The right seams that are smooth and even not only look more professional when you’re done, but they’ll make whatever you’re sewing a lot more comfortable to wear as well. When it comes to finishing seams, you have a lot of options to choose from, but bias tape gives them a much neater look that allows everything to fall into place as it should.
Methods for finishing seams with bias tape:
- Binding the seams together
- Binding seams with double-fold bias tape
- Binding with the seams pressed open
Why Bind Your Seams?
Seams have to be flat and even or they will bunch up and cause the item of clothing to fit improperly and look bad. Bulky seams have a disheveled look that cause the entire item to look sloppy and unprofessional. Even if you’re a beginner, this is not something you want, and when you choose to finish seams with bias tape, they look even neater and flatter once the job is done.
To get started, make sure you have everything you need nearby, including the fabric, your bias tape, a good pair of cutting scissors, and some sewing pins. There are several ways to complete this task, but below are some of the more popular ways to bind your seams by using bias tape.
Binding the Seams Together
This is a simple and basic process that isn’t very time-consuming, either. You simply following these steps:
- Stitch the seams together like you normally would
- After the seam is closed, pin the bias tape onto it
- Sew the bias tape onto the seam, making sure that you sew the back of the tape as you move along
After the seam is completed properly, all you have to do is press it to one side and you’re all finished, then you can move along to your next sewing project.
Binding Seams with Double-Fold Bias Tape
With this method, you get two lines of stitching instead of one, which ensures that all of the edges of your bias tape are wedged in the stitches. When using double-fold bias tape here are the steps:
- Press your seam open, then unfold the bias tape and line up the edge with the wrong side of the seam
- Pin the bias tape into place
- Sew the bias tape directly to the seam using the first folded line
- Fold over the bias tape, making sure the center crease is enfolding the seam edge
- Press it into place
- You’ll now sew on the right side of the seam approximately 1/16” from the edge
Keep in mind that double-fold bias tape found in the stores is precisely made and, therefore, easy to sew. If you use any type of commercial bias tape, always make sure the narrow side of the tape goes on the right side of the seam.
Binding with the Seams Pressed Open
This process is a little more time-consuming and meant only for thicker fabrics such as wool, cotton twills, and other materials usually used to make items such as jackets and other items that require medium- to heavy-weight fabrics. In it, the seams have to lie flat, and you have to bind both sides of the seam allowance. Here are the steps to follow:
- Sew the seam as you normally would, then press it open
- On one of the seam allowances, pin one strip of the bias tape
- Sew the binding, making sure the back of the bias tape is sewn
- Do the same thing for the other seam allowance
- Again, press the seam open
With this method, the seam will stay open on the inside of the garment, making for a much neater and cleaner look in the end.
As you can see, if you decide to finish seams with bias tape, you have several ways to do it, but the best part is, you don’t have to be a super-advanced seamstress to get the job done right. Let’s take a look at some additional ways to use bias tape on your seams.
Binding as Easy as 1-2-3
This is a super-simple method to use because it essentially has only three steps, and you can use it for both straight and curved seams.
- Sew your seam as described in the instructions
- Place the seam allowance within the fold of the bias tape; make sure the narrower edge of the bias tape is facing up while you’re sewing, then pin the tape in place
- Sew the bias tape along the narrow edge; then press in place
In this method, you’re sewing both the wide part and the narrow part of the bias tape at the same time, since the narrow edge is on top and the wider edge is on the bottom. Therefore, with only sewing the seam once, both sides of the bias tape are correctly sewn.
Why Use Bias Tape to Finish Your Seams?
Not only do finishing seams with bias tape present a more complete and elegant look when you’re done, but in certain circumstances this is a must. Things such as jackets and dresses and skirts that are unlined often end up with exposed seams, which don’t always look that great if they’re not bound with some type of tape or binding material.
Bias tape also protects the raw edge of a seam and can even give the garment a little more oomph, especially if you use some bright or interesting colors when choosing your bias tape. Of course, if consistency is what you want, all you have to do is simply choose a matching or more subtle color of bias tape so that it matches the garment when you’re done.
Finally, bias tape is likely to make your garment last longer because your seams are a lot less likely to frazzle or become undone after you’ve washed it a few times, so as you can see, bias tape does a great job of both protecting your seams and making them look much better at the same time.
All About Bias Tape
Keep in mind that there are two main types of bias tape. They include both single-fold and double-fold tape. Single-fold bias tape has two folds and double-fold bias tape has three. As a general rule, single-fold bias tape is used to bind an edge, and it is usually seen from the outside of the garment. On the other hand, double-fold bias tape is usually used as a narrow facing and cannot be seen because it is usually turned to the garment’s wrong side.
You can use two types of bias tape with your projects – the store-bought type and the homemade type. If you decide to make your own bias tape, start by multiplying the desired binding width by four. You should increase this number slightly when you are working with a lightweight fabric that has a lot of give along the bias grain. It also helps if you make a test strip first to make sure you get the width and overall size right before you do anything with the tape.
Bias tape can be used for a number of projects, which include the following:
- Bindings: finish your raw edges by removing the seam allowance and placing double-fold bias tape along the edge
- Seam finishes: these are similar to bindings and you can use either matching or contrasting colors when choosing your bias tape
- Button loops: instead of buttonholes, you can use bias tape to make these loops for your buttons
- Drawstrings: you can use drawstrings for a number of projects, and bias tape makes it super-easy to do
- Decorations: since bias tape comes in so many sizes and colors, there is hardly anything you cannot do with it when it comes to decorating your garments and other items
As you can see, bias tape isn’t just great for making your seams look nicer and lay flatter. They have numerous purposes, and because the makers of this product are continuously coming out with newer and more unique designs, you can dress up your various projects in dozens of ways every time. Better still, bias tape tends to be very inexpensive, so you can use it continuously and on hundreds of projects without breaking the bank.
Bias Tape Versus Seam Binding
If you’re going to finish seams with bias tape, keep in mind that bias tape and seam binding are, in fact, two different items. As a general rule, bias tape is cut at a 45-degree angle; in other words, on the “bias.” Because of this, bias tape can stretch a bit and can even be shaped in a curve and a few other shapes. Seam binding, on the other hand, is a standard ribbon that can be used for necklines and arm holes, in addition to finishing seams.
There are many benefits to using bias tape to finish your seams, and there are many different ways to do this. A quick search on the Internet will result in dozens of possibilities, so if this is something you’re planning to do with your next sewing project, all you have to do is start online. Indeed, when it comes to binding seams with bias tape, the sky is truly the limit.