Finish Seams without a Serger: Bias Bound Seam

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 seamsclean 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.

Tutorial:

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.

Step One:

Sew a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Step Two:

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.

Step Four:

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.

Step Five:

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.

Love, Jess

 

 

Finish Seams without a Serger: How to Sew a French Seam

Hello friends! This is the first post in a series that teaches you how to finish your seams without a serger. I know most beginners and some intermediate sewers don’t own a serger. In fact, I’ve never owned a serger (lately I’ve been using my M-I-L’s), so I’ve had to come up with ways to make my sewing look professional without a serger. This means I need to finish the seams in some way so they don’t look raggedy and bleh.

In this series I’ll share with you my favorite ways I’ve learned to finish a seam. Many of them are relatively simple, they just take a little planning and ironing. Today I’m going to jump right in and teach you the first (and my favorite) one: French seams.

French Seams

The way that French seams are sewn encases the raw edge of the fabric inside the seam, making a beautifully finished little edge on the inside. This makes them perfect for sheer fabrics where you can see the seam through the outside of the shirt.

I recommend only using them on straight seams, or almost straight seams. I’m pretty sure even the best seamstress couldn’t figure out how to sew a French seam around a sleeve…or could they? I’m not sure, but I stick to the straight seams.

The Tutorial

In order to practice this you can use to scraps of fabric with straight edges. This is a really good idea if you’ve never used this method before. It will give you a chance to make mistakes without messing up your sewing project.

Step One:

Place your edges right sides out and sew your seam with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Finishing Seams without a Serger_ How to Sew a French Seam

 

Step Two:

Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″ and fold the fabric over it, press.

Finishing Seams without a Serger_ How to Sew a French Seam

Step Three:

Using the folded seam as your edge, sew/topstitch another seam with 3/8″ seam allowance, encasing the raw edge. Your fabric will be right sides together now.

Finishing Seams without a Serger_ How to Sew a French Seam

Step Four:

Press your seam to one side and admire how beautiful and professional it looks.

Finishing Seams without a Serger_ How to Sew a French Seam

It doesn’t have to be really hard to make your sewing look more professional. It just comes down to paying attention to detail and taking the time to polish your work. Look forward to the rest of the series! I’ll be posting another seam-finishing guide every Tuesday.

Love, Jess

Check out the rest of the posts at Create Link Inspire here.

 

The Paper Bag Trick (a Beginner’s Sewing Tip)

I realize that lots of the sewing tutorials I post might seem scary or too intense for a lot of beginners out there. I want this blog to make sewing accessible to everyone, so I’m going to start a series of posts specifically for the beginners out there. We’ll start with a trick that streamlines the sewing process, but that I forget to utilize too often! I’ll call it the paper bag trick.

 

Why use the paper bag trick?

The paper bag trick helps keep your workspace clean(er). It also encourages you to cut off strings AS you sew, instead of waiting until the end. This is important, because when you wait until then end you miss more threads, making your finished project less professional. You can use the little “blade” on the back of the presser foot on your machine to trim threads, or keep little scissors close. I sometimes prefer using scissors because I can be more precise, but it’s much more time effective to use the machine, and I know professionals who swear by it.

The Paper Bag Trick: A Beginner's Sewing Tip to Streamline your Sewing Process | stitchesandsunflowers.com

It’s as simple as this:

Take a paper bag and fold down the top a few times to make a cuff. This helps to hold the bag open

Tape one edge of the bag on the edge of the table next to your sewing machine.

Cut off strings as you sew and drop them in the bag. This keeps your sewing area clean. If you leave strings on the table around your machine, they tend to stick all over whatever you are sewing as you work.

When you clean up your workspace, dump the strings out of your bag and save the bag for the next project.

That is really all there is to it!

I was uncertain if I should share such a simple tip, but I was quite impressed when I learned it as a beginner. I also thought writing about it would maybe help me actually put it into practice (finally). 🙂 If you don’t want to buy paper bags to try this, check out my diy un-paper bag tutorial to make your own (hint: it’s beginner friendly!).

As a beginner, what sewing tips would help you improve your sewing? Is there something you’ve been dying to try, but just aren’t sure how? Let me know in the comments.

Love, Jess