I use bias tape in a wide variety of different projects, but it is seldom a big part of any project. My most consistent use of it is on the arm openings of my Kasie Sundress which is my most requested dress. I have only been making them about a year and although I have not yet made an entire line (several of the same dress in the same fabrics and in various sizes), I have, so far, made pretty close to 100 of them in total. You may think that this tiny little opening only requires a tiny little piece of bias tape, so what't the big deal? It should only take a few minutes to fold and iron that little piece of fabric, right?
This strip of fabric varies with each size: a newborn sundress requires only about 8" per arm opening while a size 7 requires about 14". Making it without any assistance from any type of sewing tools requires lots of folding, pressing, folding some more, pressing some more, and having the iron in very close proximity to my fingers (while usually acquiring a few burns along the way). When I do this completely unassisted, each piece requires 4 complete iron passes over 4 separate folds...very time consuming for 1 dress, let alone several.
My first find to help me in this process was a set of Singer Bias Tape tips. The large size (shown in the middle) is the perfect size to make the 1" bias tape needed for my dresses. These tips work by passing the strip of fabric through them from the wide end to the narrow end. As the fabric exits, the tip does the folding for you and all you have to do is press it as it comes out. Sounds easy but there is a technique and learning curve to it and, although it is replacing 3 of the 4 folds, it is still time consuming and still involves getting your hands too close to the iron. It is, however, much more efficient than doing it all manually and the end result is also much more uniform, although not perfect.
Throughout this last year and even before I found the set of Singer tips at my local Hobby Lobby store, I had been looking at and pining over the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker and reading up on the reviews, both online and on some of my Facebook sewing pages and blogs. Reviews are mixed...some people raved about how awesome it was and others had issues with it and some even returned it. I can't tell you how many times I've had it in my cart either at Joanne's or HSN.com then changed my mind and removed it because I read another bad review. I finally bit the bullet a few months ago and bought it from Joanne's at the same time I purchased my new iron.
Now, if you know me at all, I don't run right home, take something out of the box and immediately use it. This is a bad habit I have - it stays in the box until I have a good reason to use it. I have made several sundresses since I've purchased the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker, but they were made one at a time. No need to break out the new equipment to iron one little 20 something inch piece of bias tape, right? Well, this past week, I had 4 dresses to make all at once. As the Nike ad says...JUST DO IT! I grabbed that box, pulled out the machine, plugged it in, looked at the directions for about 3 minutes, and made my first piece of bias tape...just like that. It was soooooo easy! I actually ended up making about 10 strips because it was so easy and I just couldn't believe that was all there was to it. I am a grown woman and I was giggling in my kitchen making bias tape.
So, to sum up if this was a good purchase...YES!!! It was definitely a WONDERFUL purchase and I'm sorry I didn't buy it sooner. Now, I have only used it on the one occasion and some of the reviews said that it doesn't last, so I do have that possibility to contend with but we will see what the future holds in that respect. For now, however, this machine saved me at least an hour's time (possibly more if you count all the breaks I take during ironing by hand because it's so boring and time consuming). So I advise you to JUST DO IT! Go buy one of these awesome machines!
I am the mother of 3 grown children in their 30s, the grandmother of 5 boys, and have a love and need for creating pink, frilly, blingy, girlie things. With no outlet for my very feminine creations, I decided to open up an on-line boutique where I can share the result of my passion with other people.