A whole entry on bias tape? That's a stretch (har har har…). No, it really isn't. Because my feelings about the stuff have probably undergone the most radical shift since I started this sewing journey 7ish months ago.
Bias tape is basically a strip of folded fabric that is cut on a 45 degree angle. It’s used for trims and edge finishing- things like hems, arm holes, etc. It’s easier to work around a circle because of the stretch. A woven fabric not on the bias looks like this: #. If you pull it straight vertical or horizontal, there’s not nearly as much give as when you pull it from the corners.
My first experience with bias tape was not positive. It was a pain in the ass to install on Avery's robot dress, and I wound up doing it by hand- which I hate. I never used it for the next 6 months. If a pattern called for it, I did something else (usually a rolled hem), which was easier and didn't sacrifice anything stylistically. Then I found out the way I had tried to attach it before was wrong. The correct way turned out to be a lot easier, but the packets only come in a limited selection of colors, and the fabric they use isn't really nice. I've used it once or twice, but I wouldn't seek out reasons to use it.
Turns out, making it yourself is not too difficult. Sure it takes a little more time than buying, but I think it's worth it just for all the options in color and pattern.
Now this is something I'd actually look for excuses to use.
A fat quarter of fabric yielded about 3-5 yards of 1" bias tape, which is way more than I expected, and about what you get from a pack.
I used the method described here: http://pir8.freeservers.com/quilting/CBT/. Although I dont realy get her strip width chart… For 1" bias tape (both of those are, but the orange is folded in half) I used 1.75" strips for the purple per my bias tape maker instructions, and got about 5 yards. For the orange, I used 2" strips per my sewing class instructions and got about 3 yards.
It took maybe an hour to bias tape up each one of my fat quarters, but that probably gets better with practice.
I was able to find the metal bias tape doohickey in the quilting notions section of Joann. The regular sewing section had a machine that does the pulling and ironing part for you, but at over $100 for the machine and $10+ for each size bias tape attachment the cost/benefit doesn't make sense to me at this point.
Anyway- I am super excited to start putting my own bias tape on my projects. I think a solid color skirt or dress with a patterned bias tape could be really fun.