To finish the edges of a blanket or saddle pad, I use bias binding. This can be purchased pre-made at any fabric or craft store, in varying widths, folds and colors:

While it’s convenient to purchase, pre-made bias has it’s downsides. It can be expensive, especially if you’re using a lot of it. You are also limited when it comes to colors. I am a bit obsessive about things matching, and store bought bias simply doesn’t come in the same exact colors as my fabrics. Patterned bias exists, but again, you’re limited to what’s available.

So I learned how to make bias tape myself.

There are dozens of better tutorials online explaining how to do this but since I make my bias specifically for model horse tack, I thought I would share my process with you.

Here are the tools I use:

  • Fabric of choice
  • Large cutting mat – you’ll need one if you’re using a rotary blade
  • Rotary blade (sharp scissors work too but this thing is SO much faster and smoother!)
  • Ruler (mine is huge but a smaller one can work too)
  • Bias tape maker – these come in different widths and styles. I’ve used this one the most.

You’ll also need an iron and ironing board.

To put it simply, bias tape is made by cutting a diagonal strip from your fabric. Here’s a square piece of fabric to illustrate.

If you tug on both corners of your fabric, you’re going to feel it stretch better than if you tug on the top and bottom. This is where you’ll cut your strips from. The stretch helps the fabric go around curved edges easier.

Stretchy!

No stretch 😦

Start by taking one corner of your fabric, then fold it diagonally to meet the other side. You want a 45° angle here. Unless your fabric is a perfect square, it’s not going to fold in half exactly.

Pardon the carpet. I cut everything on the floor because I don’t have a table big enough to work on XD

Iron this fold down, then open up the piece again.

Cut along the fold line – you’ll have two fabric triangles to work with now. I tend to use whichever is larger first, as I can get a longer piece of tape from it.

Next, I’ll measure 1 inch from the edge and slice off a strip.

These strips are ready for sewing! I always cut more than what I need.

My method for sewing on bias has changed, so I no longer fold it. I was using double fold bias for nearly everything for a few years, and that was made with a metal bias tape maker. These come in different widths and are super handy for quickly making folded bias.

I get the 1 inch measurement from using this tool as it was required for the double fold. (each size is different- they do come with instructions!) To make the tape, feed one end through and anchor it down. (I pin it to the ironing board) Slide the tool along the strip, ironing down the fold as you go.

Fabric can (and will) behave differently sometimes – these two strips were made the same exact way but the blue pressed much more nicely. They can both be used this way though, so it’s not a problem.

If you don’t have a tape maker, you can still create the fold by hand. First, fold the entire piece in half and iron it down. Open this up, then fold in one edge to the center line and iron it down. Repeat for the other side.

So, now that your tape is cut, what do you do if it’s not long enough for your project?? I always try to use one piece of tape for the project I’m working on, but sometimes it’s necessary to join two pieces together. This can be a little confusing at first.

Start by laying one piece of bias down, with the good side facing up. Take your second piece and lay it on top (wrong side up) so the pieces are perpendicular to each other. (if your tape is folded open the folds up first)

See the square? You’re going to sew diagonally across this, from the top left corner to the bottom right.

If you’re not sure, pin the pieces together first, then open up the strip. This is what it should look like:

After sewing, cut off the excess, and press flat.

Now your tape’s ready to be sewn on!

“Make my blanket now please?”

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A few months ago I shut down my Etsy shop pretty much out of the blue. Truthfully, something came up which required my full attention, so dealing with my shop in addition to that would have caused a lot of stress.

To be honest, I was already feeling that stress before shutting it down. Sometime during the winter season I hit a wall, especially when it came to sales/orders. It got to the point where they were beginning to cause physical anxiety, which is bizarre because that’s never really happened before. I feel bad for even mentioning that. I am, and have always been, incredibly grateful for the interest in my work. ❤

Anyway, having an excuse to close it for a while instead of hemming and hawing and stressing even longer turned out to be a really good thing.

There were a number of different reasons behind the way I was feeling in general – it wasn't just hobby/sales/etc related stuff. I haven't been open about it here, instead trying to keep an upbeat or neutral tone in my posts. (Should I be? Or is it too much? I never know. :/)

Today, I'm still not 100% but I'm much, much better. It's normal for me to go through periods of depression and anxiety. This time was a bit different though. Usually being creative and focusing on my hobbies is a way to cope. It's extremely discouraging when it's contributing to it instead. 😦

Taking a break helped. I got some pieces done that I've been wanting to make, but never had time for. I even managed to take a few days off of work, which hasn't happened in a couple years, and that helped TONS too.
I went to the bison range to look for animals and was not disappointed…

National Bison Range - Bison

National Bison Range - Pronghorn Antelope

National Bison Range - Turtle Rock

National Bison Range - Bison

And I went up to Glacier National Park.

Glacier - Lake McDonald

Glacier - Lake McDonald

I have every intention of going back to both. (is there any interest in those kinds of posts? I know it’s my blog and I can post whatever I want but…?)
It kind of hit me just how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place, and I really don’t want to take it for granted. I forgive you, Montana, for the 6 months of winter. Please don’t burn to the ground again this summer, k?

Montana has finally decided that’s it’s Spring/Summer now, so everything is GREEN and it’s WARM and my mood has lifted considerably. Work’s better. I don’t feel quite as sad. I’ve been getting back in church nearly every weekend and that’s helping too.

Soooo… now what?

I’m not DONE with my Etsy shop. I have slowly been working on sales pieces, and managed to complete a batch of western pads which I’ve listed today:

I like making sales pieces, and I think that’s because there’s freedom in making them.

But I have also decided that I won’t be making things to order, or take on any custom orders for the time being. There’s a certain amount of fear behind that, and I am afraid that I’m going to disappoint or let people down. But the very idea of taking on any more is bringing that anxiety up again, and until I get that sorted -if I can get it sorted- I figure it’s best to put orders on the back burner for now. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself in regards to my shop… and there’s this other fear that if I can’t get x, y & z done by such and such time, or if I can’t dedicate so much time every day to work on stuff that I know people have been waiting for, I’ll be a total FAILURE. I know (I hope?) it’s all a lie but it’s still there bothering me.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say anymore, but for the last few weeks I’ve felt like I needed to say something. Also… if there are any artists/tack-makers/creatives that can relate, please leave a comment… I’ve allowed anonymous comments again. They were closed because of trolls. 😛

It seems like creativity and depression often go hand in hand and I’m not sure why that is. Or maybe I’m just weird, haha.

Happy Mother’s Day

Wishing a very happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Thanks for all that you do – and put up with! 😀