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Stabilizing a Bias Seam (on formalwear?)

kbalinski | Posted in Fitting on

I’m altering a prom dress, and need some advice.  The center back has been lowered, producing a “bias” seam from the side under arm area(outer edge of halter bodice) to the center back.  Aside from interfacing, what else can I do to prevent the fabric edge from gapping?  I cut a facing on-grain to prevent the fabric from stretching on the bias, but wonder if it’s the best strategy?

Kristine in Michigan


  1. woodruff | | #1

    Scroll about halfway down this page to see what Kleibacker does to snug up bias edges:http://dept.kent.edu/museum/exhibit/kleibacker/collection.htmThe technique has also been showcased in at least one article in Threads magazine, but basically, it involves cutting a straight strip the desired length of the edge you're dealing with and then ease-pinning that unstable edge to the stabilizer strip. It's the same as taping the bias roll line of a jacket lapel to prevent gaping at the bustline.

    1. kbalinski | | #2

      Thanks, I forgot about that article (and I have that issue!).  I will dig it out and read it through!

  2. alotofstitches | | #3

    A tip I learned a long time ago is to keep all selvages of lining (cut about 1/2" wide) to be used as stabilizing strips.  I sew this selvage strip into the seam as I sew the top edge of stapless or bias edges.  It stops the "give" like nothing else!  I wrap the selvage strips onto the cardboard from seam binding, etc. to save and I always have a color that works.  Or you could spend $ & buy seam binding to use.

    1. Ocrafty1 | | #4

      I learned that tip here (possibly from you), and it works like a dream! Now I trim the selvage from nearly every piece of stable fabric that I use. That way, if I'm working on a piece that I didn't make...usually altering for a client, but it could be RTW... I have something I can use.  The weight of the selvage fabric can make a big difference, so having a large selection makes things much easier.


      1. Josefly | | #5

        This is quite off-topic, I know, but speaking of selvages... Somewhere online I recently saw quilts pieced from the selvages of fabrics. They were very pretty, and lots of the selvages had interesting prints, color-stamps, or writing on them. They were pieced in unique ways. Soon this quilter had all her sewing friends sending her their selvages. Neat idea, I think. Don't you just love the art created from something that might well be hastily discarded?

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