Posted on September 15 2023
Bias binding is a really neat way to finish off a neckline or armhole. This method of sewing a ‘clean finish’ means you will not see the binding from the right side of the garment, only a row of machine stitching. The bias binding will neaten the raw edge of the neckline but still follow the curved shape and allow the neckline to remain flat and smooth.
You can make your own bias binding in the same fabric as your garment if you prefer, but I have chosen to use a ready made bias binding in a contrast colour to make it easier to see for the tutorial and for a really neat colour contrast effect too.
To add a clean finish binding to a neckline.
Measure off enough binding to fit around the neckline or armhole. Allow a good 3” or 15cm or so extra for overlapping the ends.
If the bias binding is already folded press the folds open and flat and then fold the bias strip in half so the raw edges meet, effectively doubling over the bias strip.
This will allow us to sew the raw edges to the garment but leave the folded edge to give a neat finish so we don’t have to worry about turning under another raw edge to complete the process.
Find the centre of the bias binding and match it to the centre front of the neckline. Pin the binding to the right side of the garment. The bias binding I have used is 1.5cm when folded double. This means if I sew a 0.8cm seam allowance I will have just under 1cm of binding showing to finish off the neckline. So I am able to match all the raw edges and then sew my seam allowance.
If your binding is slightly wider or narrower you may need to adjust where the raw edge of the binding sits to make sure you have enough binding showing to finish the neckline. You don't really want any more than 1cm as a wider binding could distort the curve of the neckline.
From either side of the centre front lay the binding around the neckline gently curving and easing the binding so the folded edge remains flat on the garment. Pin in place as you go. The raw edges may wiggle and wave slightly but thats alright. We just want the outer folded edge to be flat and curving smoothly around the neckline.
When you have both ends of the binding meeting at the centre back, unfold the binding so it sits flat.
Fold the left side down at right angles to itself to get a 45 degree angled fold.
Now fold the right hand side up at right angles to itself to create another 45 degree fold. The folds should butt up and lay next to each other. Crease the folds with your thumb nail to make them easier to see then fold back the left hand side and pin through both layers of the binding along the creases.
When you lift the binding away from the neckline you should have the two ends of binding at right angles to each other.
You can now sew along the crease top left to bottom right. Make sure your sewing starts exactly where the two layers cross otherwise you will end up with a step in the edge of the binding and not a smooth continuous line.
Don’t worry about back stitching at the start and finish, just use a smaller stitch to sew across the ends of the binding as back stitching just adds extra bulk. Trim the seam down to 1/4” or 0.5cm and press it open and flat.
Fold the binding back in half and it should now sit nice and neatly around the back of the neckline. Pin the rest of the binding in place around the remaining neckline.
Sew the binding to the garment making sure to keep an even seam allowance all the way round. You want to have the same amount of binding showing evenly all the way around the neckline. Overlap your sewing at the end to secure your stitching.
Trim the seam allowance down to 0.5cm or 1/4” and snip into the curved seam allowance to release the tension in the curve. You may need more snips closer together at the more curved parts of the neckline.
Press the binding away from the neckline.
Fold the binding under onto the wrong side of the garment. Roll the binding under slightly so just a fraction of the garment can be seen. Pin the folded edge of the bind in place.
Edge stitch carefully along the folded edge of the binding to attach the binding to the garment and enclose all the raw edges. Overlap your sewing at the end to secure the stitching.
Give the neckline a good press to gently ease it back into shape if it has warped slightly.
You should see nothing of the binding from the right side of the garment only a row of careful sewing around the neckline.
This is a really easy way to finish a raw edge around a neckline or arm hole just remember to keep the outer edge of the binding as flat as you can to follow the curve of the neckline.