Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tips: French binding

Studying RTW garments is a great way to find new tricks for your own sewing. I noticed that my knit garments are often finished with some sort of binding, not with facings, bias tape, or narrow hems as so many patterns suggest. I searched my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing and found an explanation of this method, called French binding:

Inside view, neckline.

Outside view, neckline.

To create this finish, cut a strip of fabric (doesn't have to be coordinating, make it fun and use contrasting!) twice the desired finished width plus two seam allowances. Cut the length to match the opening you're finishing, plus 2" for maneuvering (photos below from the Reader's Digest book).

Fold the strip with WRONG sides together and then pin, RST, to the garment opening, with raw edges aligned. Sew the binding to the garment. Clip the seam allowances and use an iron to press the binding away from the garment, and then fold the whole thing over to the wrong side, wrapping around the seam you just sewed. 

You can slip stitch the binding to the inside of the garment, or sew a regular machine stitch, which will show on the outside. I LOVE this finish for knits because it's fast and easy, and all raw edges are nicely enclosed. You can use this finish on necklines and armholes.

Has you used this method before? How did you like it?


  1. I've done this the opposite way around, sewing it to the wrong side and flipping it to the right side to stitch. That looks fine on more casual tees, I think, but I'll keep this method in mind when I don't want the binding to show. Thanks!

    1. That's a good idea, too! It would be fun to add a pop of color on the outside using that method.


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