Tag Archives: bias binding

how to bind curves Stitching Rules

How to Bind a Curve

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.finding true bias

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.bias stretch

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 bindingSturdy fabric
- little movement on bias
Fluid fabric
- lots of stretch on bias
Bulky edges
- 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.joining bias

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.rounded corner

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.joining to front

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. finishing a rounded corner

Stitching in the ditch (below) – no visible stitching on the front, while being a strong finish for washing.stitch in the ditch

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.