Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bias tape finish for necklines and armholes


Warning: Picture Heavy!

A couple of thoughts before we begin:
- This technique is not for a beginner as several of the steps are very fiddly.
- This technique is also not for someone who likes to hurry through their sewing. It requires patience and finesse. If you are in a rush it will likely frustrate you.

Okay, here we have an armhole of my current project, a knit dress. It is sleeveless but has a bit of a drop shoulder. You want to cut a piece of bias tape as big as the hole with some left over. This piece actually proved to be too short. I always stock double fold skinny bias tape because it has other uses, but you can also use the single fold bias tape. This is regular "Wrights" brand polyester/cotton bias tape available at any fabric store in a variety of colors. The brown isn't the perfect shade to match, but is close enough. IF you are using this technique on a sheer fabric, the tape color has to be spot on.

Iron the tape out flat, then in half. If you are using single fold bias tape, you get to skip this initial ironing. Then fold over about 1/4" from the left side. I start with the left because I am right-handed. Starting on the other side won't make a bit of difference.

Next you'll start pinning it to your arm opening. These handy slide rulers work really well for this purpose, as well as having infinite other uses. Get one!!! You'll notice I'm pinning it to my garment at 5/8", the seam allowance. If your pattern calls for a 3/8" SA, then you would pin it at 3/8" from the raw edge. The fold line of this double fold tape never irons out completely, and you can use it for lining up and later stitching on. Be sure to pin the tape onto the fabric with the fold toward the body of the fabric.

I like to start pinning at the bottom seam line. Can you see it rippling a little there at the bottom? You want to push in as much as the tape as possible between the pins but not enough to cause it to tuck. This is hard to explain. The bottom folded part of the tape is somewhat flush with the fabric and the top will be very wavy. You need this extra ease when you turn it to the inside later.

Here I have it completely pinned except for at the end. You'll want to stop stitching right before you get there.

Now you can see where I stopped stitching before I got all the way around. You can trim off any excess bias tape with an extra 1/4" left over for turning. Now pin and stitch. I know that right bottom bit looks really wavy, but there are no tucks sewn in. If you get a tuck, rip it out and stretch your fabric just a bit when stitching that part.

I've finished stitching and have clipped the corners off. DO NOT CLIP ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE!

I cut the fabric about 1/8" from the stitching line. You want the bias tape and fabric to be graded in this way to prevent it from being too bulky.

Now turn the tape to the inside and pin. Make sure none of the tape will be visible from the other side. I like to use A LOT of pins, in case you hadn't noticed!

Pay attention at the ends to get them matched up with the seam line and also the same width. I usually slip-stitch the opening closed, although didn't have to here since the two ends meet so closely.

Don't forget to press! You can see here on the outside what a nice and neat finish this creates.

This technique works really well for areas that do not need to stretch much. You certainly could not use it for a small neck opening in a knit or a hemline.

36 comments:

  1. Very nice finish! I wonder if I am patient enough to do it properly?....

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  2. I've tried this technique on a woven, but it looks like some steps were missing so I didn't get perfect results. I will I have to try this one next time. Thanks for taking the time to put it together!!

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  3. Great tutorial. Do you always pin your bias tape at the 5/8" mark instead of lining it up with the raw edge?

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  4. Great and very clear tutorial. You make it look not at all fiddly!

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  5. What I wouldn't give for more excellent picture tutorials from you! I have learned everything I know about sewing by either trial and error or good picture tutorials. This is a great one. Thank you for taking the time to write it up and take all the pictures.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this, and thank you for taking the time to post so many pictures! You make it all seem so clear and do-able.

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  7. I have done bound edges before, but appreciate the detail and thought you have put into this tutorial. I am at a stage with my sewing where I have decided I don't like facings much and will try and avoid them. I will definitly be using your tips on my next bound edge. Thank you!

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  8. Thank you for this - I love how neatly all of your garments are finished!

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  9. Great tutorial! This is actually the finish that the big 4 uses for baby girl dresses, so if you sew for your little princess, you'll do it a lot!

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  10. Thank you for such a clear tutorial. You make it so simple. Excellent job! Your garments are always so beautifully finished, thanks for sharing this.

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  11. Great tutorial and thanks for sharing.

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  12. Wonderful tutorial. Thank you for posting it. Great photos!

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  13. This is an awesome tutorial! I am a new sewer, so I went back a few months ago and read all of your tutorials. I am never afraid of a challenge, so I started out using all of your finishing techniques on the garments I have made. I am like you and if I am going to make something and spend a lot of time doing so, it had better be pretty on the inside! Thanks for posting this tutorial, and the others! My friends are blown away at the way the finishing techniques look and I just tell them I found it all on your blog! You are a big inspiration to me in sewing!

