Bias Edge Finishing Techniques

Learning several techniques (different from what you'll find in 'normal' garment construction directions) can make sewing more creative - and, I think, more FUN! What I share here are techniques I've worked out that are useful at neckline, armholes, center front and even hemline edges.


CONSIDERATIONS

  1. Weight of 'binding' fabric. The heavier the fabric of either the binding AND/OR the garment fabric, the more likely that a single layer BIAS binding is preferable so that un-needed bulk is not created. I generally cal this a 'Wrapped Edge' as I developed for finishing edges on my sweatshirt jackets since bulk was obviously already present in the weight of the sweatshirt edge. Therefore for simple reference, I will define a single layer bias 'binding' in this tutorial as a 'Wrapped Edge'.

When bulk is NOT an issue, a bias binding that starts as a doubled layer presents one with a simple, already-finished edge to secure to the garment - either on the inside OR the outside of the garment. For reference, this edge will be defined as a 'French Binding.'


2. Stitching visibility: Which do you desire:

* To SEE stitching on the outside of the garment - in which case I think it is best to stitch the RIGHT side of the binding to the WRONG side of the garment

OR

* To NOT SEE stitching on the outside of the garment - accomplishing the 'finish' with hand-stitching the folded edge on the inside of the garment. In this case, you stitch the RIGHT side of the bias binding to the RIGHT side of the garment.


REGARDLESS - the original garment CUT edge is the FINISHED size of the garment. The first 'seam allowance' is the width of the visible 'binding'.


Find below a summary with photos of finishing techniques from which to select according to the above considerations. Excuse my 'well-loved' cutting mat in the photos.


SINGLE LAYER BIAS WRAPPED EDGES


Wrapped - to the outside, raw edge showing:

With a single layer bias strip, stitch right side of bias to WRONG side of the garment. Press the bias out, away from the garment. Then press it tightly around the edge to the front. Stitch in the ditch from the inside or stitch where you desire on the outside. On my sweatshirt jackets, I was often then embellishing with 'Fabric Fur' - layers of bias and/or couched yarn (couched yarn as seen on the sample). The raw, unfinished bias edge will 'fur' up which is part of the 'raw' look. You either accept/like that look, or you don't. See the pictures below.


Wrapped - to the outside, turned under edge-stitched by machine or by hand:

With a single layer bias strip, stitch right side of bias to WRONG side of the garment. Press the bias out, away from the garment. Then press it tightly around the edge to the front. Press under the raw edge. Press, forming the bias to the right shape. Stitch close to the edge, either by machine or by hand with a slipstitch. See the pictures below.


With a single layer bias strip, stitch right side of bias to WRONG side of the garment. Press the bias out, away from the garment. Then press it tightly around the edge to the front. Press under the raw edge. Press, forming the bias to the right shape. Stitch close to the edge, either by machine or by hand with a slipstitch.




Wrapped - to the inside turned under edge - generally stitched by hand so as to not 'show' on the outside. With a single layer bias strip, stitch right side of bias to RIGHT side of the garment. Press the bias out, away from the garment. Then press it tightly around the edge to the back. Press under the raw edge. Press, forming the bias to the right shape. Stitch close to the edge, by hand with a slipstitch. Alternately, to 'stitch in the ditch' by machine - I recommend turning under the inside raw edge carefully and evenly, basting by hand. Aim to turn this edge under just about a healthy 1/8" wider than the stitched line on the INSIDE, so when you stitch in the ditch from the right side it will 'catch' the turned under and basted edge. My experience is that by the time you do all of this that you are ahead to just hand slip stitch it in the first place. It is impossible to get machine stitching equidistant from the turned under edge - in my experience.

View of this technique from the OUTSIDE. See the pictures below.

View of this technique from the INSIDE.



Wrapped - to the inside, raw edge showing - stitched in ditch from the outside.

With a single layer bias strip, stitch right side of bias to RIGHT side of the garment. Press the bias out, away from the garment. Then press it tightly around the edge to the back. Press, forming the bias to the right shape. From the outside, stitch in the ditch. The inside edge will be raw, but since it is on the bias, it will not actually ravel. If you're cool with raw edges, this is a great way to go. You may trim - evenly and fairly closely. BTW - when stitching in the ditch, I often elect to use monofilament thread in the needle to make the stitching completely invisible. Find my favorite threads HERE. See the pictures below.


Hand Stitching - I use the Slip Stitch. Below, find my video explaining how I do this stitch.



I made a video on my 'Wrapped Edges - here it is.




FRENCH - or DOUBLED BIAS BINDINGS

As mentioned in the beginning, while a doubled bias binding is good - only utilize when your project is not of a 'lofty' or thick nature. I kinda joke and say, " Remember, this is a garment, not a quilt." If you make quilts, this is the exact type of 'quilt' binding that you use around the outermost edges. Cut French Bindings 6 times the width that you want the final 'width' of the binding to be.


French - to the inside, hand-stitched to finish. Press bias binding wrong sides together. Pin to outside, raw edges matching. Stitch 1/3 of the width of the halved bias. Press binding out, away from the garment. Then, press it tightly around the edge to the back, steaming to shape.

Hand stitch to secure. Again - I use the Slipstitch as I show in the video above. See pictures of this binding technique below.


French - to the outside, machine-stitched (but you could hand-stitch if you prefer.) Press bias binding wrong sides together. Pin to the INSIDE, raw edges matching. Stitch 1/3 of the width of the halved bias. Press binding out, away from the garment. Then, press it tightly around the edge to the FRONT, steaming to shape. Machine stitch nice and close to the folded edge from the outside.


I know this is all pretty technical, but if you cut some sample pieces like I did to photo for this post, and work each, following my sewing steps, it will all make sense. Save them, along with a print-out of this blog post, and you'll be 'armed' to finish off any edge without any headaches!


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