Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Simplicity Bias Tape and Piping Maker

I've been eyeing it for a while, but since they are 50% off at JoAnn's right now and Q was telling me I should get one before the sale ended, I did.  I was skeptical because I don't really care for the gadgets that they make for them and most often just end up pressing it without one and I wasn't sure this would get used unless it made a perfect fold.  I've been sold now though.

You can turn over 22 yards of bias strip into single fold bias strip in less than 30 minutes, and it took me less than 2 hours from starting with the cutting to this finished roll of single fold tape.

I'm starting with how I make bias strips first.  Most quilters and a lot of people that sew have made bias tape and everyone has their favorite method.  This is mine.  I buy 1 1/4 yards of fabric and fold it into a triangle.  Trim the edges.

With the fold facing me, I bring one corner over 1/3 of the way.

Then I bring the other corner over the the fold so that it is even with the other folds.

I'm cutting 2 inch strips because the single fold default that comes with the machine is 1 inch and also, that is pretty much what I use on most everything.  I start by cutting 1 inch from the fold (because it is doubled over so will end up being 2 inches).

All subsequent cuts are two inches.

I usually end when it just seems ridiculous to sew on that length because the strip has become so small.

Then right sides together with the two pieces meeting at 90 degrees, I overlap them so that there is 1/4 (or the same length of the seam I am sewing) where the two pieces meet.

I just sew them one after another without backstitching at all (since the seam will be encased when I sew it only the final product).

At the end I have what looks like streamers I cold hang.  I cut the thread between segments and trip the seams to be straight where the strips meet.

You start wrapping the end with the right side facing out placing it under a clip.

When pointing downward, the end of the strip comes out of the right back side.

Place the spindle on the machine.  This much bias tape will not lay where the spindle is supposed to lay so I have it rigged slightly higher.

Then you lay it over a piece that my machine was missing when I bought it today (I'll go back for it) and thread it through the folding gadget.

Snap the folding gadget in.

Pull the strip through the heating element and roller.

Snap the top piece on.

Press the run button.  Here is a short video of this in action.  When I'm not taking a picture of it, I'm using my right hand to replace the missing guide and am wrapping the tape around the roll there with my left.

Here is what the other side looks like.  It looks great.

Then I had the idea that I could use the machine to make double folded tape even though there aren't any instructions to do so.  I pushed the tape off the roll back onto the spindle.

 I placed the spindle back on the machine.  It is even taller this time so I had to do some major rigging.  Then I put it over the guide (still missing, but replaced with a marker now) and pulled over the heating element and roller.

I replaced the top part.

Turned it on and pressed run.  For this I used my right hand to fold the tape in two and my left to keep in even as it passed through the iron part.

Another 30 minutes and I had over 22 yards of double fold bias tape.

If you use a lot of bias tape and make your own, this machine is a big time saver.  The cutting a prep part will take the same amount of time, but the folding and ironing of the bias strips into tape has been reduced by 4 to 5 times.


  1. I have used that fabric! It's great. Great post!

  2. That's a really nifty gadget! Is there a way to adjust the width of the tape that's made, or is there only one width available?

    1. Yes, they sell different tips for both the bias tape and the piping that differ by size and the rope for the piping. I didn't really look at how much those cost though.