Binding In Sewing

This is a strong seam finish ideal for woollens, unlined jackets, etc. It can also be used on exposed edges such as armholes and necklines, or as an alternative to a hem. Binding may either match or contrast with the main fabric.

Use straight seam binding or straight edges and pre-folded bias binding — which is more flexible on curves.

Straight binding Cut to required length. Fold binding over edge with slightly more underneath than above. Tack and machine stitch along edge through all layers.

Bias binding Do not cut to length. Unfold one edge, place on fabric with right sides together, stretching it slightly on inward curves and easing it on outward curves.

Tack and machine stitch along binding fold line. Turn binding to wrong side of fabric and place the second fold to line of stitching. Tack and machine stitch or oversew through all layers.

Making your own binding To cut bias strips, fold a piece of fabric diagonally so that the selvedge lies parallel with the weft. Press the fold lightly with your fingers, taking care not to stretch it.

1-2 Unfold the fabric and, using a ruler, chalk along the crease line. Mark successive lines 4 cm (1 ½ inches) away from this and cut along them to form the strips.

3 To join the strips, cut the ends on the straight grain slanting the same way. With right sides together, place the ends as shown and stitch 5 mm (1/. inch) from edge.

4 Press seam turnings open; trim off protruding corners.

Apply in a similar way to bought bias binding, stitching 10 mm (3/8 inch) from the edge in the first stage and folding under the same amount before stitching the second stage.

At internal corners, clip fabric at an angle and open out so that binding can be applied in a straight line. At external corners, fold the binding diagonally at the angle so it continues at 900 to the first edge. After stitching turn binding to the reverse side of fabric, mitring the fullness neatly at the corners.


Piping is made by enclosing cord in a bias strip which is then sandwiched into a seam to give a ridged decorative appearance. It also adds strength to seams subject to

continual chafing, as in loose covers.

Purpose-made cord is sold for piping and varies from quite a fine diameter for clothing to very thick for furnishing. It is always wise to pre-wash the cord before making up as it is liable to shrink. Cut the bias strips wide enough to wrap round the cord and give a seam allowance along both edges.

Apply the bias strip to the edge as for the first stage in binding. Lay the cord along the centre and fold over the free edge of the strip to lie level with the first edge. If the piping is to be enclosed in a seam, lay the next layer, right side down, on top. Pin, placing the pins at right-angles to the edge.

Fit the piping foot to your machine so that the needle is to the left. Machine stitch through all thicknesses, keeping the needle as close to the edge of the cord as possible.