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Embellishments: How to Create Artistic Bindings

Threads magazine - 162 - Aug./Sept. 2012
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For a creatively bound garment edge, try an appliqué binding. Use a fabric’s woven or printed design to best advantage, as shown in this one-piece, silk dupioni binding.

If standard bias-bound garment edges leave you cold and uninspired, my alternative binding technique offers a fresh way to finish edges. An appliquéd binding creates a beautiful finish and embellishment in one and offers ample opportunity for artistic expression.

This technique originated as a quick fix when I discovered I didn’t have enough uncut fabric left to make a bias binding on a pieced, quilted jacket. I didn’t want to face the jacket or introduce another fabric to the garment. But there were enough fabric scraps to piece together a binding—as long as I didn’t obsess about cutting them on the true bias. The pieced binding also complemented the jacket’s collaged effect.

You can piece an appliqué binding, as I did for my collage jacket and the vest shown on page 24, or you can cut it as a single unit, as shown at left. Use it at any garment edge you wish. Sewn from coordinating fabrics or just one special fabric, it creates a work-of-art edge that stands out on any garment. If the pieced aesthetic doesn’t appeal to you, a one-piece binding is an attractive alternative.

Both styles look similar to an exposed facing. The difference is that an appliqué binding wraps the seam allowances and the garment’s edge, and an exposed facing encloses the seam allowances on the garment’s right side.

I’ll show you how to make a pieced binding and a one-piece binding, along with two ways to shape and finish the outer edge. Creating an appliqué binding is an artistic endeavor. It’s helpful to pin together the sections for a pieced binding, place them on the garment edge, then step back to consider the effect and add or remove pieces as necessary. The result must be pleasing…

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