You are probably very familiar with Bias binding? Made by cutting fabric strips on the fabric bias grain which results in a binding with stretch and flexibility that can be sewn around curves without kinks, rucks and bumpy bits spoiling your sewing.
Ready Made bias binding
You can of course buy ready-made bias binding but if you can make your own, then you can have binding in any fabric you choose and in which ever width suits your project.
There are, as always more than one way to make bias binding. Until I was faced with making bias binding to complete this stained glass applique for a course I'm doing I never knew they were so many different ways,; ready-made, fusible binding, binding made with bias-tape makers, some kind of implement called bias bars... I'd never come across those anywhere before. But all that exploration and revelation led me to these tutorials. This is a good tutorial on how to make your own bias binding; cutting the fabric and then sewing the strips together and this one explains how to make continuous bias binding.
(I wouldn't have wanted to make this 1/4 inch bias binding without a tape maker.... )
The reason that I'm writing about bias tape makers isn't that they take away any of that cutting out the strips and sewing them together, because they don't. If you wish to avoid the cutting and the sewing part then you probably need to buy either ready-made binding or get yourself a sewing minion cum sewing slave. But seriously, what these tape makers are good for is that once you've fed the strips through (and ironed it as it emerges) you get nicely folded seam allowances that fold right into the centre of the binding. It can dramatically speed up the whole process, or is it just me that's slow at making bias binding? Obviously it still takes a little practice but then the process is always the same. An important benefit is that it reduces any opportunity of escaping fraying edges spoiling your sewing as the edges/seam allowances will be all nicely folded away inside.
Of course not all binding needs to be cut on the bias. If you're binding straight edges you won't need to make binding by cutting fabric on the bias. You can still use the tape maker as it doesn't know the difference and will still give you nice, neat and evenly folded tape.
Have I mentioned bag handles yet?
Another thing you can use them for is to create nice evenly folded fabric strips which you can use to create a bag handle. Tape makers come in all kinds of sizes so you're not limited as to the width of the handle you wish to make.
A fairly usual way of making a fabric bag handle is to multiply the width of the handle by four. For example; if you wish to end up with a 1 inch wide handle then you multiply 1 inch by four, which incidentally equals four. You would then cut out a piece of fabric which is the length of your handle and four inches wide. You then fold the fabric in half and iron it. This gives you a central crease along the length of the fabric.
You then fold in one side so that the edge meets the middle crease and iron it again and then do the same for the other side. Add the interlining, fold it all back up to make your handle and stitch down both sides. Handle made. Is that a familiar process to you?
You can also do this with a tape maker. You feed the fabric through the tape maker and iron it as it emerges. It'll be all neat and even and ready for you to add the interlining, refold and stitch.
(To create a one inch wide handle you would need a two inch wide tape maker (You would then fold the tape in half to give you a one inch wide handle.)
Should you wish to create a double faced handle (Perhaps with the exterior fabric on one side and the lining fabric on the other?), then you can use an appropriate sized tape maker for both fabrics. (Probably a one inch tape maker to make two strips of one inch wide tape. One fabric for each side of the handle.)
So, share.... how do you make your bias binding?