Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The French and the controversial bias stay tape

Dear readers, I promised you a post with a new couture technique I learned in Baltimore, where I attended  my Camp Couture.

So, here it is: the bias stay tape. I find it amazing since already the name is very contradictory. How can a bias tape be used as a stay, that is something that is used to prevent bias garment edges from sagging. Bias per se is prone to stretching, right?!

Well, here is the trick:

The silk organza strip on the top and below were both cut the same width (5/8" or 1.5 cm). However, the top one was steam-pressed and stretched, until all the bias (=stretch) was taken out. That is the strip was stretched to its maximum, and the steam helped it keep the shape. The final width is slightly wider than 1/4" (or 0.5 cm).

Once the strip was stretched and pressed, it is ready to be applied to the garment section that need to be stayed. Here I am applying it to the lace blouse neckline using tiny running stitches along both edges of the stay tape. Avoid pulling the tape across as it tends to stretch out in the width.

So, here some mechanics:

  • the bias is more flexible than a tape cut on grain
  • the stay doesn't fray (because it is cut on bias)
  • the tape has a very slight resistance and tries to return to its initial stage, just tiny little bit almost invisible to the eye, tightening any bias seam or edge.

This technique works best on light-weight garments, but I am going to try and experiment with wool strips, linen, or medium-weight silks. If I achieve any satisfactory results, I'll report back, readers! And, by the way, check out my facebook page for images of the finished blouse (and a skirt) and some detail shots made for my Burdastyle Couture Challenge.

P.S. I forgot to mention, readers, what the French have to do with it! Well, when Susan explained this technique to me, she exclaimed "This is how the French do it!" the way she said it... ta-da!.. the magic of couture :-) enjoy your week!


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