Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baffling Bias Strips

So I'm in the fabric store the other day and I ran across these nifty little gadgets.

My amused chuckle turned into an outright laugh as I got a closer look at the prices. This is bias tape, not a tool for spinning gold! The Maker itself is $99.00, plus 12 bucks for the folding tips. The rotary cutting machine is another $50.00 and the winder $35.00 on top of that! Wow, around $200.00 for something I've done for years with a rotary cutter and an iron. Now, if they had condensed this all into one machine that did all three operations I might be interested. They'd have to lower the price considerably below $200 though.

I spend a lot of time at the fabric store, usually looking for something they don't have, which is not their fault; the chains have taken over all the little mom and pop stores that carried more than the "top ten" of sewing supplies. Anyway, one of the staff came over to find out what craziness I was up to this time.

I am astounded to learn that people are actually afraid to make bias tape. Turns out they get quite a few people who don't find the color seam binding they're looking for. So the staff says "make your own" and the customer gives them that deer in the headlights look and the conversation kinda dies off at that point. I was told that one customer even stated that homemade bias tape won't turn corners so store bought was better. Wow. The only thing I can think of is that she was trying to turn a really tight corner, or the fabric was cut on the straight of grain instead of on the bias, which of course is how bias tape got its name in the first place.

Okay, in all fairness, if you use miles and miles of bias tape I can see where investing that much moolah could be worth it. But realistically, how many of use really use that much of the stuff at any one time? A king sized quilt uses about 12 feet, and how many of those have you made recently?

Yes it's allegedly faster. Although I haven't used one, the label says 12 feet of bias tape in about 6 minutes. But again, how often do you make a continuous strip that long? Most of what I do is much, much shorter and easy with my trusty iron. The occasional steamed finger is an occupational hazard, like getting poked with a needle or being covered in lint and thread snippets.

There are a gazillion tutorials on how to make bias tape out there. I put the question to Google and got 800,000 results. Funny, Simplicity's machines are at the top of the list. There are even YouTube videos for those of us who like those better than static pictures. Just type "how to make bias tape" into your browser search.

I'm all for invention and innovation - I actually admire the creativeness and marketing campaign! Just not at that price for something this simple