Or should I say there – over on Craftsy. I’ve just listed the SK01 – Womens panel skirt on Craftsy as a freebie so if you were one of the wonderful people who joined our sew-along last month, I’d love it if you could pop over and leave a review. And if you feel so inclined you can also upload your own skirt to the projects section so everyone can see how clever you are.
At some point in your sewing journey you’re going to want to know how to bind a curve – be it a neckline, armhole, quilt edge or even a seam. Curves can either be concave (like a neckline or armhole) or convex (like a corner or round item) Binding a curve differs from binding a straight edge in that the binding itself needs to be cut on the bias to flex enough to sit flat once finished. If you try to bind a curve with a binding cut on the straight of the grain it will not sit flat and you’ll hate it so much you’ll vow never to try binding again.
Here’s how to do it for a great result every time. Start by finding the true bias of your fabric.
Determine how wide your binding needs to be – keeping in mind that once you cut it the weave will cause the binding to become more narrow than you intended. Some fabrics will be worse than others for this – fabrics with a lot of movement in the weave such as chiffon, rayon or with a lot of drape will need to be cut wider to compensate. The black and white fabric below shows how much a bias strip will stretch once cut.
It’s a good idea to trial a short length of bias to make sure its not too wide or narrow for your item. You can use the table below as a guide.
Bias Binding Cutting Guide
How wide to cut your bias strips to achieve a certain binding finish.
Finished width of binding
- little movement on bias
- lots of stretch on bias
- when you have many layers creating a thick edge
Join your binding, if needed, on the straight of the grain to distribute the bulk and to create a stronger seam.
Binding a rounded corner (below) – pin the bias strip along the edge of your work with NO stretching. The main thing to remember here is to ease the binding onto the edge of the garment – this gives the binding room to stretch over the outer edge.
Binding a concave curve (below) – slightly stretch the bias strip onto the edge of your curve. This will help the curve hold its shape and stop it from stretching and distorting.
There are a few ways you can finish your binding.
Hand stitching – best for when the binding is sewn on the front and turned to the back of the item. Will give a clean finish with no visible stitching.
Top stitched (below) – best for items that will be washed a lot as it’s the strongest finish. Sew the bias strip to the back of the item and fold to the front twice to top stitch.
Stitching in the ditch (below) – no visible stitching on the front, while being a strong finish for washing.
Once you’re done a good pressing will get rid of any wrinkles and you’ll be left with beautiful flat binding.
Pop back next week and I’ll show you how I mitre the corners and join ends to create an invisible finish.
Sewing to sell your creations at markets or online is tough and you need something to set yourself apart from the rest – especially from store bought clothing. Basically you should be aiming to be better than store bought. Consumers want to know why they should pay more than what they do at a department store – why is handmade better than mass produced?
To be cost effective, mass produced clothing has to be constructed in the shortest time possible. This often means certain steps are skipped, which can mean a less than perfect garment.
Here are a few of the common flaws seen in store bought clothing and ways for you to improve on that and make handmade the best it can be.
An obvious thing like loose threads is something everyone has encountered in a store bought garment and is the first way you can improve. Get into the habit of going over your finished garments to clip all those threads.
Correct grain – take the time to ensure you’re cutting on the correct grain or you will run the risk of your finished garment warping – either as you finish or worse, after the customer has washed it. Pre-washing your fabric is good for removing the dressing from manufacturing, but make sure you hang it on the clothes line straight or you could be creating another warp.
Pocket facings are used when manufacturers want to save cost on the main fabric, but sometimes they skimp too much and the pocket lining peeks out. If you want to do better – make sure your facings are deeper.
Narrow hems are fine in the right application, but take care not to let them twist and ripple when ironing. If you keep a mini ruler at your sewing machine you can watch that your turning up stays parallel to the edge. For sheer and light weight fabrics, consider folding the edge twice and eliminating the overlocking all together.
Matching stripes can be frustrating but is well worth the effort. The side seams of a top or dress will look so much better if the stripes line up. And don’t forget repeating patterns form stripes too.
Check the direction of the print too. For example, if a fabric has a row of boats finishing just above the hem on a pair of shorts, it’s going to look odd if the other leg doesn’t match. The superman logo on these shorts has been centered in the width of the panel and sits at the same spot on the hems.
If you’re using a cover stitch in your sewing, practice getting the stitch to cover the raw edge exactly. Store bought t-shirts are a common place for this flaw.
If you really want to get fussy with your sewing you could look at how you finish your belt loops. Sometimes you’ll see belt loops that have frayed after washing because the ends have been left raw. While it’s not convenient to overlock them, you can try turning them under a second time to conceal the raw edge. Or even try enclosing them within the waistband at the top edge and where the band joins the shorts.
Have a think about any pet peeves you have about store bought clothing – surely if you notice something your customers will too. Taking the time to do some quality control once your items are finished could make all the difference to your work and will go a long way towards lifting the standards of what consumers expect and deserve.
This article first appeared in Issue 5 of One Thimble magazine and can be purchased here (affiliate link)