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Hey, let's talk about one of the best edge finishing techniques ever... Bias Binding!!!  Who, what, when, where, why is binding you ask?!? Ok, so binding is a bias cut strip of fabric with pre-folded edges. The fact that it’s bias cut makes it ideal for finishing curved edges. 

 For our edge finishing purposes I'd recommend using 1/4" - 1/2" wide binding.


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You can buy single or double fold binding in many widths and colors. The difference between the two is the kind of finish you end up with. Single fold binding is not going to be visible on the outside of the garment, whereas double fold binding will be. So if you're going for a clean look, single fold might be your best bet. Double fold is great too and you can use it as a contrast detail by using a contrasting colour binding. 

You can also make your own binding by cutting a bias strip of fabric and folding it in the same way that a binding strip is folded. This is especially great for double fold binding if you intend to use a specific contract fabric.

If you're using one of my patterns, I provide bias strip pattern pieces for all finished edges, but you can use binding in place of these. The benefit of that is that it can save fabric.

Let's talk about single fold binding first. Here goes...
 

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Open the binding, and pin it along the edge to be finished. But wait!

You'll need to consider two things first:

1. "What is the seam allowance of the garment edge?  

2. "What is the folded seam allowance of the binding?"

You need to consider this because they may not have the same seam allowance. You may have a 1/2" seam allowance on the garment edge and 1/4" on the binding. Either way, just may sure when pinning the binding that the fold line falls on the seam allowance line along the garment edge.
 

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Sew along the folded line. Trim excess seam allowance to the width of the binding edge. 


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Press the seam allowance towards the binding.
 

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Make sure the press is neat from the right side of the garment. An extra press from this side may be necessary.
 

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Now, turn and the whole binding over to the wrong side of the fabric and press along the outer edge.
 

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Pin the binding in place
 

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Sew along the edge at approximately 1/8" seam allowance. 
 

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Isn't it heavenly?

 

Double Fold Binding:

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So double fold is similar, but different. First thing you need to know is that one edge extends just slightly past the other. This is so that the when it is sewn to the edge, the underside will without a doubt extend past the final stitch line in order to be easily secured with the final stitch. Hang tight, we'll get there. Just know that when you're starting out, the shorter folded side of the binding is the one that you pin to the garment first.
 

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Pin the binding along the fabric edge. Pay attention to the seam allowance variance as mentioned in the single fold binding.
 

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Sew along the folded line.  If necessary, trim excess seam allowance to the width of the binding edge. 


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Press the seam allowance towards the binding.
 

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Make sure the press is neat from the right side of the garment. An extra press from this side may be necessary.
 

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Fold one side of the binding over to the wrong side of the garment. Make sure that the stitch line is covered. Press if necessary. 
 

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Stitch in the ditch along the binding.

Place your needle in the crack between the garment fabric and the binding. Sew along this "ditch" so that your stitch will be concealed. By sewing in the ditch, you are going to secure the underside of the binding as it extends past this point. 
 

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Voila! Finishing curved edges are a mystery no more!

 

 

Comments (22)

  1. Gillian:
    Mar 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM

    Wow - Your bias finishing looks so much smoother than mine! Maybe I need to iron more carefully? Must. Practice!

    Reply

    1. Kristiann Boos:
      Mar 14, 2013 at 03:32 PM

      Ha, I remember you saying that you weren't a big fan of pressing. Set it up close to the machine, it makes a world of difference!

      Reply

  2. Melissa Orellana:
    Mar 15, 2013 at 05:46 PM

    Great tutorial! I will definitely be referencing in the future - thank you!

    Reply

  3. LoveTheWordFrock:
    Mar 16, 2013 at 08:27 PM

    Wow, I never realised that one edge extends past the other - it makes perfect sense.

    Reply

  4. Ai:
    Mar 17, 2013 at 05:03 PM

    Whew! you saved my life with this. Thank's for sharing this technique.

    Reply

  5. lyann:
    Mar 19, 2013 at 01:55 AM

    Such a great way to finish raw edges. I did this trick with my shift dress this weekend, but had trouble figuring out how to hide my ends of the bias tape? A fold over just looks messy. What do you suggest?

