How To Sew Perfect Professional Level Bias Binding
Whether you’re making a corset or finishing off a dress hem, knowing how to correctly add bias binding to a raw edge will take your project from a made at home, to a couture garment. But on corsets especially, it can be tricky to finish the edges and corners neatly. So follow along with a test piece to hone your skills and finally master this finishing technique. (If you’re familiar with how to sew on bias binding but just find getting the corners perfect a pain then skip ahead to the ‘Finishing Tricky Corners’ section).
Here I have some pink bias binding and what could be the top edge of a corset. The fabric is lined with white cotton coutil and there is a seam along the right edge, much like the back of a corset where you would set your eyelets for lacing up the corset. There is a raw edge along the top which we will be finishing off with our bias binding.
Bias binding is a strip of fabric that has been cut out at a 90 degree angle to the fabric grain. It’s raw edges are folded in and pressed in place. Unfold one of these edges, line it up with the raw edge of your garment and pin it down as shown above. Make sure it is a little longer than your raw edge.
Now run a line of stitching along the crease in the bias binding. Keep slightly to one side of the crease, on the side nearest the raw edge.
Once you’re done it should look like this. You should use a thread color that blends in with your binding and fabric, here I’m using a thick black thread so it’s nice and easy for you to see.
Now fold the binding at the crease you just sewed along and flip the garment over to the back.
Trim the binding edge so there’s only about an inch sticking out from the sewn edge of the garment.
Now we’re going to create a neat corner. First fold in the excess binding so the edge is flush with the garment edge like so…
…then fold the bias binding down and pin it to the back side of the garment. Make sure when you pin it down, that it covers your line of stitching completely and reaches a little further below it. This will make sense in the next step.
Flip back to the front of the garment and sew a line of stitching along the bottom of the bias binding where it meets the garment fabric. Don’t sew through the binding but just below it.
Because the binding on the back reaches that little bit further than your first line of stitching, this second line will go through it, securing the binding on the inside of the garment.
And that’s it, you’re all done. This is what your bound edge should look like from the front. Even with the thick black thread it’s very hard to see that second line of stitching but if you don’t want it to show at all you can hand stitch the bias to the lining on the inside.
And here’s what it looks like on the back (or the inside). I pulled the bias down extra tight at the corner to get it nice and sharp so there’s more excess binding below the stitch line at the corner. With a matching thread color, the inside looks very neat but again if you want it looking perfect you can go ahead and hand stitch the second line of stitching.
FINISHING TRICKY CORNERS
Some edges don’t end in a nice square corner, often you get a pointy corner on a corset or if it has a plunging neckline, a softer, rounder corner. Here’s how to tackle those tricky edges for a perfect finish every time.
Sew your first line of stitching as we did in the above section and flip over to the back.
Now fold in the edge of the bias binding, making sure the folded edge continues the straight edge of the garment. Getting the angle of this crease correct, so it continues this straight edge, is the key to getting the perfect corner.
Now fold down the bias binding as we did in the square cornered example above and secure with pins. Don’t worry about the corner, we will tuck in the excess binding in the next step.
Carefully fold the corner back up and, being careful not to alter that edge crease, tuck in any excess binding protruding past the edge of the garment.
Pin the corner in place, check you’re pleased with how it looks from the front. Feel free to unpin and adjust if you’re not.
TIP: If you’re having trouble getting a crisp point then you can use an iron to set the crease.
Now flip to the front and sew as we did in the previous example above for the square corner. You should now have a nice pointy corner to your bias binding like this.
And here it is from the back.
And here you can see how the binding on the back comes down further than on the front, making it possible to catch it with that second row of stitching but still not making visible from the front.