bias tape is my friend

July 7, 2014

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.