Auxiliary Reference Information | Sewing | Bindings

Bindings are a way to attach fabric to a raw edge to neaten it and finish it off and the Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Bindings, Facings, Linings Unit reviewed how to create a Binding strip, we will focus on the sewing aspect in this Unit.


Once you have your bias or straight strips prepared for your Bindings there are a number of ways in which you can attach it onto the fabric edge which give you a slightly different result. Here are some comparable options.

These two photos show 4 different methods for attaching the bindings depending on the final results you are looking for. The top photos show the anterior side and the bottom photos show the posterior sides of the same method.

The first two samples show Binding that you cannot see from the anterior side and the last two samples show binding that you can see from the both sides.

These samples were made from scrap fabric and out of contrasting fabric to make it easier to see where you can see the bindings. A straight binding is shown here which could be used on Seams, pockets or a garment Base. You would use the same application (with a bias binding) to attach a Binding around the curves of a Neckline or Armhole although with a bias binding you can stretch it very slightly when sewing which can help it curve around a Neckline or Armhole. It is recommended to test how much stretch you would need on a scrap piece of fabric as you want to end up with a flat Binding and garment and not create any puckering.

Before attaching you could also consider if you want to add a thin strip of iron on interfacing to the area above the Sewing Line into the Seam Allowance to support all of the stitching.

All bindings will use a ¼” garment Seam Allowance except Method 4 where the binding wraps over the edge of the garment on the sewing line, so this is the only application where you would remove any Seam Allowance from the main pattern piece.

Bound with no Visible Binding

This Binding can’t be seen from the anterior side of the garment the only thing that you can see is a stitching line on either method.

There are two ways to create this application, it can be done single or double thickness depending on your requirements for support and fabric thickness.

Method 1

This Binding is attached on the anterior side and turned and folded onto the posterior side and secured down. You only see a line of stitching on the anterior side. This is not the strongest way to do binding but gives you less bulk.

You would use a Single Fold binding for this application, where the edges are pressed in towards the middle but not necessarily all the way into the middle, usually the folded edges create a ¼” Seam Allowance but that is a personal preference.

To work out the width for the binding you will need the total visible width on the posterior side then add on ¼” for turn of the cloth and then add on two Seam Allowances. So ¾”+1/4”+ (2 x ¼”) = 1 ½”.

The binding is pinned anterior sides together with raw edges lined up.

The Binding is stitched in the fold.

Then folded and pressed to the posterior side so that it is out of site.

The pressing is done favouring the main fabric so that you can’t see the Binding fabric. Can you see the small amount of the garment fabric peaking at the garment edge?

The bottom of the binding is pinned into place.

Then this is stitched into place.

This is the anterior side.

A disadvantage of this method is if you make the width too wide or your binding is not very stretchy you can end up with puckering around the piece so consider using a Facing if the visible width required is much more than 3/4” in total. The Facing would be traced off the original pattern so would fit the shape more accurately than trying to stretch a binding around the shape.

Method 2a

This Binding offers a little more support than Method 1 but may be too bulky when working with thicker fabric as it is stitched on double thickness.

To work out the width of the Binding work out the Finished Visible Width x 2 add on some for turn of the cloth say ¼” and then add on 2 x Seam Allowances. For Example (3/8” x 2) + 1/4” + (2 x ¼) = 1 ½”.

The Binding is only pressed in half lengthwise with posterior sides together.

With the Binding positioned on the anterior side of the garment raw sides together it is pinned.

Then stitched along a ¼” Seam Allowance.

The Binding is pressed upwards.

Then you can Under Stitch the Seam Allowances to the Binding which will help everything sit in place better (so the Seam Allowances will need to be pressed up also).

The Binding is flipped over to the posterior side of the garment and pressed favouring the garment.

The bottom edge is pinned and edge stitched in place.

Bound with a Visible Binding that Wraps the Edge

A binding that you can see on the anterior side can have a big visual impact especially if using a contrasting fabric.

There are three Methods to creating this kind of binding.

Method 2b

Repeat Method 2a above but stitch the binding to the posterior side of the garment and fold it to the front to secure it down. This is not the neatest method and results in two lines of stitching that are visible from the anterior side.

Method 3

This method is an especially good one to use if you want to have a thinner binding visible from the anterior side it gives a really nice clean finish and is not too bulky.

On this application you would also remove any Seam Allowance from the main pattern piece as the binding is simply going to wrap around on the stitching line. If you would like to sew and trim off any Seam Allowances then you would have to allow some Seam Allowance on the sewing line of the main garment.

You would use a Double Fold Binding or you could use a Single Fold Binding for this method.

To decide how wide to make the Binding you will need to assess how much Binding you want to see on the both sides of the fabric as a total i.e. the visible width. The posterior side is usually a fraction wider than the anterior in order to catch it down, then add on two Seam Allowances and another 1/4” at least for turn of the cloth and space for the stitching line. So for example 3/4”+ 2 x ¼” + 1/4” = 1 ½”. If you use ¼” for Seam Allowances you are less likely to need to trim or clip into the Seam Allowances after sewing.

This kind of Binding is attached to the fabric Anterior sides together and long edges lined up. The length is pinned and stitched along the fold.

Here is a photo of the posterior side after stitching.

At this point if you prefer you could Under Stitch the seams to the Binding to ensure that there will be no rolling of the Binding to the anterior side.

If you did include a Seam Allowance on the sewing line then you can trim it down if you want less bulk, but trimming is not essential you just need to ensure that you have enough binding to wrap the Seam Allowance and so that when stitched that it will catch down on the posterior side. So you have to think carefully about whether you need a seam allowance on this application or not. Usually you would not need to.

To get a graded trimming cut with the scissors flat to the table, this lifts the back fabric up slightly and the top fabric is cut slightly shorter.

The Binding is pressed upwards.

Then the single layer is folded over the top of the raw edges of the Seam Allowances and folded over to the posterior side of the Seam Allowances and the bottom Binding Seam Allowance is then tucked under.

It is easier if you pin from the anterior side in the ditch to hold the posterior of the Binding in place. The stitching is done in the ditch from the anterior side.

Before sewing check that the pins are holding the fabric on the posterior side so that everything is going to get stitched down correctly.

After sewing do a final press. Here is the posterior side, check that all areas have been caught in the sewing and are secured.

Here is a front view, notice that every stitch is ‘in the ditch’ to reduce the stitch impact on the anterior side.

Method 4

In this application the Binding sticks up away from the garment as an extension of it so you must consider the edge position. For example if this was a Neckline the Neckline would be reduced by adding the extra fabric with the Binding so you may wish to reduce the Neckline on the pattern to accommodate this.

You may wish to interface this binding to give it a little extra support.

The Binding is folded in half posterior sides together and pinned to the garment anterior sides together and raw edges lined up.

The Binding is stitched with a ¼” Seam Allowance (or whatever you have allowed for).

The Binding is flipped upwards and pressed with the Seam Allowances down across the back of the garment and the garment is Edges Stitched to secure the Seam Allowances in place. Here is the anterior view.

Here is the posterior side.

So you can see that you would need to either use a fabric that does not fray in this application or find another way to finish the internal Seam Allowances here perhaps by using overlocking or a Facing or lining combination.

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