Tag Archives: bias binding/facing tutorials

How-to: Bias Facing + Mitering Inside Corners

Hurrah! We made it to the last post of the bias facing and bias binding tutorials!
In this post we’re going to look at facing scallops, or inside corners. Learning this technique comes in handy for doing the 1940’s Apron Pattern, but also for binding squared, v neck, or sweetheart necklines.
We’re building upon techniques already learned in the prior binding/facing tutorials, so if you feel lost or missed the previous posts you can find them here.

There are a lot of ways to miter inside corners.  For this tutorial I’m going to show you the technique I use. If you use another method please feel free to leave a comment or link!

Mitering Inside Corners or Scallops

We’ve already learned how to attach bias facing to a straight edge, and we’ve learned how to miter inside corners with bias binding. You’re going to combine those two types of techniques when you do your inside corners with bias facing.  Just like with your bias binding, the most crucial part of getting inside corners right with bias facing is going to be that inside point.  You can see we’ve pinned the bias facing along the edge (for this one  the seam allowance is 1/4″, the same as the bias tape seam allowance).  Pin until you get to the corner.  See the point inside the circle?  That is the most crucial part.  We want to get that point right, so that the bias binding will lay flat along the inside of the piece at both the scallop you just did, and the scallop to come, and not pull or pucker at the point.  Ease in the excess at the cut edge like a tuck (this is called a miter).  Do the same for every scallop, or every corner you need to bind.

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How-To: Bias Facing + Inside Curves

In this section of the bias facing tutorials we’re going to learn how to face inside curves.  In the 1940’s Apron pattern which prompted these tutorials, there are no extreme inside curves to bind so you won’t need to do this.  However, bias facing for inside curves is prevalent in vintage sewing- you usually see it used for necklines (like the Sunkissed Sweetheart pattern) or for armscyes (like the 1930’s Jumper Dress pattern).  Here I’m showing how to sew an inside curve with a sample so you can get an idea of what do do for your project.

We are building upon techniques learned in the previous posts. If you feel like you’re missing out on something make sure you go back and re-read the previous posts in this how-to series.

Bias Facing for Inside Curves

First thing you’re going to do, like in the previous posts with bias facing, is figure out where you want your seam line to be.  For this hypothetical project, we’re using 1/2″ seam allowance, so I drew my line 1/2″ from the cut edge of the fabric. Important! Test a scrap of your fabric with your marking method to make sure it will come out when the garment is washed.  If you are making a garment using a fabric that will not be washed by machine (like dry clean only materials) you will not want to draw on your seam line on your fashion fabric.  Either pre-cut your edge or draw the line to match up with the cut edge of the bias binding, as described in a previous post.  For all following instructions, substitute either method for the one that shows drawing on seam allowance lines.

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How-To: Bias Facing + Outside Corners

Continuing the how-to tutorials on bias binding and bias facing, here is how to use bias tape to face the outside corners.  You can find the intro to bias facing here, and you can find the tutorial for finishing outside corners with bias binding here.  We will be building upon techniques already learned in these tutorials, so if you feel like you’re missing out on something go back and read the previous posts in this how-to series.

Facing Outside Corners with Bias Tape

This technique is not actually used in the 1940’s apron pattern that prompted me to do these tutorials, but for future reference I thought it would be a good idea to include this, in case you are following a pattern that needs outside corners faced.

For this tutorial I am using contrast thread so that you can see my stitching.  Don’t be like me. Use thread that matches the fashion fabric of your project!

First step to to is to figure out your seam allowance.  We’re pretending the seam allowance of this hypothetical project is 1/2″.  Draw your seam lines in 1/2″ from the edges to be bound using a clear ruler and a method of marking that will come out of my fashion fabric when I wash it.   Important! If you are making a garment using a fabric that will not be washed by machine (like dry clean only materials) you will not want to draw on your seam line on your fashion fabric.  Either pre-cut your edge or draw the line to match up with the cut edge of the bias binding, as described in a previous post.  For all following instructions, substitute either method for the one that shows drawing on seam allowance lines.

