Bias binding is used to encase raw edges on garments, either on outside edges or inside seams. But have ever thought about creating your own?
While pre-prepared binding can be bought, making it yourself gives you more design options. It’s also a good solution if you’ve run out of main fabric and have none left to cut facings or turn up hems. Light to medium-weight fabrics work best, such as cotton lawn, cotton poplin, linen or satin. The binding can be a contrast or self-fabric.
Cutting bias strips
To make bias binding, you first need to cut strips of fabric on the bias (that is, at 45 degrees to the selvedge). Typically they are cut at about 2.5-3cm (1-1¼in) wide. If you’re using a tool to make bias binding (see below), a width will be specified. There are several ways to go about cutting strips.
If you need lots of binding
Cut a perfectly straight edge on the end of the fabric and square it up in the corner of the table. Fold up the corner of the fabric to the adjacent side, creating a triangle. Mark and cut the strips parallel to the fold. A rotary cutter, mat and transparent ruler can be used for this.
If you just need a few strips of the same fabric:
Work out how much you need and cut them in the layout at the same time as the garment. It’s less wasteful to cut them together and you should be able to fit the garment pieces around the strips.
How to cut binding from a square of fabric without wasting any!
- Cut a perfect square on the straight grain of the fabric – 30cm (12in) or bigger is ideal.
- Cut the square in half diagonally to give two triangles.
- Place the triangles’ right sides together as shown. Sew with a 6mm (¼in) seam, using a small stitch length eg 1.5. Note that the edges need to match at the seam lines (not the cut edges) – there’ll be a tiny triangle sticking out at each end.
- Press the seam open; you now have a parallelogram. Mark the strips parallel to the longest edge. Cut off any part-strips at the end.
- Fold the fabric into a tube, one strip offset, matching the marked strips. Sew with a 6mm (¼in) seam and a small stitch length. Press open.
- Cut along the marked lines.
|Join bias strips by matching the angled edges, and right sides together. Match the stitching line, not the cut edge, otherwise, the strip will be offset when it is joined.
|If the ends are square, lap them over and sew diagonally across, then trim and press open. When you apply the bias binding, ideally position the joins in an inconspicuous spot.
Making the binding
As with cutting the strips, there are several ways to make the binding:
With a tool
You need a different tool for each width binding, but 1.2cm (½In) and 2.5cm (1in) are the most common ones. Feed the strip through the tool and press it as it comes out on the other side.
Press folds directly with an iron instead of using a tool. Press the strip in half and then press the raw edges almost into the centre.
Using a pin or needle
Put a pin or needle in the ironing board, the finished width of the binding, and pull the folded strip through, pressing it with the iron as you go.
Make the binding as you apply it
Press up one edge of the strip with an iron as shown. Sew the other edge to the garment, right sides together. Bring the strip over to the wrong side and hand-sew the folded edge in place.
Your machine might have a binding attachment. The strip feeds through the cone shape and is folded as it’s being stitched on.
Author: Liz Haywood