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Teach Yourself to Sew

How to Cut and Sew a Decorative Bias Facing

This facing and binding combination finishes a garment's edge
Threads magazine - 175 - Oct./Nov. 2014

Learn a creative technique that uses bias strips to finish a garment’s edge. This finishing option is a facing and binding combination first shared by Ruth Ciemnoczolowski in “Teach Yourself to Sew: Edge finishes, Part 2,” Threads #175 (Oct./Nov. 2014). It features a decorative edge on the garment’s right side, with the look of a binding finish from the wrong side.

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Use bias strips of a nonraveling, contrasting fabric (such as felted wool crepe) to make an external decorative facing. Cut one bias edge in a shape with a rotary cutter or scissors, attach the opposite edge to the garment, flip the strip to the garment’s right side, and stitch in place.

1. Make a template. Use a rotary cutter with a decorative blade, or design a template (see below) on clear, removable tape, to create a decorative edge. Then, cut a bias strip with your decorative edge on one side plus at least two seam allowances on the other.


2. Sew the strip to the garment. Align the garment’s wrong side edge with the bias strip right side down along the straight edge, and stitch a 1/2-inch-wide seam allowance. Trim the seam allowances to 1⁄4 inch, and fold the strip to the garment’s right side. About 1/4 inch of the strip should be visible from the garment’s wrong side.

3. Secure the edge. Press the decorative edge in place. Then, use two rows of topstitching (about 1/8 inch apart) to secure the edge to the garment’s right side. Be sure to catch the fold on the wrong side in the stitching.


Will you use this decorative facing technique? What are some of your favorite ways to finish edges?


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  1. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #1

    Ruth Ciemnoczolowski is the Houdini of sewing! Though she keeps a secret about as well as an unlocked diary.

    Inventive, with utterly unexpected answers, that are easily understood - Ruth is the wild card which cannot turn up enough.

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