In Sewing

bias tape is my friend

After sharing photos of my Fourth of July button-up shirt, a few of you wanted to see how I used bias tape on the neckline and hem. I also recently wrote a blog post for Craftsy about bias tape being the duct tape of the sewing world, so I figured I could elaborate a little bit on my love for it.

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I use bias tape to bind armholes all the time, but this was the first time I used it to finish a stand-less collar or a shirt hem. I usually do a back neck facing when sewing a shirt with a 1940s style collar, but I didn’t feel like drafting that piece this time so I opted for a strip of bias tape instead.

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I wasn’t following any kind of instructions for this part, and there are probably better ways to do it, but my “wing it” method worked out just fine. I left the last inch of the the front lapel facings free from the neck seam, then used single fold bias tape to enclose the raw edge of the collar. After that was stitched down, I top stitched the free edges of the lapel facings down along the shoulder seams in order to conceal the ends of the bias tape along the neck. …I’m not sure I explained that very well but hopefully you get the idea from the photos. Basically the bias tape encloses the raw edge of the collar all the way across the neck and partly under the lapel facings. Top stitching the lapel facings into place ensures everything stays down on the inside.

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My sheer fabric was starting to fray unevenly at the bottom, so I decided to use bias tape there too instead of attempting to turn up a 1/4th inch hem. I wish I had used this method on previous shirts because it was so much easier for me than a traditional hem. It took half the time, and I had no issues with wrinkling at the curved hip portion of the hem line. It was awesome!

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I originally learned how to use bias tape as a binding through a Colette tutorial, so that’s the method I’ve always used for arm and neck openings. Ideally I would have used an off white colored bias tape but I only had white in my stash so that’s what I went with. From the outside of the shirt you can’t tell it’s the wrong color so I don’t mind.

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Well there’s an inside peek at my latest make for those who wanted to see! If you haven’t used bias tape to turn up a curved hem yet, I highly recommend it. I’m kicking myself for not using it on button-up shirts before!

Bias tape is definitely my friend.

xo
Rochelle

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  • Hello Rochelle,

    Nice shirt! A really pretty interpretation of the red white and blue theme.

    Bias binding is definitely the quickest and easiest way to neaten seams that are difficult to enclose any other way. I know I’m going to start sounding like an old lady, but I do get fed up with the fact that most bias binding in the shops these days isn’t 100% cotton, and can be up to 60% polyester, which doesn’t curve as well, and which can be a real nuisance if you are making a garment in cotton that will need a really hot iron.

    Here are a couple of posts from my blog you might find interesting;-
    http://lizzielenard-vintagesewing.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Armhole%20Seams
    http://lizzielenard-vintagesewing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/a-summer-top-in-oakshott-cotton.html

    I’m going to do posts soon showing how I attach a collar with a bias strip, curving the strip in advance.

    Meanwhile, I’m already looking forward to Fall for Cotton, I enjoyed Sew for Victory so much!

    Love from England, Muv aka Lizzie Lenard

  • This is awesome! I will have to try it – I just keep forgetting that it even exists. Shame shame shame!

    Also, I adore the fabric you chose!

  • Oh that shirt is great! Very neat and tidy looking inside of your fab shirt. Isn’t it always nicer to wear something that looks nice on the inside too. Even if no one else see you know it’s done all the way. Very inspiring!

    I love bias tape too, I have this bias tape-thingy that makes it easy to make bias tape from straps of fabric, I love to use that when I sew something plaid or striped to get the pattern on the bias…

    Been reading your blog for a long time but this is my first comment, don’t know why it took me so long, better late than never at least! πŸ˜‰

    Have a great day/ Olivia (from sweden)

    • Thanks for stopping by to say hi, Olivia! I agree, better late than never πŸ˜‰ I have one of those bias tape makers too and they’re awesome! I’m going to make my own bias tape next time πŸ™‚

  • oh wow, this is EXACTLY what I need for my stalled pajamas project–it has a standless collar too, and i bought it sans directions, so I had no idea what to do to finish that little bit. Thank you, Rochelle!!! ahhhhh!

