Today I’m here with a brief tutorial on how to use a bias tape maker to make vines for appliqué.
There are various sizes of bias tape makers, but I’m using the 1/4″ version made by Clover. The size you need will depend on the finished size of the bias tape you want to make.
On the inside of the packaging that the tool comes in, it tells you how wide to cut your strips. You can do this with either bias strips or straight strips, and there are instructions included in the packaging as well.
(You can also apply fusible tape to the strip as you make it, if you wish to fuse your vine in position, but I mainly do needle-turn appliqué, so I’m using mine without that.)
For my 1/4″ bias tape maker, I cut my strips on the bias, 1/2″ wide:
Since I don’t need very long pieces, I cut mine between 10″-12″ long.
With the metal side of the tool facing up, insert your fabric strip into the wide end. When it gets far enough in, it will show through the little slot. If you need to help it along, you can use a stiletto or a pin to help pull it on through until it pokes out the narrow end.
Next, turn the tool over, and begin pressing the piece. The edges are automatically turned under by the tool. As you press, gently pull the tool along the strip and move the iron along with it. It’s best to keep the iron close to the end of the tool where the strip emerges, so that the edges don’t come unfolded before they get pressed.
Here’s what it looks like after it’s been started:
Continue along the entire strip until it has fed completely through the tool. You have a nice neat strip with the edges pressed under — like magic! It’s so easy!
Here’s the strip from the right side, after being run through the bias tape maker. So nice and even, without having to work very hard at all!
All that’s left is to position your piece where you want it and sew it in place along both folded edges. Here’s a piece of mine on my appliqué block:
There! Wasn’t that easy? You can purchase this tool in lots of widths, and make your bias tape any size you need. And if you want to make it fusible, you can purchase Clover’s Fusible Web in the proper width and follow the instructions in the packaging to make it fusible.
If you’re avoiding appliqué because of bias vines, fear no more — this makes it super easy!
To help get you started, I have a Clover 1/4″ Bias Tape Maker to give away, just like the one I used, complete with all its packaging and instructions. All you have to do for a chance to win it is leave a comment on this post, and tell me what, if anything, challenges or confuses you about hand appliqué? Or if you’re an old pro and love hand appliqué, have you used a bias tape maker before? I’ll draw for a winner on Wednesday, December 12th.
UPDATE: The winner is Lesley! Thanks, everyone for reading and playing along!