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I’m working on producing a library of sewing tutorials for Maven Patterns.

They will all be here in one place, updated to keep relevant with each new pattern release and covering every technique on a pattern by pattern basis.

That way you can look up new stuff if you want to, do your own thing, or do what I do…look it up and then do my own thing anyway,

because there is always more than one good way to sew anything 😉

It will also help to keep the Maker Instructions with each pattern concise, clear and relevant. You only need to learn how to do binding once, what you don’t need is a massive pattern file on your computer taking up space!

So in support of my next pattern, here is a lovely big binding tutorial! (If you just want to know How to Sew your binding CLICK  HERE for the condensed tutorial.)


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.


If you are using a Maven Pattern, I always include a pattern piece for each bias strip needed so just use that and be sure to follow the grainline as it must be cut on the BIAS GRAIN of your fabric.


Your strips need to be cut on the bias grain of your cloth, so they will stretch around curves (armholes, necklines etc) and lay flat once stitched.

(There are times to use binding cut on the straight grain, usually for the edges of quilts, but if in doubt cut on the bias.)

TIP: If my fabric is a little unstable I’ll either tape it to the table to stop it moving, or pin the fabric to paper, at the marking stage before cutting the strips.

First you will need to find the TRUE BIAS (often just referred to as the bias grain) of the fabric. The bias of the fabric runs at a 45 degree angle to the lengthwise grain (along the selvedge) and the crosswise grain (the width of the cloth).

MAVEN PATTERNS BINDING TUTORIALTo find the true bias: square off one end of your fabric. Fold the fabric diagonally so the crosswise grain is parallel to the selvedge/lengthwise grain (forming a triangle shape as above). Press the fabric along this fold to mark the bias grain.


Open the fabric out and using your pressed line as a guide, mark out your bias strips to your desired width, keeping them parallel to your fold line.

Your strips need to be 4 times your finished width, I usually find cutting 4cm wide for a finished binding of 1cm works well. Cut as many bias strips as you need to complete your project. You can mark with a fabric marker pen, but if you are careful and mark on the reverse of your cloth, I’ve found a pencil or ballpoint pen works well as they give an accurate line and you don’t lose your marks too quickly. But do make sure you do a test first!


To join to ends of binding together (or separate pieces if you need a long continuous strip)


Lay your binding strips on top of each other with Right sides together and at 90 degree angle to each other.

Stitch across the diagonal to join as shown in the picture.

Trim away the excess to leave a 6mm seam allowance and press this seam open.

Maven Patterns Bias tutorial

To finish the sleeve hem on The French Dart Shift Dress, or to bind an armhole, you will need to make a loop of binding as above. I like to join first and then press my bias strip into binding. I use a sleeve board at the pressing stage to help so it’s not too fiddly, BUT if you are using a BIAS TAPE MAKER TOOL you will need to make your binding and then join it.


This is an easy way to join your bias binding, especially if you are not sure of your finished measurement so can’t pre join together before stitching to your garment….


Fold back starting edge by 1cm to wrong side of binding and then pin binding into place aligning the raw edges of garment with the raw edge of the binding and with right sides facing together.


Continue to pin binding along edge of garment, and then at the join lay the binding directly on top of your starting point and trim so that it overlaps by 1cm.

Stitch into place and finish as described in the ” How to sew bias binding instructions below”


You will create a neat little overlapping finish. It is suitable for many fabrics but you may find this method a little bulky for thicker ones – then it is preferable to use the diagonal stitch method discussed above.


PRESS: Now you’ve cut your binding and if necessary joined your binding, it’s time to press your strips so they look like binding…

Maven Patterns Bias tutorial
Take your length of binding, fold in half and press. Unfold and refold each outside edge to meet your centre fold and press.

Fold it all back together and press flat firmly but don’t stretch it.

Alternatively use the handy BIAS TAPE MAKER gadget…


The handy little gadget that is the bias making tool can be incredibly useful, especially if you are making a lot of binding. Just pull your pre-cut binding through the tool and it will fold it ready for you to press into perfect binding. They come in different sizes, so you can just pick the one that will give you the width you want.

