In our second blog post on different finishing techniques, we will show you how to use bias binding as a finishing. Bias binding is the stuff of wonders! You can use it for many purposes, and below we will show you two different ways of using bias binding as a finishing method: to encase a seam allowance and to finish a hem. You can buy ready made bias binding in different fabrics, colours and widths, and you can make it yourself from the same fabric that you are making your garment in. Bias means the diagonal of your fabric (as opposed to the straight of grain or the cross grain) where your fabric has some stretch. The slight stretch in the bias means it’s easy to manipulate around curves. All those beautiful 1930’s silk gowns that drape around your curves? Bias cut.
Bias binding on seam allowance: step by step
A bound edge instead of an overlocked edge instantly gives the inside of your garment that bespoke, high end feel. Give it a try on a simple garment like a skirt to start you off.
1. Start by pressing your bias binding in half, with one half slightly longer than the other. This is crucial to your success! You should aim to see about a 2 to 3 mm difference.
2. Slot your pressed bias binding onto your seam allowance with the longer half underneath, and from the right side of your seam allowance (that you will see in your finished garment).
3. Keep it slotted on nicely whist you start sewing. Topstitch your bias binding neatly on the edge. Sew bit by bit and keep slotting your binding on nice and tight. Because the other half of the binding is slightly wider (the underneath), you are guaranteed to catch the other side of it. Magic!
4. Turn your seam over to admire your beautifully bound seam. You can use this on seam allowances in skirts, trousers, dresses, along the edges of a zip, on the inside of a waistband, to bind off an armhole, etc. You will achieve a high end look in no time!
Remember that if you decide to bind your seam allowances, you will have to do this before you finish your garment: you will have to add the binding to your skirt’s side seam (for example) before you hem it and finish the waist.
Bias binding as a hem: step by step
A bound hem is really suitable for skirts that are made in a heavier weight material: doing a double turn up hem is just too chunky in certain fabrics. A bound hem is also fun to look at, so it’s a really simple way to add some flair.
1. Press up the hem on your garment and make sure that the seam allowance is even all the way around. In the image below, the pale side is the inside of the garment, and the bias is pinned on so you can see where it will end up eventually. Let’s take it step by step.
2. Open one folded edge of your bias binding to reveal the fold line. Prepare the start of your bias by folding in the short side about a centimetre and pressing the fold (see image below). Then start laying on your bias somewhere that’s not so obvious, like the side or the back.
3. Keep one edge of your bias open and pin in that little ditch by matching the edge of your binding to the raw edge of your seam allowance, like you can see below. The right side of your bias binding is lying on top of the right side of your fabric.
4. To start stitching your binding, start with the pressed over edge and start stitching in the fold line of your binding’s seam allowance. When you come to meet where you started, overlap by about 2 centimetres and finish your stitch. Your stitch line should look like one continuous line.
4. Press up your binding, so your bias binding covers the raw edge of your garment’s seam allowance. Top stitch by machine or hand stitch the bias binding in place. Done! This finish gives you a much flatter hem on skirts in heavy materials, and it can be a fun way to personalise a garment.
Trivia: when you’re biased in your opinion, you have a one-sided opinion. Instead of being objective, straight down the middle, you ‘go against the grain’. Just like the bias on your fabric.
Bias binding can make the inside of a garment look really beautiful in a really simple way. Once you have experimented, why not try making your own from some offcuts? There is even a little bias maker gadget you can run your bias strips of fabrics through so it comes out looking beautifully prepped and ready to sew.
We hope you learnt something new today and are feeling inspired to try a new finishing technique on your next project.