Two New Quilters’ Toys (or Tools) for Crazy Quilting

Allison Aller © 2011

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I am road testing some new tools that arrived in my sewing room, the Go! Cutter from Accuquilt and the Bias Tape Maker from Simplicity. These quilters’ “appliances” have a role to play in crazy quilting! 

I was especially happy to learn that working with velvet was very easy with these machines. I was able to cut perfect strips with the Go! and make beautiful bias tape from the strips with the Bias Tape Maker. I used the resultant bias tape in an easy pillow project that uses a streamlined piecing technique. (I should mention that I did NOT cut my velvet strips on the actual bias, but I could have.)

Let’s have a look at this project.

Here is the velvet placed on the die of the Go! machine. I will place the cutting mat over this and crank the die/fabric/mat through those metal rollers you see in the foreground. The rollers compress the foam, and the steel die cuts through the fabric, which is pressed into the mat.
(Accuquilt makes many dies for the Go! that are in all kinds of quilt-related shapes for both piecing and applique. In this project I just used the strip die.)

The cut strips are laid out on the mat for you to see. This accuracy would have been impossible for me to attain with just a ruler, rotary cutter, and mat. Velvet is just too wiggly for that, in my hands anyway!

Next I wanted to see how these strips would do in the Bias Tape Maker. This little machine folds under both sides of the strip and then feeds it over a heated surface under pressure, thus ironing both sides at once.

I found that the easiest way to thread the strip into the tip was to cut a point on the end. After pushing the strip in far enough to reach that slot on top, I used a pin to pull and then push the strip through.

In this picture I am pulling the velvet strip through the tip and over the heated surface. A cover with a small roller will be placed over the heated surface, the machine turned on, and the strip will then be fed through, coming out as bias tape! I will say that because the velvet was thick, pulling it on the other end even as the machine was running helped it to feed through. I also used some cotton velveteen to see how that would work.

As you can see, this all worked marvelously well. There is no way I could have gotten such perfectly straight and uncrushed velvet bias tape any other way. I was very pleased!

Next it was time to put these strips to use, constructing an 18” X 18” crazy pieced pillow top.

I used a simplified piecing technique, taking advantage of the finished edges of my strips. I just laid my patches next to each other on a muslin foundation, overlapping their edges about ¼”. Then I appliquéd a bias strip over the edge between the patches where the seam would be. I used a clear thread in a small zigzag stitch to sew down the strips. Then I trimmed the tape and added the next patch and strip, building the block from the center out.

At this point in the block, I am adding a final corner patch, laying a large “chunk” of fabric in place and then trimming it to size.

After the block was pieced and some of the embroidery went on, I did decide to change the flower center, adding some silk flowers and leaves right over what was there before!

More hand stitching went on, and then the pillow was easily constructed. I placed two pieces of folded fabric over the right side of the pillow top, lining up the corners with their folded edges overlapping in the center. Then I sewed around the perimeter of the pillow and turned it right side out, as in these other pillows I made.

It was a simple matter to insert a pre-made pillow form. And here is the result!

This was very easy to do, with the help of my new toys (or tools), the Go! Cutter from AccuQuilt and the Bias Tape Maker from Simplicity. There are so many more ways to use these products, too. I intend on exploring them much further.


  1. Accuquilt Go! Cutter . Information and all the dies available can be found here:
  2. Simplicity Bias Tape Maker
    Note that different widths of the bias tips are available and sold separately. They are coming out with a ¼” tip this year. In a lightweight silk, the possibilities for this tape will be endless!


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