Come rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo e doppio

How to finish edges with bias binding

Knowing how to finish edges with bias binding is definitely one of the most useful techniques, especially when it comes to dressmaking. If you want to go for a professional and clean look then this technique is definitely for you.
In this step-by-step tutorial I’ll show you how to finish edges with bias binding both using a single-fold and a double-fold bias.

But what’s bias binding?

Bias binding or bias trim is made out of a stripe of fabric cut on the bias, i.e. at a 45-degree angle w.r.t. the selvage edge. This is the direction where fabrics are the most elastic (you can find here a few basic info on fabrics). Thanks to its elasticity bias binding is perfect to finish edges, especially curved ones.
It’s often used in dressmaking  to finish neckline and armholes or even in other sewing projects as a decoration.

Single- or double-fold bias?

There are two types of bias binding: the one with the single fold and the double-fold one which remains visible on both sides of your project. Each of them requires a slightly different approach for sewing, let’s see together what the steps are. Ready to get started?

How to finish edges with bias binding

A while ago in this post I showed how to make DIY bias trim out of your favourite fabrics. This was a much quicker technique than the standard cutting bias stripes + stitching them together. It’s called continuous bias and allows you to make 5+ yards of bias trim out of a 20″ x 20″ square of fabric. Pretty amazing, uh?!

With this technique you can both make single- or double-fold bias binding but you can also decide to buy pre-made ones at the haberdashery shop. The technique I’m showing you today can be used with any kind of bias trim, both pre-made or DIY.

Sewing the single-fold bias binding means applying it on one side of fabric and then turning it to the other side and holding it in place with a line of topstitching. In this case it’s going to be visible only on one side of the project whereas on the other side just the topstitching will show. This technique is often used on necklines where we don’t want the bias binding to show on the right side of the garment.

On the other hand, the double-fold bias binding shows on both sides of an edge. Again, it gets sewn on one side, folded to the other and topstitched but the technique a bit trickier so if you’re a beginner I suggest you get started with the single-fold before moving on to the double one. The double-fold bias binding is often used on armholes or as a decorative finish on many different projects.

Well, it’s time to get to work with our tutorial and see how to finish edges with bias binding. I’ll show you the example of finishing a neckline but you can apply this technique to any other project.

Come rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo e doppio

How to finish a neckline with a single-fold bias binding

1

The first step to finish a neckline is sewing the shoulder seam. Put front and back bodice right sides together at the shoulders and stitch with the seam allowance included in your project. Finish the seams with your favourite technique and press them towards the back.

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo - Cucitura delle spalle
2

It’s time to bring the bias trim in. We’re going to sew it from the right side of fabric and then turn it to the wrong side. This way it will be visible only on the inside of the garment. We’ll begin sewing about 3-4 cm (1″ 1/8 – 1″ 3/8) from the shoulder seam on the front and we’ll stop at the same distance from the shoulder on the back. Mark these two starting and ending points of the seam with pins as a reference for next steps.

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo - Inizio e fine cucitura
3

Place the bias trim on the right side of the bodice aligning its raw edge to the neckline seam allowance. Leave 5-6 cm (2″-2″3/8) of bias trim towards the back and hold it in place with the pin showing the beginning of the seam. Beginning and ending the seam 3-4 cm (1″ 1/8 – 1″ 3/8) away from the shoulder seam allows us to sew the two ends of the bias trim more easily afterwards. For the bias we add another 2 cm (3/4″) to this distance as seam allowance (that’s how we obtain 2″- 2″3/8). It might all seem a little confusing right now but hang on in there and let’s proceed to next step, it’ll all become clear at the end!

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo - Fissa lo sbieco allo scollo
4

Stitch the bias trim to the neckline using the included seam allowance. Begin from the first pin and stop at the second one backstitching at beginning and end. As you proceed keep aligning the bias trim to the neckline curve. Work small portions at a time and take advantage of the elasticity of the bias trim to align it to the neckline.

5

Now we have to stitch the two bias trim ends together. Walk each of them along the remaining unfinished neckline and use a pin to mark where they meet the shoulder seam. This is where they are going to be stitched together. Put the two ends right sides together aligning the pins. Hold in place with a single pin before stitching.

6

Stitch the two ends together where the pin is. Trim the seam allowance to a few millimetres (1/8″) and open the seams. Fold the bias back in half and stitch the remaining portion to the neckline backstitching at beginning and end. Trim the seam allowances at about 0.5 cm (1/4″).

