Sewing Tips

Tip No. 5 – Bias Binding

 

The what, where and how of bias binding

Bias binding, or bias tape as some patterns refer to it as, has been around for as long as I can remember. In high school I used it to edge an apron. It’s not something to be feared. In the video below I show you how to attach it. Once you understand how to use it, you’ll LOVE it.

 

What is bias tape?

Bias tape is strips of fabric that have been cut on the bias of the fabric (corner to corner diagonally). Packaged bias tape may be purchased in various widths. The width of the bias binding tape depends on what you’re going to use it for.

Bias binding can be purchased in a packet like this. There’s usually about 5 metres to the packet. I would only by this much if I knew I was going to use all of it, especially if it’s in a colour you’re not going to use a lot of.

The colour range is huge. You can almost match it to any coloured fabric you’re using. There are different widths for different purposes.

Poly cotton bias binding can be bought by the metre so you do not have to buy a packet. You can also buy satin bias binding by the metre, for edging or decorative purposes.

There are a lot of beautiful decorative bindings out there. Some are difficult to get locally, so I recommend checking out eBay. It’s possible to buy binding with polka dots, stripes, even stars and much more, as well as in many colours and widths. All you need is your imagination.

 

How to make your own bias binding

This is a great kit that can be purchased on eBay for about $15. It helps you make different widths of binding, and it comes with the tools you need to poke through the fabric. It also has a binding foot for the sewing machine. (Personally, I think that it’s easier to sew with an ordinary machine foot.)

Watch my video on:

Tip No. 4 – Sewing Machine Shanks

The sewing machine shank is the ankle that connects your sewing foot to the sewing machine. There are 4 types of shanks:

  • Snap on
  • Low shanks
  • High Shanks
  • Slant Shanks

When purchasing feet for your sewing machine be mindful of the type of shank that your machine has, to ensure that you buy the right foot. For instance: Most presser feet that come with your machine are fairly flat and just snap on to the shank. Walking feet or darning feet are screw on. 

 

How to measure your shank height

Here is how to figure out if your machine is a Low Shank or a High Shank. With the presser foot in the down position, measure from the flat bed to the thumb screw.

  • Low Shank machine measures about 12 to 13 mm (1/2 inch).
  • High Shank machine measures 25mm (1 inch).
  • Slant Shank machine are fairly rare and usually found on Singer sewing machines.

Most modern machines have Low Shanks.

Tip No. 3 – Walking foot

 

What is it?

The walking foot is designed for sewing multiple layers of fabric without puckering. It is very useful for sewing anything which is cut on the Bias, or silky, satin or slippery fabric. It is also very useful when trying to match patterns on a seam.

A walking foot needs to be screwed onto your machine.

Tip No. 2 – Invisible Zipper Foot

This foot is designed to do one thing only: help you insert an invisible zipper. This foot holds the rolled zipper teeth open so you can stitch as close as possible but not stitch over the teeth.

There are two tunnels side by side at the front of the foot – this is where you feed in each side of the zipper. Make sure that the needle position is centered in the hole of the foot.

Tip No. 1 – Roller Foot

The roller foot is designed to prevent difficult fabric from slipping, puckering or jamming under the foot. It does this by rotating the roller instead of getting stuck.

It works like the track on a bulldozer for sewing up and over thick and heavy seams, yet it is gentle enough to glide over the most delicate silk, velvet, or fine suede without leaving a mark. This foot is great for taking up jeans.