Bias binding is a great way to finish off the collar and arm holes of light weight tops. I've even featured the technique in my latest design, the Basics Tank.
This technique might take a lot of practice to perfect but once you've mastered the skill of the perfect bias application, you can move through projects gracefully and extremely fast!
There are several binding techniques you can use, but today I am going to focus on non visible bias binding application. This technique is specific to Cali Faye Collection Basics Tank as well as the women's Gardenia Dress.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
12.5mm (1/2”) single fold, bias tape
A collar and arm hole to bound
Unfold one side of the bias and press open.
We’ll start with the arm holes. Align the bias tape end 1 cm (3/8”) past the side seam, matching the open edge of the bias to the raw edge of the arm hole. The right side of the bias will face the right side of the bodice. Place a pin at the side seam.
Fold the bias which extends past the side seam, over onto itself. The fold should fall on the side seam. I like to angle the raw end of the bias back into the arm hole and pin it in place. Later this will ensure that I have a clean edge when I finish up the binding.
Time to apply the stitch. Stitch with a 6 mm (1/4”) seam allowance to join the bias to the bodice . This stitch should run along the crease on the unfolded bias edge. Stitch around the circumference of the arm hole.
I want to encourage you to forgo pins with this step. You will save a ton of time and guiding the bias and edge under the pressor foot by hand may just help with the accuracy of the alignment of the bias to the arm hole edge.
When you reach the starting point again, overlap the end of the bias over the folded edge. The overlap should be no more than 2cm. Anymore than that and you will end up with a lot of bulk in the pit of the arm scye.
Trim the excess bias away.
Press the bias away from the bodice with the seam allowance laying towards the bias.
Apply an "under stitch" to the seam allowance to secure it to the bias. This stitch should run very close to the bodice/bias seam.
Tuck the end of the bias in the fold of the front edge of the bias.
Fold the bias to the inside of the bodice. Turn the bias in enough to ensure the bias/bodice seam does not roll to the right side of the garment.
Pin in place.
Personally, I prefer to start and stop all stitches at the front and back ends of the bias. These are the critical joints which will give you the most difficulty and are more manageable when they have the ability to be manipulated.
Top stitch the bias in place by applying a stitch along the bias edge around the circumference of the arm hole.
This application technique should also be used for necklines.
When working on a collar, I like to start and end my bias at the center of the back collar. This gives me a reference as to which side of the top is the front and which is the back if I've got similarly shaped front and back necklines.
Finally, give your bound edges a nice press!
Here are some things to keep in mind when working towards that perfect bias binding technique.
Needle size - If you are working with a lighter fabric you may want to consider the size of your needle. Make sure that you're working with one that that won't leave bullet holes in your fabric. If you're working with a knit, you will want to make sure you've got a ball point needle installed.
Go slow - Working the curve of collars and arm holes takes a great deal of finesse. If you go too fast the chances of getting off track increases and deviations from a clean path will be front and center.
Backstitching - Take extra care to ensure that your backstitches are in line. A backstitch glitch won't really make or break a garment, but when you keep it in line, you will feel so much more confident wearing your own pieces.
Pressing - I'm not sure if the importance of ironing ("pressing") is addressed as often as it should be, but a proper press can make or break the final product. I recommend using your iron, at appropriate heat settings for your fabric, with full stream. The heat and the steam will help the fibers of your thread and fabric seams rest into place, almost as if they are melting together (although, we don't want to "melt" our fabric).