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Tips & Techniques > French Binding

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Posted by: monijo

About monijo star
Member since: 7/5/08
Reviews: 25 (tips: 23)
Skill level:Advanced
Favored by: 4 people
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Posted on: 7/17/10 3:42 AM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 9 people   

The French binding strip is folded , wrong sides together, and pressed flat. Garment seam allowances are trimmed. The strip is sewn to the garment (raw edges together), with a seam that is the width of the desired finished binding. The application will result in a folded edge on the inside of the garment. The folded edge will be secured by hand stitching or stitching in the ditch.

Easily make a 45 degree template to cut bias strips by folding a sheet of computer or notebook paper on the diagonal so that a bottom edge is even with a side edge. Otherwise, use an isosceles triangle to cut the strips.

Cutting the Binding Strips

Cut the strips 10 times the width of the finished binding (High Fashion Sewing Secrets, Clair Shaeffer).
1/4-inch binding, cut a 2 1/2-inch wide strip;
1/2-inch binding, cut a 5-inch wide strip;
3/8-inch binding, cut a 3 5/8-inch wide strip.

Others recommend cutting the strips 4 times the finished width, plus 1/4-inch (Sewing Fast, Faster, Fastest, Sue Hausmann).

Joining the Binding Strips

1. To join bias strips, place one bias strip vertically, right side up, on a flat surface.
2. Place the second one horizontally, wrong side up, on top of the first.
3. Let the long side of this second strip spread out to the right. The edges of the two strips should be even on the left side.
4. Pin or baste the left hand corners together.
5. Where the two strips meet on the left side that is now basted or pinned together, , draw a diagonal line from the right hand corner down to the left hand corner.
6. Sew along this marked line.
7. Trim the excess fabric 1/8-inch from the seam. Press the seam open or press it to the side.
Methods of Finishing the Ends of the Binding

Flat Method
1. Leave shoulder, underarm or a side seam open.
2. Stitch binding to the right side of the garment, matching raw edges.
3. Press the binding up.
4. Close the open seam and the binding in one pass.
5. Fold the binding over to the wrong side.
6. Secure by hand.

Binding Tucked In and Enclosed
1. Cut one end of the binding on the diagonal.
2. Turn under 1/4-inch and press.
3. Begin attaching the binding with the pressed, turned under end.
4. However, begin stitching 2 to 3-inches from the pressed end.
5. When the starting point is about to be reached, trim the end of the binding so that it is just long enough to tuck into the pressed end.
6. Complete the stitching.
7. Continue with the binding application.

Front, Back or Side Opening
1. Sew in the zipper or complete any other closure.
2. Extend the binding 1/2-inch or more, beyond the garment openings.
3. Stitch the binding to the garment.
4. Press the binding up and away from the seam.
5. Fold the extensions around the ends to the wrong side.
6. Remove bulk if necessary.
7. Fold binding to wrong side.
8. Complete the binding application.

Sewing the Binding to the Garment

1. Select a method for finishing the ends of the binding.
2. Trim away garment seam allowances.
3. Fold bias strip lengthwise. Press flat.
4. From the raw edge (not the fold), chalk mark the desired width of the finished band. Baste along the marking.
5. Pin the binding to the right side of the garment, matching raw edges.
6. Stitch along the basting which will be the desired width of the finished band.
7. Turn the binding up and away from the seam. The folded edge will now be on top. Press flat.
8. Wrap the binding over the seam allowance to the wrong side.
9. Baste the folded edge to the garment. To avoid drag lines, initial pinning should be done from the center to each end.
10. On the right side of the garment, stitch in the ditch, catching the folded edge on the opposite side.
11. Alternative: Invisibly hand stitch the folded edge to the garment.

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ryansmumAria said... (7/19/10 5:19 PM) Reply
thanks This is very helpful. I am going to make a copy to keep handy. This is one of my favorites to use on knit tops but I can never recall what size to start with.
monijo said... (7/18/10 6:40 PM) Reply
j7301, Sorry, that was a mistake. The binding strip is folded WRONG sides together and then pressed flat.
j7301 said... (7/18/10 2:47 PM) Reply
This sounds like a great seam finish. Is it really RIGHT sides together? I am confused. Seems like I would always be seeing the wrong side of the strip. Please clarify for me. The review is so beautifully written; it must be my brain.
abcameo said... (7/18/10 2:33 PM) Reply
Thank you for this excellent, thorough information.
tatica said... (7/18/10 7:45 AM) Reply
Very useful and detailed. I wonder if it's possible to use French binding with knits.
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