Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tutorial: Bias Tape Frames for Fabric Art

Yesterday I shard the my tutorial for some Hand-Painted Fabric Nativity Art.  Today I wanted to share an alternative for framing fabric art.  Ultimately, I think I  prefer real frames...but frames can be difficult to mail...especially frames as large as the ones that would fit these Nativities, so these fabric frames are a great alternative.

Here are the basic supplies you'll need...your art on muslin or other fabric, bias tape (mine was double folded and 1/2 inch wide), felt or other stiffish material for backing, and the typical sewing supplies (sewing machine, pins, scissors, etc.)

You could easily buy the bias tape, but I made mine because it's a lot cheaper.  (Dana from MADE has a great tutorial for making your own bias tape.)  I cheated a little and cut it with the grain instead of on a bias...that will work if you're using it for straight edges like here.  If you're going around curves, you'll want to use bias tape cut on a bias.  I cut my strips 2 inches wide, which makes 1 inch wide tape, which you then iron in half for 1/2 inch double fold bias tape.

Next, I trimmed my art to the size I wanted.  Remember the bias tape will cover about 1/2 an inch of your piece, so you'll want to make enough room for that.  (The black line you see around it is actually on the paper underneath it that I used to trace the pattern.)
Then I laid it out on a piece of felt.  I used white felt for most of them, and then tan felt when I ran out of white. Trim the felt to the size of your piece of art.

So at this point, you have two layers cut to the same size.

Next I pinned my bias tape to the two short sides.  Pin it, unfolded, to the front side of your piece.
Then as you stitch it, stitch right in the first fold line.

Trim the ends even.
Then trim just a tiny bit off the seam allowance.  This will allow us to pull the bias tape just a bit farther on the back side.

Now you wrap the bias tape around to the back.  As you do this, you're going to make sure the edge goes just a little past our stitching line.
Now you turn your piece back over and we're going to stitch this in place from the front.  We'll do what's called "stitching in the ditch."  I don't know if that's a technical term, but that's what my mom always called it.  Basically, you sew right in the same place as your previous seam, so that you don't see the stitching.  You'll probably want to go a bit slow.

If it's done right, it will look like this on the front...
 (If you can't see the stitching, that's a good thing.)

...and like this on the back.

By now our piece looks something like this.

Now we're going to repeat for the top and bottom of our piece.  You want to make sure to cut your bias tape to go a little beyond the ends, so we can do the corners nicely.

Pin the bias tape on, unfolded like before.
Trim the ends to be about 1/2 past the edge.
But now at the ends, we'll fold the bias tape back a bit, so it's even with the sides.
And pin it.
Now stitch like we did the previous sides...right along the first fold line.

Should you end up with a bump like this at the end, just unpin it, adjust the fold at the end, and repin.
Now fold the bias tape around to the back, just as we did for the other sides, being especially careful of the corners.
Stitch in the ditch from the front side.

Now we need a way to hang it.  I made cut three pieces of bias tape, about 2 1/2 inches long.

I sewed along the edge to keep it closed.
Then I sewed them onto the back, being sure to stitch them right on the same stitching line I'd used earlier, so it doesn't show.
Then I slip-stitched the loop to the very top edges as well, so that the piece will hang straight.

Now it's ready to be hung.  You can either hang it by putting a dowel through the loops and hanging the dowel on a couple of hooks.  Or you can put thumb tacks inside the loops to hang it and the front side of the loop will hide the tack.

Here's the picture my mom sent of the one I made for her.

And if you're looking for a fun way to wrap one of these for mailing, click here for the details on these Brown Paper Candy Striped Tubes.

And since it's after Christmas, if you're looking for some other fabric art to frame, you might want to check out some of these past projects...

Sister Faux Embroidery

CTR Faux Embroidery

Family Tree Faux Embroidery

Teacher Faux Embroidery

Family Portrait Doodle Faux Embroidery

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  1. I love my Nativity art, Polly. Thank you so much!

    The felt on the back is such a nice touch. It really makes the wall hanging feel substantial, and it hangs very nicely.

  2. Great project - looks so neat and elegant!

  3. Wow. I've been sewing on bias tape the hard way for years. I've just been sandwiching the fabric in the tape. Thanks for the tutorial! This way it just looks so much better!


  4. I meant to leave a comment yesterday to say thanks for the great tutorial on painting the art. It's on my to-do list for next year. I love the idea of making a bias tape frame too--a very economical alternative!


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