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How-to: Bias Facing- Basics & Straight Edges

We’ve got bias binding under our belt, so now we’re moving on to bias facing.  If you look at the 1940’s Apron Pattern sample photos, the one done with bias facing is the one in red and white.  Unlike the blue apron, where you can see the binding externally in a contrast blue, kind of like a trim, the red and white apron has the facing tucked to the inside of the garment, invisible from the outside.

Bias Facing- The Basics
Bias facing can be made either from store bought pre-packaged SINGLE FOLD bias tape, or can be made from your fashion fabric.  Most often times in vintage clothing it will be made to match the fashion fabric and cut from scraps.  You would use the bias facing to finish edges like necklines, armscyes of sleeveless garments, the bottom of sleeves, or even a curved wrap skirt (like the Sunkissed Sweetheart pattern, where the top and the skirt are both finished with bias facing).  In fact, the more you get into vintage sewing the more you’ll find that construction calls for edges to be finished with bias facing!  In pre-1950’s patterns, as mentioned previously, it was more common for patterns to call for bias facing than to include facing pieces. It’s a great skill to have under your belt.
With all instructions given for marking make sure you use a fabric pen, chalk, or marker that will come out of your finished garment!  Test it on a scrap of fabric before construction to make sure!


For this tutorial we will be using store bought single fold bias tape.   You can apply the same methods for self fabric bias tape made from fashion fabric after you cut your strips and press them (which we aren’t going to cover in this tutorial).  Above you see the single fold bias tape out of the package with the wrong side facing up so you can see how it’s pressed.  I always wondered why it was called single fold bias tape when there’s obviously two pressed edges ;)  But with the double fold bias tape, like you saw in the bias binding tutorials, you basically get one of these strips that’s then pressed in half lengthwise.  So for bias facing make sure you get the single fold. For this apron we use 1/2″ single fold bias tape.

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How-to: One Step Bias Binding + Mitering Inside Corners

This is the last installment in the series for bias binding using the one-step method of attaching both ends of the bias at once (not the sew one side, flip over, then sew the other side as used most often now-a-days).  In this blog post we’ll learn to bind inside corners. After this you should be all set to sew the bias bound version of the 1940’s apron pattern!  Of course, all of these techniques can be applied to any sewing or craft project you are making that needs to have bias binding attached.

Mitering Inside Corners

We previously learned how to miter the outside corners, and attach bias on curves, so now we’re ready for the rest of the apron construction!  This method can be used for the scallops but should also be used for a sweetheart neckline.

Here you find me nearing my first scallop to be bound.  See the point on the outside? The area you will need to bind will actually be a bit more of a drastic point.  To help aid with getting this point right on my bias binding, so it lays flat and smooth, I have given myself a cross line to match (in yellow on the piece).  Of course, make sure your method of marking will come out of your finished garment!  To draw my cross marks I used a clear ruler and measured in 1/2″ from one edge, drew a line, then 1/2″ from the edge of the next scallop, and drew another line (if your bias binding is a different size, substitute that measurement for the 1/2″).  Where those two lines intersect you are going to make your point.  The excess will be folded in, so it rounds the corner nice and smoothly.  Here we go…

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How-To: One Step Bias Binding + Curves

This post is continuing on how to bind edges with one step bias binding.  If you missed the previous post, you can find it here.

Binding Curves

In the apron pattern these tutorials were made for, there are two somewhat more extreme curves for the heart pocket. In this tutorial I will show a method to make binding these curves easier.  Of course, all these tutorials can be applied to a variety of dressmaking or crafting circumstances. In fact, the first time I learned this technique was when I was being mentored by the milliner at the Opera where I worked.  She used this method both for bias binding and for shaping petersham ribbon for the inside of hat bands.  This method might take a few practices, but once you’ve got it down it’s so much easier than trying to ease in a lot of bias edge into a small space! The problem with pulling the bias tight to fit is that when it’s sewn down the piece will not lay flat. It will force the fabric to pull in and “pucker”.  You can use this same technique of pressing your curves to make sewing easier for bias binding, bias facings, and petersham ribbon.

