Preparing Bias Stems

Preparing Bias Stems with Clover Bias Tape Maker

This tutorial explains how to make 1/4" bias stems using a #6 Clover Bias Tape Maker.


The same steps can be followed with any size Bias Tape Maker - just follow the instructions on the tool to determine the width to cut your initial bias strips.

Step 1 - Cutting the Fabric on the Bias:

  • Start with a fat quarter of desired fabric.
  • Iron your fabric - cut a straight edge if there isn't one already.
  • Most rotary rulers include a 45 degree angle mark - find it on your ruler.
  • Lay the 45 degree angle mark on the selvage edge of your fabric.  This will align the cut edge of your ruler on a 45 degree angle.

  •  Use a rotary cutter and cut a straight edge on the bias (the diagonal above).
  • Gently slide your ruler over to the 1/2" mark (with the 45 degree line still on the selvage) and make another cut resulting in a 1/2 inch bias strip.

  • Repeat this process until you have 10 or more 1/2" strips cut on the bias.

Note: Use Caution when handling the strips -- when fabric is cut on the bias it will easily stretch.

Step 2 - Make Bias Stems:

  • Using the Clover #6 - 1/4" Bias Tape Maker (BTM) feed one end of your 1/2" bias strip through the wide end of the BTM with fabric right side up.  
  • Use a pin (if necessary) to advance the fabric through the BTM to the narrow end.  Leave about 1/2" of the strip showing on the narrow end.

  • Position your iron so the side of the iron is against the narrow end of the BTM.
  • Note: The BTM instructions say to move the tool with the hand that is not ironing -- but I prefer to use the iron to move the tool.
  • The iron should be set on a "Cotton" heat with steam and a fair amount of pressure should be applied as you glide the iron over the fabric to make the bias stem.  Once you start pressing to the left  - keep going - don't stop mid-strip.

  • Some would suggest you use a light starch on the fabric before beginning to make the tape -- feel free to do so - it makes the bias tape hold its shape.
That's all there is to it -- it's pretty simple to make a bias stem using a Clover Bias Tape Maker.

Front and back image of the completed bias stems:

Note:  Tutorial excerpt from the Moda Bake Shop Redbird and Berries Mini Quilt Recipe posted Jan 24th, 2014 ~ written by Karen L. Miller

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