Monday, 7 May 2012

I'm biased that way... how to make bias binding and Chinese buttons tutorial

Well it's a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, and frankly thermal underwear is starting to look rather attractive to me along with a chunky bowl of broth and a roaring log fire!  It is cold, to the point where I am wearing gloves and wondering if I will ever wear my Birkenstocks again... Brrr!

Still it gives me a chance to have a play and and go back to basics to make something rather special, which means this weekend it is bias binding and Chinese buttons.

Let's get started, you will need:
A square of fabric... I am using 10" x10" but it must be perfectly square
Rotary cutter and cutting mat
Water soluble pen
Bias binding tape maker
Iron and ironing board

First iron your fabric and cut out an exact square, then cut across the square to create two triangles, place piece B on top of piece A with right side facing and sew a seam of 1/4"... remember to check if the distance from the need to the edge of your foot, on most machines it is and this makes a great seam guide.
Press the seam open, you need to press it on both sides as sometimes the seam gets creased up.  Now it is really important that when you lie the fabric back down the the seam goes on the diagonal... if you have it straight up and down you get strips of fabric and not bias binding (if you are not paying attention, like the author, this will happen to you, too!) which means you have wasted fabric and it will be too small to do anything with!
Now using your water soluble pen, draw lines across the fabric... add 1/2" to the width of tape you require so 1" tape would require lines 1.5" apart.
Next we are going to join together sides C and D together to form a tube, now this is not quite as it seems (no pun intended) you need to lift one end so that it is a line above the other side, and when you reach the other end it will be one line shorter - basically you go against the grain and have an uneven seam.  Pin them together, ensuring the lines bisect each other at the seam.
Sew it together using a seam allowance of a scant 1/4" and press it open... if you want to do this without creating a line on either side, roll up a towel and place it inside your tube and iron it on there... this also makes a brilliant way to iron sleeves if you do not have a sleeve board.
Now using your scissors cut along the lines to reveal your bias binding.
Now, it is time to play with the gadget, get your iron ready, you will notice that at one end of the tape is cut across the diagonal and this makes it easy to thread it through your bias binding maker.
If the binding will not go through, you will find a groove down the middle of the bias binding maker, use a pair of small scissors and drag them along the groove to push the fabric through.
Can you see how the edges are already curling over?  You can either pin the point down on your ironing board and gently tug the binding through the device (using the little handle) and pressing it down with your iron pull it through under the iron from the other side... and if you think I have grown another hand to take a picture of me doing this, you will be sadly disappointed!  But it is easy to do this.
Now let's get cracking on the buttons, you will need, some bias binding, cord and sellotape.

Fold the tape (as I am taking pics, I have used a thicker twisted piping cord so that it shows up better) in half and mark the middle with a pin and wrap each end with sellotape, otherwise you will end up with an unravelled mess... a bit like my brain feels by Thursday morning at work!

Fold the bias binding around the cord up to the half way mark.
Sew along right next to the cord using a zip foot and when you come to the middle, sew across the cord. 
Trim back the excess from the seam.
And now the magic starts for me, start to ruche the fabric up in the middle.
Push your ruched fabric onto the uncovered cord and then pull through to the end, sometimes this will happen really easily and other times like a small child it will need a little persuasion.  The first time I did this it was a real lightbulb moment as I realised how it was done, yay!
Cut the other end of the cord off close to the sewn end.  Don your old Brownie or Guide uniform, we are going to make the knot, if you have problems with manual dextererity you might find it easier to do this on a cork board.  Loop the covered piping as shown, ie, keep the short end to the left and loop once going over the top.
Next make another loop on top of the first loop and run the long tail under the short tail you are clutching in your left hand. Do not move, do not sneeze, do not pass go!
Take the long end and weave it through as follows, over the first loop, under the second, over the third loop and under the last loop.
Now tug.  Do not worry if it does not go smoothly, you can manipulate it through to create the knot.
Cut the ends off, trim the cord inside the tube back slightly, fold the ends in and slip stitch them onto your button.
 And now you have a Chinese button, ready to sew onto your garment.

Now, in my best school teacher voice, you have just learnt three separate couture techniques, bias binding, covered piping and Chinese Knot buttons... how clever are you?

Right everyone, it's a Bank Holiday, get the coffee or tea on and let's adjourn to Wendy's Handmade Monday... what better way to spend a morning?


Caroline Nash said...

Fantastic Tutorial, thank you Ros

rozemie said...

great tutorial ! thanks for sharing. And by the way, over here in belgium the weather is just as bad. I'm still wearing my bed socks....

Made By Ewe said...

I totally agree about the cold weather - lovely tutorial but I don't think I'd have the patience to make these in a million years!

mcrafts said...

Lovely tutorial Ros. Cold here too - roll on some kind of summer. Mich x

Ros Made Me said...

No, patience is needed, if I can do this, then anyone can... just give it a go!


How lovely - a really good tutorial, many thanks. You have a great knack of making everything look easy and straight-forward. Like you, I hate being parted from my Birkies - but they are a bit to 'open' at the moment. Hope your laptop speeds up and you have a good week.

Lyn said...

You make it look so easy Ros, so why do I get a sneaky feeling that it'll be my knickers getting in a knot if I attempt this procedure?

Very clear tutorial!

Wendy said...

Lovely tutorial. Love the schoolteacher voice, not sure any of ours ever told us we were clever though!

KC'sCourt! said...

Definitely going to have a go at making the buttons!
Julie xxxxxxx

Mrs A. said...

Great bias binding tutorial. Thanks for posting this. Have not seen it done like this before so wiull be having a go doing it your way. Hugs Mrs A.

Anonymous said...

You are so clever!

Chrysalis said...

Thanks for making it look attainable, and for joining my happy band of followers. You never know, I might bump into you when visiting my mum & family in Southend! XX

CatkinJane said...

Thanks for this Ros - I'd never made bias by making a tube, probably as no one had ever explained further than "make bias binding" before!!

Kazies Magical Designs said...

great tutorial and thanks for the welcome back on my blog
I am a sewer too but have never made buttons these look great as you can match them to the fabric
Than you xxx

Fiddly Fingers said...

Fantastic tutorial. Shall have to give these buttons a go one day :)

Jenny said...

Fab tutorial. I have one of those bias binding gadgets but I don't think I'll ever understand it!

Helen said...

Another fab tutorial, thanks Ros!

Picto said...

Lovely buttons Ros, I have some (slightly) chunky cord so I think I'll have a practice.

Hope it warms up...

Jan x