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Piece a Binding then Machine Applique it in Place

This binding is made up of small pieces of fabric sewn to the garments edge, trimmed to create an irregular edge, and sewn in place with a satin stitch.
Fabrics with a clear motif create an embroidered effect.
These fabrics arent cut on the bias but they shape easily around the neckline curve because the outer edge is not folded under.
This binding is made up of small pieces of fabric sewn to the garments edge, trimmed to create an irregular edge, and sewn in place with a satin stitch.

This binding is made up of small pieces of fabric sewn to the garment's edge, trimmed to create an irregular edge, and sewn in place with a satin stitch.

This technique was a problem solver for me when I was ready to finish the front and neck edges of a pieced and quilted jacket and I realized I didn't have enough fabric to cut a bias binding. I didn't want to face the jacket or introduce a new fabric to the piece either. However, I had enough scraps of the jacket fabrics to piece together a binding – if I didn't obsess about cutting them on grain. And, I reasoned, appliquéing the binding in place would be a continuation of the collage piecing I had used in the jacket. In a later project, I used the same process and a collection of compatible fabrics to make the edge the focal point on a solid-color vest.

My technique for this binding is not definitive and it may vary depending on the fabrics I'm using and the shape of the garment edge. Because it's somewhat of an artistic endeavor, I do a lot of building as I go, pinning in place first then stepping back to check the progress, editing along the way by adding or deleting pieces, and always trusting in my fabric choices. I want the final finish to be pleasing to the eye, but my dressmaking instincts require that it be flat, smooth, and supple. So I follow the same steps I would use in attaching a basic bias binding – carefully cutting the edges with a sharp scissor or rotary cutter, sewing straight using a seam guide, and pressing as I go.

The Process in a Nutshell
Seam the scraps together, cut the edge straight along one side, sew this strip to the wrong side of the jacket, and wrap it over the edge to the right side of the garment – just like sewing on a bias binding. But instead of turning under the remaining long edge and stitching it in place by hand or with a straight machine stitch, cut the edge to a desired shape with scissors, sometimes following the motifs in the fabric. Pin the cut edge in place and sew it to the garment using a machine satin stitch.

  Fabrics with a clear motif create an embroidered effect.

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Comments (14)

Suze Suze writes: I love this idea - thank you for sharing your step-by-step. Regarding the fitting of the edge to the garment, I guess you could cut the seamed edge from a facing pattern piece. And I love the idea of using the technique to improve the shape of a garment - you could lengthen sleeves, pant legs, etc. I've just got the problem of a dress which no longer fits, so I'm thinking of using this as an insert in the seams as well as a neck edge - thank you so much!
Posted: 5:13 am on November 24th

lauraflo lauraflo writes: This is lovely! I remember seeing a similar type of edge-finishing application some years ago. Threads even had an article. I don't remember the author, but it was based more on using triangle pieces of fabric so it gave a jagged or prairie point look to the garment. Would be good with certain garments, but I thought that it was rather limited, depending upon the garment.
However, this is very nice in that it can be varied depending upon the sewer's desire and the design in the fabric used. Thanks so much for sharing this. I want to try it as soon as possible.
Posted: 8:38 am on August 28th

gailete gailete writes: What a great idea!
Posted: 7:26 pm on August 26th

AletaD AletaD writes: How wonderfully clever! And what a great way to use those too-small-for-a-garment-but-too-beautiful-not-to-use fabrics! I also have a couple of tops with necks that are too low and this would be a great way to change the necklines. Thank you for so much inspiration!
Posted: 10:59 am on August 24th

camounts camounts writes: What an imaginative idea. Have been sewing since I was about nine years old. Am now 82 and though not sewing nearly as much I still enjoy being creative. Will try this technique soon. Thanks much.
Posted: 11:26 pm on August 23rd

Barb47 Barb47 writes: I have wonderful older blazers that could use a more casual look. I think I will use this technigue, cut off the lapel, shorten lengths etc and put on this binding with materials to match some pants. I can also see this on regular quilts, placemats, purses, etc. I love this idea!
Posted: 11:05 pm on August 23rd

Hunny Hunny writes: Elegant, Mary Ray!! And innovative - what a great application for a quilt binding too.
Posted: 9:26 pm on August 23rd

MaryRay MaryRay writes: Sewista,
It's not weft-insertion interfacing, but I can see why you would think that. It's a piece of silk fabric -- you can see it in a couple of the other photos -- that I believe is from a vintage Japanese kimono.
Mary Ray
Posted: 8:12 pm on August 23rd

Sewaholic Sewaholic writes: These are fantastic ideas! This is why I love this site! Thanks so much for more inspiring ideas!
Posted: 6:53 pm on August 23rd

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: Very, very unique and creative. You'll love wearing that!
Posted: 6:01 pm on August 23rd

fitswell fitswell writes: This is a wonderful custom effect, giving an opportunity to select fabric that beautifies the face as well as finishes the garment.
Posted: 5:30 pm on August 23rd

thomy thomy writes: I love the organic quality the irregular edge gives it. It is very artful and innovative. Nice work.

Posted: 7:14 am on August 23rd

Sewista Sewista writes: Great technique. Thanks. Just curious, is that weft insertion interfacing underneath the binding on the corner?
Posted: 5:42 am on August 23rd

tinker4u tinker4u writes: What a great idea!
Innovative, creative and beautiful!

Posted: 7:32 pm on August 22nd

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