Hello Sew-Alongers! Today, we’re going to attach bias binding to the neckline. Sounds tricky, doesn’t it? This method of binding the neckline is the easiest method I’ve used, and it gives a nice, clean finish without fiddly edges to hem. Don’t fear the neck binding! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it all comes together.
Need to get caught up on Sew-Along posts? Here are links to the earlier posts:
- Pendrell Sew-Along: Supply List, Schedule & Sew-Along Badge
- Pendrell Sew-Along #2: Prewashing your Fabric
- Pendrell Sew-Along #3: Measuring and Choosing Your Size
- Pendrell Sew-Along #4: Shortening the Blouse Length
- Pendrell Sew-Along #5: Altering The Hip and Waist
- Pendrell Sew-Along #6: Princess-Seam FBA (Full Bust Adjustment)
- Pendrell Sew-Along #7: Cutting Your Fabric
- Pendrell Sew-Along #8: Bonus Post! Cutting Scalloped-Edge Lace
- Pendrell Sew-Along #9: Checking In
- Pendrell Sew-Along #10: Underlining The Pendrell Blouse
- Pendrell Sew-Along #10.5: More on Underlining & Basting
- Pendrell Sew-Along #11: Sewing! Plus, Finishing Your Edges
- Pendrell Sew-Along #12: Constructing and Attaching the Draped Sleeve
- Pendrell Sew-Along #13: Gathering Ruffles
You’ll need your neck binding piece (6) and the front-back-sleeve unit we finished up in the last post.
How to add bias binding to our neckline:
Take the neck binding piece, and fold it in half, right sides together. Pin the shoulder seam together (this is the smallest edge of the piece) so you form a loop.
Now, sew the pinned seam, taking a 5/8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance.
Trim seam allowances to 1/4″ and press the seam open. (You might find it easier to press the seam allowances open, and THEN trim afterwards.) I followed my own directions, but the thin, polyester fabric doesn’t like to press.
(Yes, that’s my Cupcake Goddess seam roll! I just love the way it smells. Is that weird? It has the best sawdusty smell when it’s ironed. You can’t get that from a store-bought seam roll!)
Next, take the loop of binding, and fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. You’re creating a loop of binding that we’ll apply to the neckline.
Pin the loop edges together, matching notches and keeping the edges lined up.
Now, we’re going to baste the raw edges together. This will make it much easier to attach to the neckline, as it will keep the layers from shifting. Baste using a long machine stitch, 1/4″ from the raw edge. I use the edge of my presser foot as the quarter inch marker.
Here’s what it will look like, when you’re finished basting:
Let’s attach the neck binding to the neckline of our blouse! Start by finding the seamline of the neck binding. This will line up to the left shoulder seam of our blouse’s neckline.
There are four markings along the edge of your binding (three notches and one seam). If you fold the binding like the picture below, lining up the seam to the notch across from it, the other two notches will end up at either end of the loop. That sounds confusing! Basically, what I’m showing you here, is which is the front and which is the back of your neck binding. In the photo below, the front is on the left of my finger, and the back is on the right.
Make sense? Notches at centre front and back, notch at right shoulder, seam at left shoulder. (If you try and pin it on wrong, you’ll know right away because the notches won’t line up.)
Start by pinning the shoulder seam to the neckline binding seam. Seamlines are together, folded edge of the binding is facing down.
Continue pinning around the neckline binding, matching the notches. In the photo, I’ve started pinning at centre front. (See how it would be impossible to sew it on wrong? There’s way more distance between front and shoulder than there is between back and shoulder.)
Our notches are all pinned! Once that’s done, pin as many pins as you need in between the notches. If you’re worried about pin-holes, then pin parallel to the seamline instead of at right angles.
I put a few pins in between the notches, but not that many. There’s no rule or limit to pinning, it’s whatever makes you comfortable stitching the seams!
Take the pinned pieces over to the machine, and stitch the binding seam. Sew a 5/8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance, lining up the edges as you go.
Here’s a close-up of the binding seamline:
When you’re done, it should look something like this:
Trim the binding seam allowance. I use the original basting line as my guide, to trim the seam allowances to 1/4″. (As long as your basting is even, you can do the same!)
Time to press the binding to the inside! Take your pieces to the iron, and lay it out flat with the wrong side facing you.
Now, roll the binding to the inside, so that just a teeny peek of the blouse front has rolled to the inside neckline. This was hard to photograph, but I think it’s clear enough to understand! If you were to look at the blouse from the right side, all of the neck binding would be hidden.
Pin all around the neck binding after it’s been pressed. I pinned at right angles to the neckline, catching the binding as the pin goes in and as it goes out.
Close-up of the binding and pin:
Here’s what your neckline should look like, once it’s all pinned. Look at the back neckline – see how the front is showing, and all of the binding is hidden?
Ok! Time to sew it on. You could sew it by hand, if you wanted. I much prefer the intentional topstitching, especially because it’s hard to sew invisibly. If it can’t be completely invisible, I’d rather have tidy, visible stitch lines.
This is how I worked with the binding on my machine – start inside the neckline hole, as shown:
Once your needle and presser foot are inside the neckhole, it’s time to topstitch. Go slow, it’s better to sew it slowly and neatly than rush and have a messy neckline.
You’ll see I’m working from the wrong side, so I can edgestitch right along the fold of the binding piece. Start at the left shoulder seam, where the seam of the binding is. I figure there’s already bulk there, it might as well be the place where the stitching starts, too.
Here’s a close-up of the needle position as we edgestitch. You can see I’m stitching as close as I can to the fold of the binding. Again, it’s better to be slightly away from the fold, than to have your stitching miss the fold and have to rip out.
Go slowly! I have an urge to speed-race when I sew, but I dislike unpicking even more. Slippery fabric plus tricky curves means it’s time to go slowly, use the handwheel where necessary, and adjust as we go if the fabric starts to move around.
Here’s what your neck binding will look like, as you sew.
When you get back to the shoulder seam again, where you started, overlap your stitching over top of your starting stitches. Clip your threads, and give the binding a press to set the stitches.
And voila! Tidy-looking binding around the neckline. Here’s a close-up shot of the pretty binding:
Trouble with your Neck Binding?
Q. My fabric won’t press nicely! I’ve trimmed the binding seam but when I press it, the fabric doesn’t hold a crease.
A. Mine doesn’t either! Use lots and lots of pins to hold the binding in place, and edgestitch slowly.
Q. Help! My staystitching is showing at the neckline!
A. No problem! Just carefully unpick the staystitching stitches where they show. I’d recommend gently lifting the stitches out, instead of ripping. Use your seam-ripper to cut the first stitch and the last stitch, and then use the tip to lift out the stitches in between.
Any questions or comments on today’s neck binding post, or tips and tricks to sewing bias bindings? Leave a comment below!