Binding with bias tape
There are no end to sewing projects where some lengths of bias binding tape could be of use. The binding tape can beautifully embellish the edges of your sewing fabrics in many ways.
I use it to bind the edges of pockets, bags , skirt and shirt hems, slits of blouses – mostly in a contrasting or complimentary colours so that they stand out.
Binding of armholes and necklines are the best uses of these versatile tapes for me. It is very easy to finish the necklines and armholes with a bias tape.
How to do simple bias binding -2 ways
- Fully turned inside
- Visible binding
As is mentioned in the post on making bias tape there are 3 types of bias tape you could use for binding- single bias tape which has a single fold down its middle, single fold bias tape with the edges turned to the inside and double fold bias tape with the edges turned in and then folded down the middle, a combination of the other two.
Method 1. Binding with bias tape – fully turned inside.
The binding is fully turned to the back of the fabric in this binding method. For this we can use a single bias tape which is 1.5 inch wide ( total width). This is a bias strip with just a single fold down the center.Binding with this tape will give you a top stitching line 1/2 inch from the edge.
The edges of the bias tape are held together and pinned to the fabric edge ( where you want the binding on) right sides together. You place the bias tape edges together on the right sides of the fabric. Pin it there.
Stitch along the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Press the bias strip folded edge to the wrong side of the fabric. Under stitch the bias strip and the seam allowance together along the seam line. This understitching is done to make sure that the bias strip will roll fully to the inside without showing in the front. You can skip this step if you are sure that you can make it turn inside neatly.
Now either top stitch from the fabric together with the bias tape with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, making sure that you are catching the binding in the back. Or you can use any of the hand hemming stitches to keep the binding in place from the wrong side of the fabric.
This binding can be done with the single fold bias tape as well, with the bias tape stitched to the fabric edge opened on the fabric and then turned fully to the back.This is especially useful where you do not want much bulk in the seams . Checkout the way it is used in binding the neckline of the princess cut blouse which is made in a thick sequence cloth.
Method 2. Binding with bias tape – visible outside
This binding is done with the regular double fold bias tape. Decide on width of the binding you need.
If you are making your own bias tape, make sure that the double folded bias tape is not folded exactly in the center. One side should be smaller ( a little bit only) than the other side. This makes sure that when the binding is turned to the other side and topstitched, the edge of bias tape on the back will be caught. The store bought bias tape is always made like that but when you make it yourself, ensure that you press the bias tape a little off center first and then fold in the edges inside.
Keep the bias tape opened, the smaller folded edge on top of the fabric edge ( on the right side of the fabric). Stitch them together along the first fold line of the bias tape.
Turn the bias tape to the other side of the fabric. Pin in place.
Top stitch from the right side. Because the turned edge of the bias tape is a little bit bigger when you top stitch along the edge of the bias tape on the right side of the fabric, the back edge will be caught in the stitching line. You an also sew this edge with a slip stitch.
How to get a mitered corner when binding with bias tape
Step 1 Keep the bias tape (The smaller side of the bias tape)on top of the fabric along the edge, both right sides together. Start stitching on the first fold mark ( as you have done earlier for the visible binding)
As you reach the corner, stop stitching 1/4 inch before you reach the corner ( or the seam allowance you are using) .Back stitch to anchor the thread
Take the fabric from under the needle
Step 2 Fold the bias tape up
Step 3 Flip the bias tape down making a fold in the corner.Pin in place if you want
Step 4 Start stitching 1/4 inch from the corner to the next side
Step 5 Turn the binding tape to the back. A diagonal mitered corner is automatically created on the face of the fabric. On the back side fold ( manipulate) the corner so that it looks the same as the front. Pin in place. Stitch from the top.
How to finish the binding
There are two ways to finish the bias binding
Start the binding with a fold upwards as in the picture.Then when you come around to the same position, continue stitching some 3 inches past where you started, overlapping the bias tape edge at the start. Back stitch to anchor the stitches.
This second method can be used beautifully on armholes and necklines for which the sides are already stitched.
Start stitching some 2 inches past the starting point of the bias tape and finish stitching 2 inches before the end.
Fold the end edges inside which are extra. Mark the meeting point with a pencil.Open the bias tape. Pin the tape together joining the two spots you have made ( the points touching).
Stitch diagonally or vertically, holding the tape together. Cut off the rest of the tape.
If you join diagonally, you will have a diagonally joined bias tape. This is my favorite method as bulk is avoided in the seams with the diagonal joining. Vertical joint works very well too but is slightly bulky because of the full straight seam
Make a mitered corner with bias binding – easy way
Step 1 Take a double folded bias tape. Insert the edge of your fabric inside the fold of your tape. Start stitching the bias tape from the top.
Step 2 When you reach the corner, turn the bias tape to that new edge
Step 3 With your fingers fold the corner of the tape so that a mitered corner is formed.
Step 3 Pin in place ; stitch the bias tape in place, maintaining the bias corner. You can sew over the mitered corner as well. Check out the post on the mitered corner for other methods for making mitered corners
Check out this post on sewing a v-neck with the bias tape.
- Free dressmaking patterns (DIY)
- Sewing Guide with tips and techniques
- Sewing Machine Guide
- Fabric embellishing