Sally hung her bunting up for Christmas.
So I'd best get this post up too!
I'm going to have a look at making bias binding today.
I've talked about binding before on stretch garments. Bias binding is quite a bit different in that it is for woven fabric. It's a very useful thing to know about. It can be used to make straps, finish edges, finish seams. Bias binding can make the inside of your garments as beautiful as the outside! Oh and it can be used to make bunting which is my current focus. :)
When fabric is woven, it has threads going in two different directions - up and down, and left to right. So if you imagine the vertical threads on a loom here:
The vertical threads are called the warp. They're the stronger threads. Generally when you make a garment, you will be aiming to have the warp threads (the grain line) running straight up and down the figure.
The horizontal threads are called the weft.
If you pull across the warp, or if you pull across the weft, neither direction are stretchy.
However, if the fabric is pulled at a 45° angle, those threads can move and flex a little. That is the bias. Check it out - grab a tea towel, pull across and pull on diagonal corners and see the difference.
Bias cut clothing is cut on an angle. So instead of putting your skirt pattern on the fabric parallel to the selvedge (the firm edge) you put your pattern piece in such a way that the centre line of the pattern piece is on a 45° angle to the edge.
If something is cut this way, it has a little more stretch and movement than it would have if it were cut with a straight grain. This is why bias cut skirts are known for being flattering.
Bias binding is cut on a 45° so that it can be a little flexible, and curve beautifully and smoothly around edges.
Making Bias Binding
To make it, start by drawing a line 45° to the selvedge edge of the fabric. It doesn't matter which side.
You can do that by measuring with a set square or by folding (which is what I did). If you do fold, press carefully and take care not to distort the edge. You can get a feel for the movement of the fabric as soon as you fold it! Cut that piece off on the line.
You then bring this piece around the other side, and stitch it along the selvedge to make a parallelogram. Start with a reasonably wide seam, then trim the seam so that the selvedge is removed as it can behave differently. Press it flat, and you will effectively have this.
Once you've done that, mark out the strips. I made mine 4cm wide and my binding ended up about 16mm wide. I was aiming for 2cm, but I forgot that you need to cut 4x the width plus a little bit, because the stretchiness means it distorts and becomes a bit skinnier. I chose 2cm because I will fold it over the edge, and I want 1cm showing on each side.
I'm making 8m of bunting, so I want 10m of binding. I cut strips accordingly. And then a bit more because I got into a groove.
Because I want a continuous strip (for presumably obvious reasons) I need to connect those strips.
Being mindful of the right side of the fabric, I join them like so.
To press, I first put some music on, because I'm going to be here for a while.
I fold the strip in half along the length and press lightly, as this will form a guideline for the middle.
Then I fold both sides into the middle, and use needles to hold down, exactly as I did for the stretch binding.
I press, and ease it through bit by bit, checking that the edges stay in the centre, lining up with my middle fold.
The result looks like this:
This is how purchased binding looks, although the edges often don't meet in the middle. Sometimes you will see a gap between the edges - folds over 6mm and then a space. It will depend on the width of the binding and what it is made from.
|Commercial stuff looks like this.|
|Iron that too!|
Once I had my fold over binding, I was ready to construct the bunting. I laid out the flags, so I could keep track of the pattern I wanted to assemble them in.
I sewed the first meter of binding on its own, with the folded edge on the right, and the open edge facing away from the machine. I want my stitches a few millimeters from the fold, so I used the edge of the foot as a guide, and moved the needle position slightly.
After the first meter, I stopped and put in my flag. I want to sandwich the raw edge in the folds of the binding.
As I get to the end of one flag, I pick up the next.
Take it slowly and make sure it isn't slipping! With all the pressing done it is fairly co-operative. At the end, I made another metre just of the binding. And it was done!
Be sure to wrap any remaining binding around a piece of card to keep it flat - you want to look after the creases you went to the trouble of putting in.