7

Press the bias towards the centre of the neckline and away from the bodice. Working from the wrong side of the bodice, fold the bias trim to the inside. Press rolling the seam line by a few millimetres (1/16″) in so that it won’t be visible on the outside of the garment.

8

It’s time to topstitch the bias trim to the bodice. This is going to be an edge stitching, i.e. we’re going to sew just 1.5 mm (1/16″) away from the edge of the bias binding. As you have no guide available on the sewing machine, for this step you can use a pressing foot with a guide, such as the blind hem foot*. This pressing foot has a metal guide that allows you to perfectly align your stitching to the edge. In this case you have to move the needle to the right or left (based on the kind of pressing foot you’re using) to align it to the desired seam line. We now have completed our single-fold bias binding, let’s see how to sew the double-fold instead.

*If you don’t have this kind of pressing foot or your sewing machine does not support other needle positions than centre and left, you can do this step slowly using a standard zig-zag foot. Alternatively, there’s another version of this foot with an adjustable guide so that you won’t have to move the needle and you’ll adjust the guide instead. Ask your local supplier for the best foot with guide available for your sewing machine. You’ll find it Oh so useful!

How to finish a neckline with a double-fold bias binding

1

As we did for the single-fold bias, we’re going to start from the shoulder seam. Put front and back bodice right sides together at the shoulders and stitch with the seam allowance included in your project. Finish the seams and press them towards the back.

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo - Cucitura delle spalle
2

Staystitch along the neckline using the seam allowance included in your project (in my case that is 1 cm – 3/8″). Use the standard settings for stitch length and tension in your sewing machine. I’ve used a contrasting thread in order to be more visible in the pictures, you can use a matching thread.

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco singolo - Fai una cucitura guida
3

Place the bias trim on the right side of the bodice as done for the single-fold bias (see step 2 of previous tutorial). Mark beginning and end of the stitching line with two pins at 3-4 cm (1″ 1/8 – 1″ 3/8) from the shoulder both on front and back. Leave enough of the bias trim to be able to stitch the two ends together (5-6 cm / 2″ – 2″ 3/8). Pin the bias down at the beginning of the seam, open its seam allowance and align it to the staystitch.

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco doppio - Posiziona lo sbieco sullo scollo
4

Stitch the bias trim to the bodice starting from the first pin, going along the front neckline, and reaching the second pin on the back neckline. You have to stitch exactly at the fold. Take your time and work in small portions taking advantage of the elasticity of the bias trim to align it to the curve making sure the right edge of the bias is always aligned to the staystitch. Backstitch both at the beginning and at the end of the seam.

5

Now we have to stitch the two bias trim ends together. Walk each of them along the remaining unfinished neckline and use a pin to mark where they meet the shoulder seam. This is where they are going to be stitched together. Put the two ends right sides together aligning the pins. Hold in place with a single pin before stitching.

6

Sew the two ends together where the pin is. Trim the seam allowance to a few millimetres (1/8″) and open the seams. Stitch the remaining portion of the bias to the neckline backstitching at beginning and end. Trim the seam allowances down to 0.5 cm (1/4″).

7

From the right side of the bodice press the bias trim towards the inside of the neckline and away from the bodice itself. Only use the point of your iron to press the seam but not the folds on the bias trim. Turn the bias towards the inside and press again.

8

We’ll topstitch the bias trim to the bodice with an edge stitching. For this step we’ll use again the blind hem foot we talked about at step 8 of the previous tutorial. This time we stitch from the right side of the bodice aligning the foot guide to the edge of the bias trim where it meets the bodice. This is the most tricky bit as you have to make sure you’re always catching the bias trim underneath. To make it easier you can hand-baste the bias to the neckline before the final stitching. If you’re using a stable fabric such as cotton you should be fine, but you’ll see that as you move to more unstable fabrics (e.g. silk) using pins or hand-basting might become key to the success of your project.

Done! Ready to experiment?

You’ve sewn your first bias binding, yay! Now you can enjoy customising your projects with a tailored touch.

If you feel like trying these techniques right away, I suggest you take a look at the Chantilly Blouse. That’s a minimal and versatile top for which you find the sewing pattern and step-by-step instructions to sew it on my online shop. The original version has a neckline facing but I do love how great the top looks with a bias binding. Give it a try!

Rifinire col nastro in sbieco - la blusa Chantilly

I hope you found this tutorial useful. What’s your favourite finishing technique? Single-fold or double-fold bias binding? What’s your next project where you’d like to use it? Leave your comment below!

Ciao!
Simona

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