    Feel free to check out my blog, which isn't soley dedicated to sewing because I started years ago before I ever started sewing.

    http://savannahsouthernbelle.blogspot.com

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  14. Thanks, Amanda. I'm going to try this.

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  15. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing. Your sewing is so nice, thank you for taking the time to do things right. :)

    Barb

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  16. Thank you for the tutorial - I really appreciate getting a detailed glimpse of the process from the pros!

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  17. It looks really nice and professional done! Thank you for sharinf this technique.

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  18. Excellent tutorial! I am so intrigued that you can use woven bias tape on a stretch project.

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  19. Another great tutorial Amanda! I think I've sewn a couple of baby dresses that use this instead of facings for the neck and armhole, but I haven't used it on a project for myself yet. Soon, very soon.

    Btw, I'm now OBSESSED with finishing off the insides of my casual skirts with bias tape. This is all due to your influence. It's really not that difficult and gives the inside of the garment such a clean and pretty look. :)

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  20. This finish is very nice and neat.. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  21. This is a great tutorial, Amanda! Very generous of you to take the time to create it! :)

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I personally don't care for woven bias tape on knit garments. But this technique/tutorial will certainly apply to bias on wovens too! Have you ever thought of using your technique with fold over elastic (in place of woven bias) for knit garments?? I've never tried it, just curious if it would work and maintain the needed elasticity in a knit.

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  22. I recently found your blog, and I have to say: Thank you! I just started sewing, so pretty much everything is new for me. I love how easy you make it look through your tutorials, so I'll be referencing your blog once in a while. Again, thank you. Also, your fisnished works are awesome!

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  23. THank you for this great tutorial. I am going to use it for sure! And best wishes for an easy pregnancy and birth!

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  24. Good tip to cut and finish only after you have sewn around most of the section. I usually try to do it in one step.

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  25. Amanda, I just discovered your blog and I'm loving it! I really dig your style sense and your garments are perfect!!!

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  26. WOW!!!! Great, Thanks for explaining that. I love your work and the detail of your work. I will be trying this. Thanks

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  27. Amanda,
    I was searching for bias tape and look at what I found! This site is right up your ally as you use a lot of bias tape in your neatly sewn garments. Check this out: http://www.jkmribbon.com/

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  28. I've always admired the insides of your garments almost as much as the outside! Great tutorial. I've always been reluctant to blend woven with knit, but decided to try this today on a knit sleeveless top. I was really happy with the result, and especially like the fact that the woven stabilizes the knit in the armscye. One thing I might add, and am sure that you do this, is to steam the bias into a curve matching the armscye.

    Cissie

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  29. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am going to incorporate this technique instead of the facing in my next project.

    Houston, TX

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  30. Hi Amanda,

    I came across your blog and first I just wanted tell you how impressed I am by all your sewing. I started sewing myself a couple years ago and wish I had the time to make a lot more clothes, but right now it usually takes me a few weeks, if not a couple months to make one simple garnement.
    I just started the linen tunic from BWOF June08, and I thought this would be the simplest thing, but I am actually having ridiculous trouble with the front seam of top and bottom, seeing how both pieces have quite a round cut...Would you have any advice on how to manage this, any particular technique I could use ?
    anyway, kuddos again on all your great work, I hope someday I manage to make my garnments look as good as yours.
    Cheers
    Melanie
    melaniezaffran@gmail.com

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  31. I came to your tutorial looking for an solution to a problem that keeps plaguing my armhole edges. After I attach a bias tape they start to bulge out. I was looking for a comment how to make sure the finished edge lies as flat as it did before finishing. I appreciate your help.

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  32. I just spent my free time in the last week reading all of your back posts. Wow - your work is amazing!

    Can you please share how you stitch so closely to the edge and do it so perfectly?? I am pretty new to sewing and that is one of the points I struggle with.

    Thanks!
    Christy

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  33. Hi Amanda, just left a link to this post over at my blog. Such a tidy way of finishing sleevless tops - can't believe I'd never seen this before! Alix

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  34. Amanda, thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial! Your photos and instructions are so detailed, perfect for sewing perfectionists. : ) I used your tutorial to finish the armholes on my first sleeveless dress, and they came out great! Thanks again!

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  35. Hi Amanda - your work is truly amazing.
    I'm not sure if you answer questions .... If using bias tape with a lining (as in your yellow dress) do you sew the tape to the lining by hand? Do you know of any website or blog that details how to do this with a lining?
    Thanks, Diane

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    1. I do answer Q's! Yes, I sew the bias tape by hand when I want it to be invisible on the outside and when the garment has a lining. It's the same procedure, just with and invisible running stitch. Sorry, I don't know of another tutorial that shows this in picture detail. Good luck!

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