Tutorial: Baby Gown- Gather Neck Edge to Bias Binding

This tutorial was created for the 1930’s Baby Layette Pattern

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For the baby gown for this pattern, the neck edge is gathered in to a bias binding.  This means the neck is cut wider than one that was cut to fit the neck, and the gathers are eased to fit a neck band (cut on the bias) starting at the tucks and going around the back neck.

You should have already done your tucks, your plackets, and sewn your shoulder seams with French seams before beginning this step.

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First run gathering stitches.  Your seam allowance given for the neck edge is 1/2″, so I ran the gathering stitch just under 1/2″ in.  It is easier to control if you run two rows of gathering stitches.

Now, measure the neck edge about 1/2″ in.  The instructions tell us the FINISHED neck edge should be 10 1/4″.  Since you have an overlap and underlap, make sure you’re measuring with the placket pinned CLOSED, otherwise you will make the neckline too big.  Take note of the difference of the neck size now, and then compare it to the finished neck size.  The excess will need to be gathered in.

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Pull up the gathers and measure again.  Here I’m using a clear ruler just to visualize.  It will be easier with a tape measure.  After you’ve reached 10 1/4″, I suggest tying a knot in the thread at the gathering threads so it doesn’t grow or shrink on you.

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The instructions now say “To bind neck edge, stitch 1 1/4” bias strip to neck edge on outside, easing it on at curve and turning in ends. Cut seam to 1/4” width, clip.”

First, cut a 1 1/4″ bias strip from self fabric, using your scraps.  The bias strip will need to be 10 1/4″ (finished measurement of neck) PLUS enough to go over the underlap, PLUS enough to turn under to encase the raw edges at the beginning and end of the neck band.  Measure the total neck edge (with the placket unpinned) and add at least 1/4″ to either end to allow for turning under.

After the bias strip is cut to the correct size, pin to the neck edge of the garment, easing in the fullness.  I started the gathers from the end of the front tucks, passed the shoulder, across the back, and to the other tucks on the other side, focusing most of the gathers on the back neck edge.

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It was helpful for me to mark center back neck on the gown and center back neck on the bias to bind the neck edge.

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After you’ve got an idea of where it should be pinned, check your work by folding it from center back, making sure the shoulder seams are spaced about equal distance apart on the bias binding.  If you find one is further away, unpin, reposition your gathers, and check again.  Move those gathers around as needed to get a nice, even finish and make sure everything is positioned correctly.  DO NOT STRETCH YOUR BIAS.  Stretching will result in a neck that measures too big, and you won’t have enough bias to turn under the neck edge since it will make it narrower in width.

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After it’s all pinned as you want it, use 1/2″ seam allowance and stitch the band to position on the neck.  Remember, right sides together!!

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Clip your seam allowance down to 1/4″.  You can mark it using a clear ruler and a method of marking that will be clipped off or come out in the wash if you’re not comfortable eyeballing it.

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Press your seam allowance UP towards the bias band.  (I had to go back in here and clip more away later.  If anything, err just UNDER 1/4″ rather than OVER 1/4″.  But don’t clip so close that it will fray in the wash!)

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Fold the bias in toward the neck edge, then you’ll need to finish the ends.  Here I’ve got about 1/4″ or a little over.

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Turn it in so it aligns flush with the placket edge.

img_0613Then turn the top down and pin.  Remember, you should have turned in the long, raw edge of the bias under BEFORE turning in the ends!  Do this for both ends.

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Pin the turned under bias edge all the way across the neck, as shown.

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Hand stitch the bias to place.  And that’s it!  The neck is bound!

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