By far the most common way to bias bind an edge is to completely cover the edge, essentially “sandwiching” it with a bias piece. My sewing instructor a year or so back said frankly that it’s very… “home sewing.” Then again, she did teach a more commercial sewing style! However, even in the commercial world, bias binding edges is pretty common. I used this “sandwich” style in the pattern + leopard summer blouse in a previous post. The technique I used in the polka dot summer blouse will be the one outlined here.
The first step is constructing bias binding, of which there are tons of tutorials online. Whatever the width is, press in half, then press one side in, for a total of 2 creases. In my example, I’m using bias binding that was all ready closed up- so it’s not necessary to only have 2 creases, but it just makes it easier to keep track of.
For straight edges you don’t have to do this part, but for curves, it’s very important to steam and press the bias strip into a slight curve- it makes it easier to pin, especially to armholes, etc. Because it’s a bias band, it’ll curve up easily.
Pin, with right sides together, the unpressed side of the bias strip to the garment. Stitch with the appropriate seam allowance. In this case, I used a 1/4″ seam allowance for this mock sleeve edge.
The following step involves a lot of iron work, which shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re working with a good woven fabric. If you’re doing this technique with a chiffon or anything light like that, you’ll have to have a lot of patience! Go slowly!
Press the bias strip to the curve, making sure to press cleanly along the stitch line. Then turn the bias strip in on itself, using the pre-pressed creases to to completely inclose the raw edges. At this point I would definitely make sure to pin everything in the closed position and steam the heck out of it; you don’t want this part to come undone when you take it to the sewing machine.
Turn the binding to the “back” or wrong side. Be sure the bias strip seam is slightly more inside the garment, unless you want a little bit of it peaking out along the edge! I usually press again at this point, just to make sure nothing wiggles.
Stitch along the edge, essentially catching the edge closest to the curve, and closing the bias strip. For this tutorial I used between a 1/8″ and 1/16″ seam. If you’d like to add some decorative stitches, the bias facing strip also serve as a great base for that.
I particularly like this for very sharp sleeves where turning the fabric would be difficult to do. In Gertie’s Book for Better Sewing, the Portrait Blouse (which was the pattern for my Summer Blouses), Gertie recommends to use the turned hem technique, which was too annoyingly tricky to do. The technique outlined here is so much faster and looks so much better when all is said and done.