Bias binding is such a useful technique and it’s not difficult to master, like everything a little practise makes perfect. Bias binding is a great way to finish the raw edge of a garment. It is hugely versatile and can be used on necklines, armholes, hems, pretty much anywhere really. You can buy ready made binding from your local haberdashery shop or make your own and use up some of those scraps!
There are really two types of binding for our purposes:
DOUBLE BIAS BINDING is on show from the right side of the garment and can be decorative if made in a contrasting fabric.
SINGLE BIAS BINDING: It can be used in lieu of a facing on an armhole or neckline, and apart from a row of topstitching, only be seen on the inside.
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to attach your binding, if you want to know how to cut, join, press and sew bias binding, go check out my BIG BIAS BINDING TUTORIAL.
Double bias binding is used when you want to see it on the right side of a garment, so it is both decorative and practical. YAY, One of my favourite combo’s!
Take your prepared binding and pin RIGHT side of binding to the RIGHT side of garment aligning the raw edges together. Machine stitch along the fold.
TIP: if you are binding a thicker fabric or a few layers of fabric, take a smaller seam allowance so you have extra binding where you need it to help accommodate that extra bulkiness.
Press binding AWAY from the garment.
Wrap binding over to the raw edge to WRONG side of garment, and position the folded edge of binding so your machine stitching is covered by a few millimetres. Pin to hold. Tack right on the edge of the binding to hold into place – ensure you catch all the binding on the reverse side and just cover the machine stitch while keeping an even distance away from the binding on the front. Take your time to get this right now, the tack line will be a guide to your topstitching!
TWO OPTIONS TO FINISH:
OPTION 1: EDGE STITCH ON THE BINDING
Top stitch the binding to finish: with the right side of your garment facing you, edge stitch the binding and as long as you stitch to the inside of your tacking stitch and you know you’ve caught the back of the binding!
OPTION 2: If you don’t want your stitching to show on your binding try this method…
Finish your binding by Stitching in the Ditch (also known as sink stitch).
‘Stitch in the Ditch’ is a really useful technique to know, good for finishing waistbands as well as bindings. When stitched in the same colour as your main fabric the stitch line practically disappears as it settles into the seam.
Position your machine needle in line with the groove (the ditch) of the seam, you are going to stitch right in that ditch, NEXT to the binding but not on it. And as long as you stitch to the inside of your tacking thread, you know you’ve caught your binding on the back 🙂
Just remove your tacking thread, and you’re done!
Single bias binding is used to finish a raw edge without it showing to the front of your garment, a great choice if you want a fuss free finish without a facing.
This isn’t everybody’s method, but this is the method I was taught by a sample machinist I worked with about 20 years ago, she called it the Cheat Method. I liked the method because it was quick and that binding NEVER frayed no matter how much I washed those garments (baby and kids clothes), must have been the combination of a folded edge and the extra understitching – great for linen fabrics. I’ve used this many times over the years instead of a having a flappy facing. The only drawback is some fabrics are just too bulky, but just bind anything too thick with a contrasting fabric and make a feature of the inside!
PRESS: Fold your binding in half and press.
ATTACH: Line up the raw edges of your binding with the raw edge of your garment, with right sides together.
Stitch with a 6mm seam allowance to attach.Press binding and seam allowances away from garment. Understitch (machine stitch an edge stitch through all the layers on the binding close to the seam.) The understitching is an optional step, there won’t be a disaster without it, but it does make the binding roll to the wrong side better and I think it makes the binding stronger.
Tack along the edge of the binding to hold in place, this will also give you a guide line for your next row of stitching.
Flip your garment over and topstitch with the right side up. If you stitch inside your tacking line so you know that you will catch all the binding!
(You can make narrower binding if you prefer…simple bit of maths… finished width of binding + seam allowance, x 2 = cutting width of binding.)
And that is how to sew bias binding!