  • Rebecca

    Thank you! Can’t wait to use this method. Your shirt is ab fab!!

  • Awesome analogy!!! (Re: duct tape of the sewing world) It’s pretty handing in the paper crafting realm as well and often shows up in shabby chic type projects in particular, where it can often lend an aged, vintage feel to projects (especially in hues like cream and dusty rose).

    β™₯ Jessica

  • I’m kinda not getting the part about attaching it to the neckline. Perhaps reading, re-reading, and then, reading it again will help. Either way, thanks a bunch for showing this, Rochelle.

    I am thinking lately that bias tape and piping – I’ll have to starting storing and stashing because I love ’em.

    Cheers,

    Lyric
    http://www.sewcroandquilt.wordpress.com

  • Love this idea! I just scored a bunch of great bias tape at a yard sale, so now I know just what to do with it. Stoked to have found your blog. Going to catch up on reading it all now πŸ™‚

    • Hi Meg! Well thanks for stopping by to say hello. I’m happy this post was helpful for you πŸ™‚

  • Brilliant tip for the bottom hem – I’m about to make a blouse with a curved hem and have been anticipating lots of wrinkles! This should save me a lot of stress, thank-you! x

    • The bias tape really makes a big difference! Let me know how it works out for you πŸ™‚

  • misscrayolacreepy

    I have never thought about using it for a hem, what a great idea!!! And you could get wild with contrasting colors too. Thanks for the tip!

    • Yeah I want to try some some contrasting bias tape next!

  • Such a cool idea to do that on the hem, I’ll definitely have to try that if I have a curved hem on a shirt… actually maybe not even just curved, since it cuts down so much bulk anyway!

    • You know I wasn’t even thinking about it cutting down on bulk, but you’re totally right! It definitely helps with that.

  • Hi Rochelle. I just love bias tape for hemming etc. as it gives such a neat and defined finish to armholes and hems. I also like to get a bit crazy and if the fabric density allows I’ll use a totally contrasting bias on the inside seams and hems. Love your shirt. Look forward to seeing many more. Ann x

  • Claire

    Hi, I love this blouse! I’m going to copy your bias hem on my next shirt. After seeing your pink and lemon Archer shirt I bought the pattern. I’ve made a shirt and have the same wrinkling you describe on my shirt. I will probrably make my own bias though so it matches. I like making bias binding. I’m loving all the blouses you keep posting!

    • Rochelle

      Awesome, I’m glad you got the pattern! I’m sure your version will be amazing πŸ™‚

  • Your shirt is almost as pretty inside as out! I have long loved bias tape! I have used it for all of the above, plus for bound seams (aka: Hong Kong finish). I love how neat and tidy that makes a garment look inside. :o) I reeeeally love making my own bias tape out of cute printed fabrics!!!

    http://www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

    • Thank you so much! Sometimes I think making your sewing projects look pretty on the inside is a whole separate skill, and it’s one I neglected for a long time. I really love the Hong Kong finish too! It’s time consuming but worth it. I bought a bias tape machine from Jo-Anns during a sale and it was some of the best money I ever spent.

  • Your shirt is darling! Whenever I need to maximize length, I use bias tape for hems, and it’s a lifesaver. And I cut extra wide bias strips to hem my last circle skirt which was wonderful too–it made hemming all that curve so much easier!!

    • Thanks Qui! That’s a great idea for maximizing length actually since you’d only take up a fraction of the actual hem. I wish I thought of that for some of the dresses I’ve sewn in the past!

  • chantel

    so neat and clean!!!

  • Bias tape is my all time favourite method of hemming dresses or skirts as well, especially on curved hems. It makes things so much easier and the bias facing adds a really nice shape to the hem! I usually hand-stitch mine down for an invisible result.

    • I did a hand stitched hem with bias tape on the last skirt I made and I agree it’s a beautiful finish!