Friday, February 24, 2012

Cutting Your Own Bias Tape Made Simple - Plus an Easy Baby BlanketTutorial!

We want to share a simple baby blanket tutorial with you. It features a phenomenal trick for cutting your own bias tape! This method works great with a rotary cutter, and with a little "origami-know how", it allows you to simply make bias-cut blanket edging from your own choice of decorative fabrics!

First we'll start with the bias tape. Begin with a large square piece of fabric. Most quilting fabrics are 45" wide , so to get a square piece you'll want the length to be 45" also, or 1-1/4 yard. Either way, just make sure that the length and width of the fabric you are using are equal lengths. Cut edges should be squared (90°) with the selvedges.
Step one: Find the center of the square. You can do this by folding the fabric in half twice (see grey lines) and marking their intersection with a pin. Step two: Fold corners inward, to meet the centerpoint.
Next, rotate your fabric 45 degrees so that it is a square in front of you, rather than a diamond, and use a rotary cutter and straight edge to slice strips. These strips are now naturally cut on the bias!
We used 1-1/2" wide strips, with 1/4" seams, and it yielded a 1/2" wide border.

To prepare your new bias tape for application, press it in half lengthwise, like this, and it's ready to go. A yard and a quarter of 45" wide material will yield more than enough bias tape for a 45" x 45" blanket. You may have to do some math for other sizes and uses, as we haven't created a formula yet! :D
Now for the blanket itself. You will need two large, square pieces of fabric, plus any batting or lining you choose to put in between. For this tutorial we chose the new Karavan Collection, from Free Spirit by Valori Wells, plus two accent materials, the green one being for the bias trim. But we also have an expansive collection of other quilting cottons here.

Sandwich the batting between the two blanket fabrics, right sides facing out, and pin. Use a circular object (like a saucer or a glass), and mark rounded corners; then trim. This cuts out the work of beveling or folding bias tape at corners, so you can just curve right around those edges with your curve-friendly bias tape!
Now, quilt the fabric as you like, stitching through all three layers. You can quilt along the printed pattern on the cloth, or rectangular shapes, triangles, zig-zags, swirls, flowers, spirals, or vertical lines. You can hand quilt, or use sashiko thread and use big stitches. Just remember that this quilting is only being used to keep those three layers together and in tact, plus it can be decorative and attractive.  Make sure your layers haven't shifted; if there are some threads or a little unevenness, now is the time to trim the edges.

The last step is to attach your bias tape. Now there are so many tutorials on the web (YouTube, for one, is a great resource), I am going to link you to this one here (just ignore the part about beveling the corners, because we rounded the edges a few steps back) and I'll wait for you here and then carry on with the rest of my tutorial when you get back... some hand stitching will be required but if you minded that, you wouldn't be a quilter now, would you?!? ~Wink Wink~

Once you've put on your bias tape, you've got an attractive and tidy little blanket to bundle up some joy in! This is an easy and personalized project.  For a baby shower, tie this up with a nice piece of satin or grosgrain ribbon and you can forget about those gift registries!

1 comment:

  1. I love love love the Elephant fabric!!! Great tutorial! thanks.