How to Sew a French Bias Neckline Finish
Follow these directions to create a professional, French bias finish to your necklines and armholes instead of facings which are so, ‘old’ school sewing! Create a sample for yourself using the steps as outlined below. Notes are given at the end of my directions for actual implementation on the real ‘in the round’ situation of a neckline or armhole.
Consider this First…
If you use this technique on an edge that still INCLUDES the seam allowance, you will be raising, or increasing the size of your garment by that seam allowance amount.
THEREFORE, to ‘finish’ as a garment has been designed, do this first:
- Stitch along the STITCHING LINE with a small stitch and trim CLOSELY very carefully. Stitching directionally as taught for Stay Stitching (Shoulders towards centers) is safest to maintain the proper shaping to curved edges.
Cut & Press Bias
- Cut woven bias cut fabric to 6 times the desired finish ‘binding’ width PLUS an extra 1/4″. For a wonderful, almost magic way to cut bias strips, watch my You-Tube video HERE.
- GENTLY press in half, wrong sides together.
Stitch to WRONG SIDE of Garment
- Raw edges matching, lay on the WRONG side of the garment and stitch with the established ‘desired finish width’ as calculated in Step 1. See photo above.
- TRIM a smidgen off, using a rotary cutter and ruler as shown below. I stitched at 5/8″ and am trimming at 1/2″. This yields a clean, even edge for ‘wrapping’ with the bias. The thickness of the doubled bias fabric plus going around the fabric edge will ‘grow’ the edge so that it really is still as you designed the width to begin with. I’ve found this is a VERY IMPORTANT STEP! Do it carefully and accurately.
Press, Wrap and Press to Shape in Place
- Gently, press (do not ‘iron’) the bias edge up, away from the stitching, from the inside of the garment as shown in the photo below.
2. Fold bias around the trimmed edge toward the OUTSIDE of the garment. The bias character will allow the lowermost, folded edge to ‘grow’ exactly as needed to lay flat. Remember to Press with a soft hand, do NOT IRON with a heavy hand!
3. Edge stitch close to the folded edge from the OUTSIDE of the garment. The way I see it, it really doesn’t matter exactly where the bobbin thread of this stitching step ends up on the inside of the garment – it is the OUTER appearance that is the most important.
For a garment on which the shoulder seams are sewn (neckline) or shoulder and side seams are sewn (armhole), I still recommend using a bias that has not been measured and stitched to size of the ‘circle’ edge. Instead, utilize a bias strip that is plenty long. Start and end about 1.5″ from a seam (like the shoulder seam for a neckline, underarm side seam for an armhole). For the Step 3 above, the
Instead, utilize a bias strip that is plenty long – like 4″ longer than the garment. Start and end about 1.5″ from a seam (like the shoulder seam for a neckline, underarm side seam for an armhole). For the Step 3 above, the edge stitching, start and end at least an inch in from where you stitched to attach the bias in the first step. Mark on the bias where the ‘seam’ for the bias should be. Stitch that, trim excess, and finish off with both rows of stitching, in the sequence given.
I’m sure you’ll love this technique and be most pleased with it. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment, or even email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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