6 Sewing Hacks With Masking Tape

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love a technique that saves you time, money and sanity. Especially when it involves a “tool” that you’ll find in pretty much every household and elicits one of those “face palm” moments. You know the kind? The kind that makes you think “Duh! Why haven’t I been doing it like this all along?!” One of my favourite household “tools” is masking tape. But it’s not just for decorators, oh no no! Here are some of my favourite uses for masking tape when I’m sewing…..

1) Making Bias strips: When your sewing pattern calls for a strip of bias binding and nonchalantly presents you with a flimsy bit of tissue paper to pin to your flimsy fabric that you just know is going to slip and slide everywhere when you cut it, and then asks you, with a perfectly straight face, to cut 6?! DON’T! All you need is a roll of masking tape the same width as the bias strips you want to make. Look! (This is by FAR my biggest eureka moment with masking tape:)

2) Lengthen pattern pieces the easy way: Slash the pattern piece where indicated and use masking tape the same width as your desired increase to join the pieces back together. If you want to lengthen a pattern piece by 1″, use a roll of 1″ masking tape. Want to lengthen it by 2″, use 2″ wide masking tape. (It actually works out a little under that because of a miniscule overlap, but you get my drift!)

3) As a guide for quilting lines: If you’re just quilting in straight lines, (and like me you’re inclined to a  wobbly stitching line now and then), use a strip of masking tape to ensure straight and evenly spaced stitching lines.

4) Sew perfect darts: Sewing darts can be tricky because you’re sewing (or attempting to) a straight at an angle without the assistance of the seam guide on your throat plate. Use masking tape to create a guide for sewing darts.

5) As a seam guide on your sewing machine: If the stitching line you want to sew has a wider seam allowance than your throatplate guide…just measure from your needle to the desired spot on your machine, and use a strip of tape as a temporary seam guide.

6) Assembling PDF patterns: I try to use masking tape when assembling pdf sewing patterns for a number of reasons. It unpeels easier than sellotape and is less messy than glue. You can iron over it if your pattern becomes creased, without it melting (ask me how I learnt that one!) And if you want to redraw pattern lines you can draw over it 🙂

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll bet some of you out there have got more awesome uses for masking tape! Have you got any other great sewing hacks using everyday household stuff? Feel free to chime in and share in the comments section 🙂 I’m ALWAYs looking for more shortcuts and hacks in my sewing!

 

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38 Comments

  1. Hebs14 February 13, 2015

    Genius! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Portia Lawrie February 13, 2015

      You’re welcome Hebs14 🙂

      Reply
      • Shirley Adams February 16, 2016

        Hi Portia, Further to your tip on using tape to make bias binding…. I came across another tip using lines that you could incorporate by using tape.

        Continuous Bias Binding Tape.
        Lay the cloth out it has to be square and bring the opposite corners together diagonally…. then offset the two edges by 1 strip of tape and sew the seam to make a tube. Press the seam flat. You are left with two small triangles on the opposite sides of the tube which can be stashed in the scrap pile.
        Now simply cut between the lines of tape as before but you will find that as you cut that you are making a long long spiral that does not need joining so happy binding.

        Reply
  2. Jeena February 15, 2015

    TERRIBLE THE LINKS DONT EVEN WORL

    Reply
    • portia February 15, 2015

      Hi Jeena. So sorry! Just completed a slightly complex migration from Blogger to here and all posts are on a redirect from my old blog. There will inevitably be some teething issues…so please bear with me while I look into it. Thankyou so much for letting me know! Px

      Reply
    • portia February 15, 2015

      Hi Jeena, all sorted! Have reset all the links and tested them and they are all working fine now. Thankyou so much for raising the issue 🙂
      Px

      Reply
  3. Yvonne February 15, 2015

    And if you want to quilt shapes that aren’t straight you can use adhesive vinyl (eg. Mactac) to make a template that you can use over and over and over.

    Reply
    • portia February 15, 2015

      Awesome tip Yvonne! Thank you! Px

      Reply
  4. Jana | One Drawing a Day February 17, 2015

    Bias Tape! So clever 🙂

    Reply
    • portia February 17, 2015
      Reply
  5. Laura February 17, 2015

    Hi Portia, I’m a huge fan of masking tape and have used it in most of the ways you’ve mentioned here. I also use it for labelling pattern pieces after cutting them out (‘left front’, etc.) and for numbering rows or pieced panels ready for assembling whrn quilting!

    Reply
    • portia February 17, 2015

      Hi Laura! Ah yes…The labelling thing keeps cropping up….I can imagine it would be super useful for quilting patterns! I’ve often wondered how you quilters keep track! I’m having a face palm moment, lol 🙂 If course it would be perfect for that!

