For those of us who don’t have access to a serger, it can be frustrating to sew professional apparel without having straggly, fraying seams after a few washes. That’s why I’m giving you tutorials for my favorite and most versatile serger-free seam finishes! So far in this series we have covered French seams, false French seams, clean finishes, and zig-zag finishes. The last seam finish I want to teach you is a bias bound seam.
Bias Bound Seam
A bias bound seam is a very professional seam finish that leaves no raw edges and can be done without a serger. You might even notice it in high quality ready-to-wear garments (Can you tell I’m a sewing nerd that likes to examine the inside of clothes?). This technique encases the seam allowance in bias binding, covering all the raw edges so that your seams are beautiful!!
Using bias binding takes some practice and patience (I’m still working on it), but it’s so worth it! Unlike the French seam, false French seam, and clean finish it can be used on curves such as the edge of a facing or the armhole seam.
I recommend that you practice all seam finishes on a few scrap rectangles before you sew them onto a project. It might be a good idea to practice this one a little more if you are not familiar with using bias binding.
Sew a 5/8″ seam allowance.
Trim your seam to the desired length. I chose to trim mine a little smaller, but not quite hide the seam stitches. You may choose to trim it so that you cover your stitching from the seam (an example of this is here) or you might want to keep your whole seam allowance.
Now you are going to attach your bias binding. Encase the raw edges of your seam with the binding, using pins to keep everything in place. You can also finish your seams separately if you need to press the seam open.
Using a stitch length of four, slowly and carefully topstitch the bias binding in place, being careful to catch the fold on the opposite side of your seam.
Your seam is finished! Press it to one side as directed in your pattern instructions.
If you get frustrated with this particular seam, don’t give up! Bias binding is one of the most difficult sewing techniques for me. The more I use bias binding and carefully practice, the better I become. Have patience with yourself and you will improve.
Welcome to my third post in the “Finish Seams without a Serger” series. In this series I’m teaching you how to make your sewing more professional even if you don’t own a Serger. So far I’ve already covered how to sew a French seam and a false French seam. Today, I’m showing you how to sew a clean finish.
I first learned to use a clean finish at the edge of a facing, but it can be used in seam allowances as well. This finishing technique is beneficial because it allows you to press the seam open, creating less bulk than sewing the seam allowance all together. It also happens to be my sewing professor’s favorite type of finish. She worked in the garment industry for thirty years before teaching university classes. I soaked everything she told me like a sponge, and the tips I didn’t follow came back to bite me later.
It is made by turning the edges of the seam allowance under, pressing them, and sewing them. It is similar to creating half a hem. Here’s how:
As with all of these, if this technique is new to you I recommend practicing with two scrap rectangles first, as shown here.
Sew a normal seam with a seam allowance of 5/8″.
Press the seam open.
Press the edges underneath so the raw edge is against the fabric of the garment.
Sew along the edge to hold the fold in place.
This technique can also be difficult on very curved seams, but on straight seams it is so simple! If you are a beginner and find it’s hard for you to sew on such a little edge, just take your time and practice lots!