Our Campy PJ Party is almost here, and I hope you have your eye on the prize (a Camp Workroom Social merit badge and the chance to win an amazing new machine from SINGER®!).
To help you make it to the finish line, today I’ve got a tutorial to help you finish the neckline, armholes, and hemline on your handmade pajamas. Let’s learn how to make and how to sew bias bindings!
I love using bias binding to finish raw edges. It’s a great way to add color and definition to even the simplest garments. Bonus: making your own binding is a great way to use up all the scraps that start to pile up after a few projects!
Like all things sewing-related, there’s more than one way to both make and sew a great bias binding. My favorite method is not finicky (after all, stitching up a pair of PJs should be fun and fast!). It also lets you use whatever fabric you have on hand, which means less hassle color-matching store-bought bias.
One quick note before we get started. This tutorial is to cover the raw edges of your fabric, which is slightly different than making a bias facing. If you are going to use this method to create a binding on a neckline or armhole, on your pattern piece you will need to trim a 5/8″ seam allowance down to 1/8″ to 0″ seam allowance — meaning you will need to remove 1/2″ to 5/8″ of the seam allowance. If you don’t, your finished edge will be at the cut edge, not at the seaplane — meaning your finished edge will be 5/8″ wider than your pattern intends.
What you need to make and sew bias binding
- A project that needs some finishing.
- Contrast or matching fabric remnant.
- Cutting mat and rotary cutter.
- Sewing machine.
- And a handful of pins can be helpful.
Table of Contents
#1. Cut bias strips
#2. Piece bias strips together
#3. Sew bias binding to edge on wrong side of your garment
#4. Understitch bias binding
#5. Trim seam allowance
#6. Fold and turn bias binding over raw edge
#7. Topstitch binding from the right side of your garment
To create a bias strip that will finish with a 1/2″ (1.3cm) wide binding, start with 2” (5cm) wide bias strips (as you practice sewing bias bindings, you’ll figure out how to change the dimensions of your binding for different effects). Use a quilter’s ruler and a rotary cutter/cutting mat, to cut strips of your chosen fabric along the bias grain. True bias grain is at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge edge, but if you are slightly off, that’s ok. I generally eyeball the diagonal. If you are using a marked cutting mat, it will likely have three angles marked on it — 30, 45, and 60. You can use these markings to help you find the bias grain.
You may need to piece together a number of bias strips to get the length you need for your binding. To piece, first align the diagonal ends, lapping as pictured. Then stitch in a 1/4″ (6mm) seam. You want to sew from edge to edge across the diagonal so when you open the seam, your binding will make a continuous straight line across the raw edges of the 2 strips. (I hope that makes sense!)
I like to sew all my strips together to make one really long piece, then I roll it up. When I’m ready to use the strips for binding, I use what I need off the roll and save the extra for a future project.
Press the seams open, and trim the seam allowances from the raw edges so your binding is even and straight.
Hold or pin the raw edge of your bias binding to the wrong side of the area you are finishing, aligning raw edges. Starting at the beginning of your binding, turn the binding in 1/2″ (1.3 cm) or so. Pin your bias binding in place if you like, or head straight to the machine and match up the raw edges as you sew!
Sew all the way around, 1/2″ (1.3 cm) from the raw edge, lapping the remaining end of your bias binding over the turned-in end. If you are finishing a curved edge, gently stretch the bias binding as you sew to match the raw edge around the curve. Trim any excess bias binding off after you complete the overlap.
To understitch your bias binding, turn the bias binding over the seam allowances and stitch close to the seam through all layers, as pictured. I don’t usually press at this stage, though you can press before you understitch. Instead of pressing, I will gently pull the binding away from the seam as I sew. This helps make the binding super flat.
Carefully trim seam allowance to an even 3/8″ (1cm). If you are sewing something very curvy, you can also clip into the curves to release the fabric.
Turn under 3/8″ (1cm) on the raw edge of the bias binding and press. Then turn the bias binding over the seam, making sure the pressed edge covers the line of stitching.
From the right side of the garment, topstitch close to the pressed edge of the bias binding to secure it.
Now do your happy dance, because you’re done!
If you’re looking for more help with bias strips or bias binding, check out my video tutorial on bias tape and bound seams.
Don’t forgot to enter your lovely new bias-bound PJs in the Camp Workroom Social PJ Party on October 1. To enter our great SINGER® sewing machine giveaway and to earn your PJ sewing merit badge, post a picture of your you-made PJs and tag your post with @workroomsocial, #camppjparty, #sewwithSINGER, and #campworkroomsocial. To complete your entry, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Camp PJ Party” and include a link to your Instagram post, your full name, mailing address, phone number, and email address.
Official rules at http://campworkroomsocial.com/contest/.