Seam Finishes: Bound Edges

Before we put in the zipper in our Lonsdale Dresses, we’ll need to finish the edges somehow. If you have a serger, this step is easy! If not, here is a really tidy, clean way to finish off your centre back seam allowances. You can zigzag, you can turn-and-stitch, or you can bind the edges – which is what I decided to do!

You’ll need:

  • Seam binding – twice the length of your seam

First, press the creases out of your seam binding if it’s been wrapped around a piece of cardboard for a long time! Fold the seam binding in half lengthwise and press.

Wrap the seam binding around the raw edge, pushing the fabric into the fold as far as it will go. Pin in place.

At the top end, fold under the seam binding as shown. I have about half an inch of extra seam binding that I’ve folded to the back. We’ll stitch this down when we sew the binding on!

Take your work to the sewing machine and sew close to edge of binding.

It’s better to be a little farther away from the edge, and catch both sides of the binding, than to be super-close to the edge. It shouldn’t be hard to do if you’ve pressed your binding in half evenly! As long as you’ve folded it down the middle it should catch on both sides.

Repeat with the other side. I found it easier to sew ‘backwards’ – with the work on the right side of my machine – instead of working from the bottom up.

Look how nice our bound edge looks!

This is a pretty and sturdy edge finish. If we ever need to alter this dress, take it in or let it out along the centre back seam, this edge finish will hold up and stay strong.

I’ll be back with Sewing the Zipper later today!

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12 Responses to Seam Finishes: Bound Edges

  1. Mandy August 11, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    O.M.G. sewing backwards…. why have I never thought of that????

  2. Bri August 11, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    This is a great seam finish, and fun to do in a contrasting color too!

  3. Louise August 11, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Awesome post. Thank you. Everything always looks so much better and lasts so much longer if we add the special custom-made details that you do not find in stores from mass produced batches of whatever.
    Great job!

    Slave To My Needles

  4. Donna Bierman August 11, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    I’m a beginning sewer. Can you explain a little more about sewing “backwards”. I’m having trouble visualizing the process. Thanks.

  5. Tasia August 11, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    @Donna Bierman: Hi Donna! Here’s what I mean – when you sew, most of the time your work is to the left, and you’re sewing along the right edge of your fabric. (Like in the 4th picture, I have the project to the left of the needle, and I’m sewing the right edge.)

    To sew backwards, I’ve turned my project the other way, with the dress bunching up to the right, while I sew the left edge of my fabric. You’ll end up with a lot of fabric on your right that will seem unusual.

    The other alternative is to sew from the bottom up – that way, you’ll be sewing on the right edge like usual.

    Hope this is clearer!

  6. Tasia August 11, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    @Mandy: I know! It’s a little more awkward, but I’ll do it that way if I think I can do a better job working from the left side.

    I learned to sew on an old Bernina, and instead of a backstitch button it had a backstitch switch. So you could sew entire seams in reverse if you wanted to! I never knew there was a ‘correct’ direction to sew, I just figured you could sew from the bottom up if you felt like it. (Not the same thing, but it just shows you there’s always more than one way to do something!)

  7. Shawnta August 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    This has been the most pesky step so far!!! I think my cotton is so thick that it is not trying to stuff in there. It will so cute when I can get it to work!

  8. Jane Elise September 12, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    Seam binding isn’t the same as bias binding, is it? How wide is the binding you used Tasia?

    • Tasia September 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      @Jane Elise: Hi! No, it’s different from bias binding. Here’s a quick list of the differences:

      Bias binding: folded (either single-fold or double-fold), cut on the bias, usually cotton or cotton-like
      Seam binding: not folded, not on the bias, usually polyester or rayon

      Mine is just a little over half-an-inch wide. (Just less than 1.5cm wide). I find seam binding usually only comes in one width, while bias binding comes in different widths. Sometimes it’s called Hem Tape too. Like so:
      It has those little lines woven in to help guide your stitching. Hope this helps!

  9. Jane Elise September 13, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Thanks Tasia. I am not sure we have it in Australia – or maybe it is called something else? The woman at Spotlight looked at me like I was very weird when I asked and our Simplicity site doesn’t list it either. Hopefully a fellow Aussie might help.

    • Tasia September 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      @Jane Elise: I’ve asked on my facebook page – maybe someone will know what to ask for! Hopefully we find an answer! :)


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