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Bias Toward the Pretty

Martha Stewart Living, June 2007

Tote How-To
1. Using our tote template, cut out two handles, two bag pieces, one small pocket, and one large pocket from 1 yard of medium-weight cotton canvas.

2. Using 6 yards of store-bought double-fold bias tape, bind both edges of each handle and edges of large and small pockets and both bag pieces.

3. Press under 1/2 inch of both ends of each handle and pin to each bag piece, folded edge of handle facing the right side of the fabric, 4 1/2 inches from the top edge and 4 inches in from sides of bag. (The handle will twist, as shown below.) Stitch handles to bag using two horizontal stitches, 1/8 and 1/2 inch from folded edge; backstitch for reinforcement.

4. Stack a small pocket on top of a large one, side edges aligned; pin both to right side of one bag piece. Starting at bag's bottom and stitching through all layers, sew up center front of pockets; backstitch to reinforce.

5. Stack pieces, wrong sides facing and edges aligned. Bind front of bag to back with bias tape, beginning and ending with a fold-over finish.

For the Little Ones
Why settle for white? Here, bibs form the backdrop to more than just baby-food stains, and eye-catching laces make learning to tie one's shoes enticing.

For the Bibs
1. Using our bib template, cut bib from white cotton fabric. You will need 2 yards of single-fold bias tape in any width for the bib's binding and ties (plus extra for stripes, monograms, or other embellishments).

2. For stripes, stitch tape to bib 1/8 inch from tape's upper and lower edges. For monogram, stitch pieces of tape to bib, folding under the ends to prevent fraying.

3. Stitch bias tape around neckline, and trim excess.

4. Cut tape to 50 inches. Measure 11 1/2 inches from end of bias tape, leaving it loose (this will be a tie). Attach tape at one outer edge of the neckline, and stitch around bib, stopping at the opposite edge of the neckline. Measure 11 1/2 inches for second tie, and snip off excess.

5. Stitch entire length of tie, ending with a fold-over finish.

For the Shoelaces
1. Make or buy single-fold cotton bias tape that is 1/2 inch wide; cut two strips that are the same length as the shoe's original laces.

2. Fold each lace in half lengthwise, and press with iron.

3. Trim ends at an angle.

4. Stitch along the entire length of the lace, about 1/8 inch from edge.

Entertaining Extras
This summery runner is 86 inches long; you can add or subtract leaves, depending on the length of your table. Handmade napkins can coordinate with either linens or tableware.

For the Runner
1. Using our leaf template, cut 27 leaves from linen (we used celadon, mint, and lemon).

2. Use a 1/2-inch-wide strip of store-bought single-fold bias tape and the one-step binding method to create a border along one side of each leaf, from tip to tip. There is no need to finish the tape's ends.

3. Bind the opposite side of each leaf with a separate length of bias tape, covering raw edges at tips with an overlap finish.

4. Arrange leaves in desired pattern; pin, and hand-stitch together.

For the Napkins
1. Cut out a 13-inch square linen napkin. With scissors, round edges.

2. Beginning on a straight side, bind napkin with 1/2-inch-wide handmade single-fold bias tape (we used striped fabric). Complete with an overlap finish.

Beautify the Bath
A patterned trim can tie together almost any assortment of colored towels.

For the Hand Towel
1. Cut off towel's hems.

2. Using a 2-inch bias-tape maker, create two strips of fabric that span the width of the towel, allowing 1/2 inch on each end for finishing.

3. Use the one-step binding method to attach trim, beginning and ending with a fold-over finish. Topstitch ends closed 1/8 inch from folded edge.

For the Bath Towel
1. Using scissors or shears, cut two 8-inch-wide strips of fabric on the bias that span the width of the towel, allowing 1/2 inch on each end for finishing.

2. Fold raw edges of fabric so they meet in the center back, and press with an iron to create single-fold bias tape. Fold in half lengthwise again, and press.

3. Continue as with hand towel.

Mood Lighting
The handmade bias tape on this simple, no-sew project can complement curtains, pillows, or any other fabric in the room.

1. Measure the circumference of the top and the bottom of a lampshade. Cut two corresponding strips of single-fold bias tape (any width), allowing 1 inch for finishing.

2. Using fabric glue, attach bias tape to shade, beginning and ending at the shade's seam. Tuck last 1/2 inch of bias tape under itself, and affix to shade.

Comments (11)

  • aesarey 28 Feb, 2010

    Who is the manufacturer of the wallpaper seen in this photo? Also, what is the pattern number? Thanks!

  • aesarey 28 Feb, 2010

    Who is the manufacturer of the wallpaper seen in this photo? Also, what is the pattern number? Thanks!

  • LucyMaryJane 26 Feb, 2010

    Another idea. I have a travel pouch that I wear around my neck when I travel. It would probably
    be half the width of the project pictured. I keep my boarding pass in one pocket.
    A clear plastic window for my drivers license. I also stick some $$ in another for
    tips. No more fumbling......... You would have to improvise some kind of strap (s).
    You can buy quilted fab. that is finished on both sides. Serge around the edges or
    finish off as depicted.

  • MSLO_Admin3 2 Jun, 2009

    fsouter, the fabric used on the bags in this story were by Amy Butler, from the Forest Collection, at Purl Patchwork, www.purlsoho.com

  • Paperpoppies 10 Mar, 2009

    I believe Sinslee meant that she didn't see a cutout for the handles in the template. I don't see it either. Am I missing something?

  • sara82 8 Mar, 2009

    would you please add more details and pictures for the way of making

  • fsouter 2 Dec, 2008

    Can you tell me where the fabrics came from? Both the bag

  • Trayne 19 Sep, 2008

    I really appreciate your beautifully stated instructions. They are so very easy to follow.
    Thanks for all the ideas . They are great.

  • redguide 8 Aug, 2008

    I reaally think that the palcement of the handles would be up to the individual. I am quite tall. I can see this bag as being so handy for a lot of things. I am going to make it as a shoulder bag for me and my two daughters.. because we always have a dog on the leash and at least one child by the hand.

  • honey72 10 Apr, 2008

    I believe it is left up to the person making the tote to decide where the handles will end up. For instance, someone like me, would need to make my handles a little longer and set on the bag about 1/2 an inch wider than what is shown in the picture. I really like the tote pattern!

  • Sinslee 30 Jan, 2008

    I love this but I can't figure out where the handles are on the template