    Reply

    1. Kristiann Boos:
      Mar 19, 2013 at 02:06 AM

      Hi Lyann,
      Before you sew the binding to the garment, make sure you sew the tape ends together first: Measure the binding so that it is the same length as the area it will be sewn to. Include 3/8" seam allowance on either end of the tape. Unfold the binding and place the ends right sides together and sew at 3/8" seam allowance. This way the seam allowance will be hidden when you sew it to the garment. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  6. Jill Clark:
    Mar 20, 2013 at 07:24 PM

    wow, thanks for posting this, this is my favorite finish. I was always confused about the double fold but you made it so clear, I finally get it!!!! Thank you

    Reply

    1. Kristiann Boos:
      Mar 21, 2013 at 03:27 AM

      Oh that's so great to hear, Jill. I'm so glad it was useful to you!

      Reply

  7. aem2:
    Sep 01, 2013 at 07:25 PM

    Thank you so much for this! I just finished hemming a skirt using binding for the first time. Now I just have to work on sewing as neatly as yo do.

    Reply

  8. Tina:
    Sep 03, 2013 at 06:12 PM

    Hey there... the links to the photos for the double fold bias tape portion of this tutorial seem to be broken. They are not showing up?

    Reply

    1. Kristiann:
      Sep 03, 2013 at 06:37 PM

      Oh no! I've fixed the post and the images are back up. Thanks for letting me know, Tina!

      Reply

  9. Leah:
    Dec 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Hello,
    Thanks for this great tutorial! But the images seem to not be showing up again.

    Reply

  10. Kristiann Boos:
    Dec 16, 2013 at 03:43 AM

    Hi Leah,
    Oh no, not again! I've fixed it of good this time. Enjoy!

    Reply

  11. Rebekah:
    Jan 27, 2014 at 01:20 PM

    Thanks so much for this fantastic tutorial! All I can find here in the UK is single fold tape, and it's taken me ages to find a tutorial that explains how to apply it properly - finally feel comfortable applying it, so thanks a million! rx

    Reply

  12. Jude Gagner:
    Aug 14, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    I can't figure out how to finish the vertical edges of a man's shirt that buttons up that I've upcycled to a sleeveless tank top for me. I will need to button and unbotton the shirt. I've got the binding finished around the neckline of the shirt but don't know how to finish the two vertical edges so that they're not bulky. Can you help me? Thanks.

    Reply

    1. Kristiann Boos:
      Aug 14, 2014 at 01:31 AM

      Hi Jude,
      I'll try to help you out with this but I just want to make sure I understand exactly what you mean as I'm interpreting this in a few different ways at the moment. Is it possible for you to drop my a line through my contact form. I'll reply to you there and request that you send a quick photo of the garment area in question. Chat soon!

      Reply

  13. Jude Gagner:
    Aug 14, 2014 at 04:30 PM

    I have taken several photos to fully explain what I want to finish nicely. Please let me know how to send this info to you. Thanks.

    Reply

    1. Kristiann Boos:
      Aug 14, 2014 at 05:09 PM

      Great Jude!
      I don't put my email in comments due to spam, but if you use the contact form found through "contact" at the top right of the site here, send me a quick message so I can start an email communication with you. You won't be able to add the photos in the contact form, but I'll write you back and you can attach them once I respond to you there.

      Reply

  14. Lyric:
    Nov 23, 2014 at 02:34 AM

    Finally! A breathe of relief. I stumbled upon a heapa bunch of bias tape and THOUGHT I knew how to apply them (especially the double).

    Thank you for this wealth of information.

    Cheers,

    Lyric

    Reply

  15. Nedoux:
    Jun 22, 2015 at 04:06 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    The details are very clear and your work is very neat.

    I am so inspired to improve my sewing :-)

    Reply

  16. Alexandra Brancato-Merritt:
    Oct 19, 2015 at 09:04 AM

    Thanks for the tutorial. I now know the difference between single & double fold & how to apply them. But I have a few quick questions; would you use the same techniques shown in your tutorial if it was fusible single & double fold bias binding? Also do you have to always use binding created on the bias or can you just use straight single or double fold cut binding for things like straight edges of a quilt?
    Thanks

    Reply


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