I have an assortment of specialty sewing machine feet, most of them given to me by my mom (thanks, ma!). I’ve been working on a project that has involved a LOT of bias tape. So, I’ve been using my bias binding foot. If you have a foot yourself (or plan on getting one, or are just curious to know a little more), I’ve put together a list of tricks that I figured out while sewing with this foot.
1. Use a seam ripper to help you thread the tape into the machine. The first step is to thread your bias tape into the bias tape foot. I found this quite frustrating initially as I couldn’t get it through the other end enough to get a grip on it. So, I turned to my seam ripper. When I got the tape close to the end of the feeder I stabbed the seam ripper into and pulled it the rest of the way through (kind of like how you’re NOT supposed to use your chopsticks.)
2. Leave an overhang of tape when you start. After you have successfully threaded the bias tape into your bias binding foot you attach it to the machine. Then you feed in the fabric and sew. However, I was initially trying to line up the start of the edge of the fabric with the edge of the bias tape. Mistake. It bunched and didn’t feed and got all frustrating. I found the solution was to pull the bias tape through farther than I thought I needed to (I left about an inch overhang) before adding the fabric and then trimming the tape to size once the seam was all sewn.
3. Move your needle. It can be hard to get your needle to catch both the top and bottom of the bias tape, depending on the size of the tape you are using, if you don’t shift your needle over. Before sewing your fashion fabric, try a test run on some scraps and extra bias tape (of the same size!) to ensure that your needle position actually catches your tape on both top and bottom.
4. Don’t try and sew through too many layers of fabric. I really wanted to bind four layers of fabric together at once (front and back each had fabric and underlining). But they slipped and slid and I rarely got all four fabrics in the binding and I got frustrated and it wasn’t good news. So, I changed plans. I bound fabric to underlining on front and back separately and then sewed the seams together. So, instead of having one bound seam going through four layers of fabric, I was able to press open my seam leaving pretty bias binding on each side.
5. Hold your fabric and bias tape at the same angle as your feeder. My feeder goes in at a 45 degree angle. I found I had best results when I sewed slowly, holding the fabric and bias tape at that same 45 degree angle.