For binding edges with curves, you want to make sure to fit the bias, without tension or pulling, to the largest curve.  In this case, the longest or outside edge of the curve to be bound is at the cut edge.  If you were binding an curve that goes inside a garment (like an armscye or a scooped neckline) your longer or outside part of the curve to be bound would be at the seam allowance line, where you attach your binding, so you’d do this process in the opposite way and make the curve in the opposite way.  But I’m getting ahead of myself. Hard to teach this without being in person, but here ‘goes ;)

First, take your bias tape, just like in the previous post, with the longer edge of the fold to be on the WRONG side of the fabric.  To ease around this curve we are going to first shape the bias tape with our iron and some steam.  I have the iron sitting on top here so you can see what sort of curve we’re going to try to get, with the outside edge of the curve being the fold (where it will snug into the outside of the pocket piece.)  If you were doing a neckline or armscyes, you’d do this the opposite way, with the outside end of the curve being the open end and the fold being the inside end of the curve (if you were to measure each side of the bias, you would find one is shorter in measurement than the other).

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How To: One Step Bias Binding + Mitered Outside Corners

Intro to the Bias Binding/Bias Facing Tutorial Posts

As promised in my post yesterday about the new 1940’s Apron pattern, here’s the first tutorial for attaching bias binding.

Pre-made bias fold is pretty darn old, and whoever came up with the idea of pre-packaging pre-folded bias tape was a genius.  I first started using bias tape with quilting- where you often make your own bias tape from fashion fabric. It doesn’t take a long time to make your own bias tape, but it is kind of a pain in the butt if you just want to get to sewing!

A lot of patterns from the 1920’s through the 1940s call for pre-made or self-made bias tape (often called bias facing or bias binding).  Bias tape was most often used to finish edges, though it could be decorative as well.  In the 1950’s it became more popular to face pieces with self fabric and patterns included separate pattern pieces for this purpose, but in the earlier pattern many times facings were not included and you were told to finish edges with bias tape or seam binding. Take a peek into a 1940’s dress if you have one in your closet and you may see this (or self fabric bias instead of tape).  This actually helped conserve fabric, as every little bit you could cut out of fabric usage was the mode of the day in the 1940s! Pattern companies had to stick to rigid codes of how much fabric their patterns took to make, just like ready to wear clothing makers. Just think of it- the Great Depression and called for ingenuity (lots of books were put out in the late 1920’s to early 1930’s of how to do fashions and home decor with bias tape as accents), and then WWII fabric rationing.  Bias tape totally makes sense!

Bias Binding

These days most people attach bias in two steps. First you attach one edge, then encase the seam you just made by turning the bias over to the other side and stitching it to place.  In earlier decades this was just one of the methods to be used.  The other was to attach the bias binding all in one step, which I’m going to show here, and what the pattern the 1940’s apron was based on called for.  It’s actually a quicker method and uses less thread- and since aprons were meant just as a handy household item, high sewing techniques were not always called for.  An apron was a useful item.  As long as it was sturdy and did the job, that was what was needed!

THE BASICS

For bias binding we are using pre-packaged DOUBLE FOLD 1/2″ bias tape.  This is how the pre-made bias binding comes- notice that one side of the fold is longer than the other. You want the longer side to be on the WRONG side of the fabric. The shorter side should be on the RIGHT side of the fabric (the side of the fabric which your print is on, or the outside of the garment).

Here you can see pinning the bias to the fabric.  You want the inside fold of the bias to meet with the cut edge of the fabric so it sits in there snugly.  Sandwich your fabric between the bias tape.  Straight edges are super easy.  Just do this and pin it to place.

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