If you google how to sew binding you get 833,000 results…this is my way…feel free to tweak and find what works best for you!

Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 01

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.

Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 02

Press binding AWAY from the garment.

Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 03

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!

Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 04




Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 07

Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 06

Top stitch the binding to finish: with the right side of your garment facing you, edge stitch on 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!

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 and also the neckline of The French Dart Shift (coming soon!). When stitched in the same colour as your main fabric the stitch line practically disappears as it settles into the seam.

Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 11
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 🙂Maven Patterns Bias binding tutorial 012

Just remove your tacking thread, and you’re done!


This isn’t everybody’s method. This is the method I was taught by a sample machinist I worked with about 20 years ago, she called it the Cheat Method.


PRESS: Just fold your binding in half and press.

Version 2

ATTACH: Line up the raw edges of your binding with the raw edge of your garment, with right sides together.DSC_0326

Stitch with seam allowance to attach.

DSC_0335Press 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.
Version 2Tack 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.)

I liked the method because it was quick and that binding NEVER frayed no matter how much I washed those garments (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!

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Well hello again!

I’ve been working on my next PDF sewing pattern The French Dart Shift, a lovely tunic pattern that was called Rachel until 10 minutes ago. Then I thought to check to see if are there any other Rachel sewing patterns. YEP, of course there are! So name changed and I’m hoping to release her into the wild very soon!

In preparation for her launch, I’ve been preparing all the tutorials and working away on the Maker Instructions. The joy of making digital patterns is that I can include a feature called LAYERS.

Layers is great, it means you can toggle sizes on and off and only print the size (or sizes) you want. I know, it’s really quite splendid!

I didn’t include this function on my first two releases,  the Apron and the Smock, as they are only available in small, medium and large sizes. The Rachel French Dart Shift, however, has a full size range from a UK 8 to UK 18. That is a lot of information and a lot of lines, using layers will help simplify what you’re looking at.

So how does it work? Well, want to make a size 16 tunic?  ‘Hide’ the other sizes and just print that one size 16. Or, are you between a size 10 and 12? Turn off the rest and just print the two you want, easy to blend the sizes now. 

No more pick a line, and hope you’re cutting the correct one for your size, there only is your size. And, as a little added bonus, only printing the size you want saves ink too!

Oh yeah, like I said, layers is a great feature!

So you’re convinced LAYERS is amazing, so here’ s how to use the layers feature:

(Not convinced? You can just leave them all on and carry on as usual and print the full range of sizes)

Open up your layered pattern and make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.



On the left you can see a menu, look for the LAYERS icon. It looks like 3 diamonds (or sheets of paper, I can’t decide) on top of each other.



Click the LAYERS icon to open and a panel will fly out, showing two options. The first bar is for the Maker Instructions (the instructions have NO layers) and the second bar is for the PATTERN.

CLICK the + icon on the PATTERN HEADER BAR to release the DROP DOWN MENU.


TA-DA! All the layers are listed so you can easily select your size(s). To toggle the layers on and off, just click the eyeball icon next to each layer name.



Leave the eyeball ON to print a layer, eyeball OFF to hide a layer. Now you see it, now you don’t!

You can see two layers are locked, the pocket layer and the tiling layer that contains pattern and the print test square information relevant to every size, you really don’t want to turn those off by mistake.

TOP TIP: Before you print, just double-check you have everything you want to print selected because the only thing worse than a pattern with lots of lines, is a pattern without any lines!

So there you go, all the benefits of a layered pattern in one little post! Enjoy!


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How to Print and Tile a PDF Sewing Pattern

The joy of PDF sewing patterns is that they are instant. Also called digital sewing patterns, they are designed to be printed at home on either A4 or US letter sized paper, made up of several pages (tiles) that are joined together to make a complete pattern. Once downloaded you can print as many patterns as needed, no problems making different sizes, or losing a pattern piece, no more fragile tissue paper!

Just pick your PDF sewing pattern, download it and you are ready to start using up that stash of fabric that is slowly threatening to take over the house. Admit it you’ve got one, I’ve got one, we’ve all got one…and if you don’t have a stash of fabric…you want one!