      Reply
  6. Cucicucicoo February 20, 2015

    Wow, such simple ideas, but so incredibly helpful! Thanks so much for these useful tips! 🙂 Lisa

    Reply
    • portia February 20, 2015

      You’re super welcome Lisa 🙂 Glad you found them useful! Px

      Reply
  7. irene lewis February 20, 2015

    it just occurred to me that i can use snippets of masking tape where i need to mark those pesky dots the patterns always want me to match up … instead of chalk!

    Reply
    • portia February 20, 2015

      Yesssss Irene! I use those sticky stationary hole reinforcers for the exact same thing! Px

      Reply
      • Shirley Adams February 15, 2016

        I love the idea of using hole reinforcement stickers…. for marking points on patterns and joining fabric. Off to raid the stationary drawer!

        Reply
  8. Mary February 21, 2015

    Absolutely brilliant!! Thank you 🙂 […goes off in search of masking tape…]

    Reply
  9. Sandra Miles February 22, 2015

    Shall be using masking tape instead of sellotape when copying my patterns from now on.

    Reply
  10. clare March 10, 2015

    I use the ever so small pieces of masking tap to anchor the end of the thread on a spool instead of trying to anchor it in the slot which I usually can’t find.

    Reply
    • portia March 10, 2015

      Makes it easier to find the end again as well I’ll bet Clare! Makes sense! Px

      Reply
  11. brenda z April 26, 2015

    i use it to mark the wrong side of fabric when the right and wrong sides are very similar. i also use it to clean up thread bits. when you have to “unsew” or clip off thread ends, they stick to the tape very nicely and then get chucked. also,when you “unsew”, just lay a strip of masking tape over the snipped bits of thread,finger press it lightly and then pull the tape off, and they pull out of the fabric very easily.

    Reply
    • portia April 26, 2015

      Nice tip!!

      Reply
  12. Kyla August 6, 2015

    Great hacks. Thanks will be using for sewing and teaching. Another one is using masking tape for when you’re tracing pattern as peels off easy.

    Thanks again
    Kyla @ Suki Sew

    Reply
  13. Alida October 6, 2015

    Thank you! If you only knew the time I’ve wasted with this problem, resulting in miserable bias through sheer temper.

    Reply
  14. delores October 26, 2015

    Good one via Pinterest, when machine sewing buttons on, use tape to hold a button down.

    Reply
  15. helen mclean February 14, 2016

    Best dart sewing tip I’ve seen. I have struggled to mark darts on fabric for years, and even then often end up with a wonky line, will definitely be trying this one!

    Reply
    • Portia Lawrie February 15, 2016

      Awesome! It’s a neat and easy trick that one!

      Reply
  16. Diana March 8, 2016

    I would love to see a video clip that shows how to use masking tape to sew a dart, as I am a complete novice and this would make it easier for me to understand. I had no luck searching on YouTube. thank you Diana

    Reply
  17. Diana March 9, 2016

    Hi Portia, thank you for resending the link which I believe is the same one you embedded in your post. I regret I am unable to understand it

    Reply
  18. Liz April 16, 2016

    I have heard that it is a great way to hold scout patches in place while you sew them on.

    Reply
  19. Joyce April 24, 2016

    Yes !! Can’t tell you how many of those “duh ” moments I’ve had in the past !! LOL !! Why didn’t I think of that ? !! Thank You !!!!!

    Reply
    • Portia Lawrie April 24, 2016

      Ha ha Joyce ? you’re welcome! We all have ’em ?

      Reply
  20. Mary Ann December 29, 2016

    As a quilter with no permanent space for a design wall, I use Painter’s tape which is much like masking tape with less stick, to tape a flannel backed table cloth up to the wall as a temporary design wall. I have even used this method on a mirrored closet door.

    Reply
  21. Brenda December 29, 2016

    My low tack tape doesn’t adhere well to m fabric, but the regular tape stretches the fabric when I pull it off. Is there a particular brand of tape you use? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Portia Lawrie December 31, 2016

      I find the low tack stuff better. It only has to adhere gently to serve it’s purpose. As you say, much better than something that really strongly adheres and stretches the fabric when you pull it off afterwards. I don’t use a particular brand but generally find the cheaper the brand, the less sticky and therefore the better it is for this. Hope that helps some!

      Reply
  22. LindaW January 8, 2017

    The single sewing use I’d heard about for masking tape (before reading your list) was to use it around the raw edges of fabric before washing it. The idea being it’s better to lose a bit of fabric to the tape than deal with unraveling and puckering brought on by washing.

    Reply

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