sewing on bias strips
12 years ago
let me preface this by saying i’m new at sewing clothes. so, here it is: i’m kinda wondering how to sew on the bias strips around the neckline. i mean – do you stre-e-e-tch out the bias strip around the curve and pin like heck and sew? or do you kinda ease it on at the risk of creating little puckers?
oh dear. i hope i’m explaining this all right. thanks!12 years ago
Hi Corlee! Welcome!
Here are some suggestions:
I always staystitch the neckline of the garment, inside the seam allowance (closer toward the raw edge, say at the 1/4 line), before applying bias tape.
You will want to avoid stretching the bias too badly, as that creates a lot of tension, and the bias will want to ‘snap back’ when you are done sewing it and you’ll end up with a puckery mess.
I only place a pin at the shoulder seam to remind myself to slow down.
It is important to remember to place the garment against the feed dogs, so the bias piece is on top. this makes the machine’s pull of the feed dogs work for you–it eases the garment the little bit that it needs to be eased. you can also clip the neck edge of the garment up to the stay stitches about every 1/4″ along.
If you are working on a tight curve, you can steam iron the bias into the shape of the curve you are planning to apply it to.
in step three of the pattern instructions where sewing the neckband is described, it is stated that a 1/2″ of the bias should be extended beyound the center-back edge. Give yourself 3/4″. it can be trimed down to the 1/2″ when you are done stitching the length of bias. it’s nice to have a little more ‘tail’ to work with as you are getting everything situated under the needle.
I liked this lady’s hillarious tutorial:
Hope that helps! Can’t wait to see pictures!12 years ago
um. huh. i did stretch out the binding. i will rip that out tonight and re-sew as puckering is not this girl’s best friend, though said puckering disagrees.
thanks for the tutorial. it was straightforward and visually useful, though i still think i’m gonna run into problems on the curves.
and if i figure it out, i’ll post pictures. i’m a bit of a technological dunce and an embarrassment to my generation.12 years ago
Don’t be discouraged! It takes lots of practice 🙂 try ironing the piece into a gentle curve.12 years agoApril Henry @April1930s
I always suggest NOT pinning it – you’ll end up with more puckers. Just go slow, press the bias onto the curve first (so it can have the shape) and then just stitch slowly.12 years agoLiesl GibsonKeymaster@liesl
Lizabeth, well put! I never really thought about the feed dogs helping to each the garment as you stitch, but it does make sense. Thanks for your excellent instructions! And Corlee, it does take a little practice, but take your time and you’ll be an expert in no time. Everyone finds tricks that help to make it a little easier, and different people prefer different methods, so find one that works for you and you’ll be making all sorts of bias-trimmed things soon.12 years ago
thank you all for your great tips! i actually sewed on the bias strip and it didn’t pucker! it’s kind of amazing.
i do have a question about using the feed dogs to ease in fabric: which layer fabric gets eased? if i’m not mistaken, i think with my machine that it tends to use up more of the top fabric than the lower fabric if that makes sense. e.g., if i have two rectangles that i’m sewing, the top one is likely to come up a bit short at the end even though they are the same size and line up at the start of sewing.
now that i know you can go around the curves without stretching the heck out of it (i just went slowly without pinning and i didn’t press either, though i could see how that helps – though i’d be afraid that i’d press puckers in), i want to bind seams with bias strips. those sunday brunch jackets look terrific bound! and that’s my next pattern to tackle.
thank you, lovely ladies, for your help!12 years ago
Congratulations on sewing the bias strip! I was hoping you could do it successfully–so you could increase your confidence 🙂
This is a lengthy description/suggestion. I’ll try and be clear as mud 😉
The layer of fabric that is against the feed dogs is actually the layer that is eased, or ‘drawn up’ more quickly.
If one layer is coming up short, try working on how you ‘feed’ the fabric under the foot. Cut yourself a couple sample ‘rectangles’ as you put it. match the layers and put the lead end of the fabric layers on the machine, drop your needle into the fabric before you lower your foot (if you lower your foot before dropping the needle, you are already starting out with the fabric layers shifted because when you lower the foot the feed dogs engage the lower layer of fabric and scoot it).
Once you drop your needle, and then lower your foot, match the tail ends of the fabric pieces (which are hanging off the table) and pinch these together with your left hand.
The machine is still holding one end of the fabric layers, and you have the other matched ends in your left hand–gently pull the fabric away from the machine and bring your right hand to a point on the fabric layers’ edge halfway between your left hand and the end of the fabric held by the machine.
Pinch the layers’ edge with your right hand at this halfway point and don’t let go! As you stitch, keep those layers pinched all the time as the machine continues along the fabric.
Once your right hand gets up onto the machine bed and nears the foot, stop sewing. match the tail ends of the fabric pieces again, pinch these in your right hand and continue ’till the end of the seam.
This works for short lengths of fabrics, and for long seams.
If, however, you are working with shifty, or slinky, or generally cranky fabric, then it could be issues with the size of needle, the tension, the need for a walking foot etc.
I noticed too, I think it was one of the O+S patterns, that a corner was cut off of the edge of a pattern piece. to reduce bulk in the seam. made for a maddening time of sewing the pieces initially because the corners of the lengths of each layer didn’t match! it did work out, but was a bit of a mind bender since I get into a habit of matching my ends all the time and then, whoops! can’t match them.
Guess Liesl was trying to see if we actually pay attention!12 years agoLiesl GibsonKeymaster@liesl
Sorry about that, Lizabeth. If I recall correctly, that “missing” corner is on the Sunday Brunch jacket sleeve. The corner was VERY pointy, and we thought it made more sense to eliminate the excess seam allowance rather than make you deal with the bulk.
I cheat a bit with my sewing machine and keep the walking foot on my it most of the time. I hate dealing with uneven feeding, and I think the walking foot is an amazing invention that is useful for much more than just quilting and thick layers. It works really well for me, but I have gotten some strange looks from sewing machine dealers when I tell them this about my habits. Anyone else do this too?
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