So putting your pattern together is a very simple process, grab a cup of tea and follow this tutorial…


We now include an A0 file with each PDF pattern for printing at a copy shop on a wide format printer.

If you are only seeing 2 pages to print at home, you’ve most likely opened this file by mistake and you need to open and print from the file that is included with the Maker Instructions. All patterns from The Somerset (pattern 08) onwards, the pattern and the instruction files are separate. You will find a list of page numbers in the instructions so you can just print the pages you choose to save ink and paper.


A printer

A4/US letter paper

Paper Scissors

Tape (transparent magic tape is the best – doesn’t yellow with age, it’s invisible, you can get pins through it)



Download your pattern and save it to your computer.

Maven Patterns are also available through Etsy, and Etsy have kindly posted a guide to help with downloading digital items.

To open your digital file you need an Adobe Reader, which you can download for free.

Open you document and READ IT FIRST! You will find a set of instructions which include a cutting guide, fabric requirements, illustrated Maker Instructions and a glossary of terms as well as your pattern. It is not necessary to print everything, you can save ink and paper by just printing the pattern (in some cases just the version of the pattern you want to make) and viewing your instructions on screen. You will find a list of page numbers on the CONTENTS page.

How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

Make a note of the page number for THE PRINT TEST SQUARE, this is ALWAYS the first page to print. A PRINT TEST SQUARE is included on all digital sewing patterns so you can check that your printer is printing your pattern accurately. My patterns have a square 10cm x 10cm, but just check the size for different pattern designers – it will be clearly marked.


How to print and tile a pattern: Adobe Acrobat screen shot

IMPORTANT: Ensure your print settings are correct, the pattern must print at actual size or it won’t fit you! These print settings all vary a little , on my computer (a PC) I use these options, yours may be different:

Select your printer in the top left corner (mine defaults to Adobe)


PAGES TO PRINT: PAGES and tap in the page number of the print test square (19 in this case),

ORIENTATION: AUTO/PORTRAIT LANDSCAPE to keep your pattern tile centralized.


Print the TEST SQUARE page.

How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern


Check the square measures 10cm x 10cm, if it does great – you’ll print an accurate pattern. If it doesn’t go back and fiddle with the print settings again.


  • Check you are opening with the latest version of Adobe Reader.
  • If you’re using a Mac and your pattern is opening in ‘Preview’, the default reader, reopen in the latest version of Adobe Reader. FREE FROM HERE.
  • Give your pattern time to download completely. Save it somewhere safe that you can find on your computer.
  • Be sure to print from the SAVED version.
  • Printing a pattern that is open from your internet browser will cause the pattern to not print out correctly.

| Check the printer settings |

  • ‘Actual Size/Scale 100% should be TICKED
  • Make sure:  ‘Choose paper source by PDF page size’ is UN-TICKED.
  • Still not printing OK? Click ‘ADVANCED PRINTER SETTINGS’ then click “PRINT AS IMAGE”



Once you are happy with your test square, you can print your pattern, again refer back to the contents page so you print the right pages. Soon you will have a stack of pattern tiles in front of you.

How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

The grey square is the outside edge of your pattern tile, all you need to do is trim away the excess overlap on two sides. For absolute accuracy cut on the outside of the grey line, so you can still see it. Carry on until all the tiles are trimmed.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

Each tile has a large grey number in the centre, these run from left to right so you can put your tiles in order. A TILE LAYOUT DIAGRAM is included in the instructions as each pattern will vary a little.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

Stick tile 1 to tile 2, line up the triangles and the pattern as you go, butting the grey frame edges next to each other – NOT OVERLAPPING. I always use transparent magic tape for patterns, but it’s a little TOO transparent to show up in a photo…hence the lovely washi tape! Keep working your way across row 1, and then do the same for row 2.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing patternJoin rows 1 and 2 together, and continue until your  pattern is taped together, using the tile layout diagram as a guide.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

A whole tiled pattern can get a little unmanageable in one piece, so chop out completed sections of the pattern as you go. All you have to do now is decide on your size and carefully cut out each pattern piece ready to make your garment.