Want a really professional finish to your corset making? Then make your own bias binding.
Don’t get me wrong I use the pre-made bias binding a fair bit, but for when the shop bought plain colors just don’t sit right with your beautiful corset fabrics, go one better and make your own. It also means you can customize the width of the binding, so if you have tighter corners you can make it thinner to cope better with the harder turns. Thinner binding is also easier to handle when your learning how to make a corset.
Different widths of binding
Sounds great you say? Well lets get going!
You’ll need to have bought (or go back out and buy) a bit extra fabric in your chosen corset material. A half meter, or even a quarter meter will just about do but bare in mind the narrower it is the more joins you’ll have.
You need to grab a set square with a 45degree angle or take a piece of paper and fold the top edge down so it meets the left edge and flatten (45degrees is just half a 90degree angle like the one at the corner of a piece of paper). Now place the 45degree triangle against the edge of your material at the top and draw along the diagonal. Use a ruler to continue the line across the material to the other side. Use the angle and ruler to draw more lines all the way down your fabric which you will cut along to make your bias strips. You need to make sure your strips are four times the width you want your binding to be as you will be folding the strips in half twice to make the binding. So a half inch binding will require 2inch strips. Join your strips together by lining the edges up right-sides together and sewing them together with a small seam allowance of about 5mm. Then open out and press open the seam allowance before trimming it so no seam allowance sticks out beyond the edge on the right side.
Now for the folding! You can get a little folding tool that you push the binding through and pull out the other side folded. You just pull the binding through and iron as it comes out. But if you don’t have time to go out and get one you can fold the binding in half and iron it, then open it again and fold each raw edge into this center crease and iron again. Once both edges are folded into the center and ironed flat your done!
First let me explain to those new to corset making who don’t know; what bias binding is and where it goes. If your just learning how to make a corset you may not have come across it yet but bias binding is the stuff that goes along the top and bottom edge of your corset. It incloses the raw edge and finishes the corset – in short it makes the corset look professional.
Now, again, if your new to corsetry you may be forgiven for thinking that all binding is created equal, but any seasoned seamstress will set you straight on that. O no no, if you’ve ever seen a cheap website with those £20 – £50 corsets and wondered why the edging is rucked up and creases round the curves of the bust and under arm area, I can tell you now its because bias binding wasn’t used.
As the name suggests its strips of material cut on the bias. The edges are then folded in to the middle and the whole thing is folded in half again to inclose the raw edges. The important thing about cutting on the bias is the way the binding can stretch on the diagonal. This allows it to stretch round curved edges leaving a smooth wrinkle-less finish. So when you make a corset don’t finish off your edges without it – make sure you use bias binding.
Some of My Bias Binding in Satins and Cottons
Its important when sewing corsets to use bias binding on your corset edges both top and bottom because, as we discussed in the last post, the stretch properties of fabric cut on the bias allows it to go round the undulating curved edges of your corset without puckering up or leaving unsightly wrinkles.
When your learning how to make a corset its a good idea to learn how to check the binding you have is cut on the bias. You can do this by having a close look at the fabric its made of to see which way the grain runs. If its clear the grain is running diagonally across the length of the binding you know you have the right stuff. Also look for the joins in the binding, these will normally also be diagonal. If still in doubt lay it on a flat surface and bend the binding into a gentle curve, how does it react? If you can smooth it down with your finger and it doesn’t wrinkle at the inner edge of the curve then its bias binding.
Stay tuned as tomorrow I’ll be telling you how to make a corset its very own bias binding in matching fabric!