- Cutting on the bias makes the tape stretchy, so that it can smoothly bend around curves and over corners.
- Cutting on the bias makes the tape sturdy. Even if it wears down in a spot, at an angle it can't then split across the entire grain of the fabric, because it hasn't followed the grain.
But jersey cotton fabric is already stretchy enough to smoothly follow curves, so if you want to use it in a place where it won't get a ton of wear--NOT, for instance, as the bottom hem of a pair of pants, but YES, for instance, as the neckline hem of a gown intended for tiny babies who can't even roll over yet-- --then you can just cut your tape straight across the grain, allowing you to use up short widths of fabric that would otherwise be wasted.
Even though I own bias tape makers in a bounty of widths, if you're only making a short-ish length of tape--say, to hem the necklines and sleeves of two sock monkey baby bags--I, personally, think it's easiest just to make the tape by hand.
To make your own bias tape from scratch:
- Figure out how wide you want the finished tape to be on the project. Multiply by four.
- Cut your length of bias tape at that width multiplied by four. A large gridded cutting mat and a clear plastic ruler are very useful for this.
- Fold the tape in half across its entire length and iron. Do this just a couple of inches at a time--it actually goes very quickly.
- Open up the tape, making sure that you can see the crease down the middle, then fold each side of the tape in to that crease and iron. Again, do this just a couple of inches at a time, and do one side, then the other.
Does your tape look like this?Use it immediately, because the jersey cotton won't hold the crease for very long. But it is very forgiving to sew (and to wear!), which makes it one of my favorite fabrics.