Sivje asked for a review of the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker.
Cute!! I love the little dress. So, what did you think of the bias tape machine? Would you do a review of it please? I am debating.
A few years ago I took classes with Carol Ahles. She crosses over between heirloom work and quilting work. She is the author of Fine Machine Sewing, Taunton. Carol, is a fabulous teacher. I HIGHLY recommend taking a lesson with her if you ever get the chance. She knows more about more brands of sewing machines than anyone around!
What does class with Carol Ahles mean to the machine at hand? Well!
Carol persuaded me to use a quilter's ruler, rotary cutter and mat to make bias strips. This was a VERY! big deal for ME, the heirloom purist. I just knew the heirloom gods were going to see me using that rotary cutter and lightening was going to strike. I knew my lace stash would go up in a puff of smoke as punishment before I returned home from class.
You know what? There was no lace destruction as punishment from the gods!
I was shocked! But even more shocking was the fact that I didn't cut any part of my body and bleed on my fabric.
I'll admit, it took me a couple more years before I bought a rotary cutter and mat for myself. I am now the proud owner of 2 cutters that I can not find. And the pretty new ergonomic rotary cutter from Gingher. Sonny gave me a gift card to JoAnns for Mother's Day and I splurged (with his money) on that one. It is pretty. But more importantly, it comes in a big silver box that is hard to misplace! ;)
So what does this have to do with my sewing teacher, Carol? She taught me that it is OK to use quilters toys in heirloom sewing. And you know what? The quilters have really fun tools!
Which brings me to the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker.
I am a HUGE fan of using bias work to trim clothing for children. The bias work is sturdy. Bias work adds interest to a garment without adding bulk like ruffles and some trims.
I had been making my bias strips by hand. Slaving away at the iron for hours. But it was worth it because I love the look right? Never mind the burnt finger tips, scalding steam, the biases were going on the garments!
I'll admit, I covetted the Bias Maker. I looked at it in the stores. I envied friends when they bought them. I asked questions about the machine, hoping someone would hate it. Only one person I knew returned hers.
So, I had a birthday. More Joanns gift cards. Yeah Sonny! I talked myself into the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker. I even asked the sales clerk if I could return it if I hated it. She assured me I could.
I came home, cut out some bias strips with my handy-dandy rotary cutter and mat. And I plugged in the Tape Maker. I just knew it was going to feed catty-wampus. It was going to eat my bias strip. It was at least going to burn my fingers. Surely, something would go wrong.
Not a thing went wrong! I was in love!
So I cut lots more bias strips and made Little Miss Mary's pillowcase dress.
Now, having said all of this. Are you still with me? I apply my bias strips in an unusual manner. I can not demonstrate this to you since neither of my printer/scanner/photo reader units is functioning at the moment.
Many people prefer to have their bias tape double folded. I do not. I sew my tape on in two steps rather than one. I know, I know...that takes so much longer! BUT! It gives a much prettier finish! And you know me...If it isn't perfect, it isn't going to be done that way.
In a nutshell, I sew the bias strip to the back of the garment on the neatly ironed in fold line. Then I trim a bit of the bias and fabric edge off the seam allowance. THEN! I fold the strip to the front/outside of the garment and pin pin pin the strip in place. I give it a shot of steam to set the folds then top stitch the bias strip in place. This technique makes the front side of the bias slightly wider than the underside.
Sew...the bottom line is YES!!!!!! I LOVE! the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker.
I do recommend shopping around for the best price! I bought mine on sale at Joanns. I have seen it for far less at Wal Mart. I have heard that Hancock Fabrics will honor a 50% off coupon on the machines. Enjoy the hunt! And then have a ball playing with your newest quilting notion!