out some fabric I’d bought in the remnant section of Jo-Ann’s and tried out the bias tape tutorial.

Now, this isn’t just a review of the tutorial, because that worked just wonderful.  I want to share a tip I discovered on my first try making bias tape ever.  It started with a little gadget envy.  In the tutorial Jaime, zips through drawing perfectly spaced 1 7/8 in. lines on her parallelogram with a bias tape rule.  I started spacing dots on my fabric with a regular old ruler and after the first few dots I realized:

a) This was really tedious.


b) I cannot consistently find 7/8 of an inch on a ruler.

The combination of these two dilemmas almost convinced me that I needed to wait until morning and buy a spiffy bias tape ruler.  Luckily, inspiration struck.  I’ve made a habit of keeping cardboard shapes in different sizes around so I don’t have to measure again if I make a project several times (because of problem b).   I figured I could just use this same technique to make my own bias tape ruler.  I measured a strip of cardboard 1 7/8 in wide and then cut on a diagonal 1 7/8 in from each end.

I even diagrammed it for you.

You can make different rulers for different bias tape widths.  That wonderful bias tape tutorial tells us the formula, so for single fold 1/2″  or double fold 1/4″ bias tape, you’d want your ruler to be 7/8″.  See…

Single fold bias tape (1/2″): 1/2″ x 2 – 1/8″ = 7/8″

Double fold bias tape (1/4″): 1/4″ x 4 – 1/8″ = 7/8″

I still haven’t ironed mine closed (cue longing for that beautiful bias tape folder), but if you’d like to keep that on the cheap as well, check out this tutorial.