There are so many ways to finish necklines and armholes. You can really pick and choose the best way that compliments fabric you are working with or the final look of the garment you are going for. I have a tutorial on how to finish neckline with a facing for a clean finish here. You can also do a clean finish with a lining, or you can go with original finish of bias tape. Nothing wrong with any of these methods! I use them all. I chose my neckline finish method based on the fabric I am working with and final look of the garment I am going for, even if it is not what pattern instructions call for.
I love exposed bias binding on a neckline. I think it makes a garment interesting texturally and visually. In this post I will walk you through the steps of how I sewed this exposed bias binding on my latest Orla dress.
The idea is that you pretty much finish the binding on the outside, rather than the inside. It is not very difficult, but can mess with your mind a bit if you’ve only been sewing bias binding on the inside.
Visible Bias Binding Tutorial
I will not be walking through a full dress sewing tutorial, as it is rather simple and very similar to sewing the bodice of Orla. The only pointers would be to press the front darts down and the back darts towards center back.
You can attach your sleeves either before finishing the dress or as one of the last steps. It really doesn’t matter. The only things you have to have done by the time you finish the neckline is to sew the shoulder seams and press them open, and sew the zipper into the center back seam.
So let’s start off with the binding finish.
First, I pressed little bit more than a third of the width of the binding to the inside. Gray is the right side of the fabric on the diagram below.
I love pressing the creases into the hems and folds before sewing, it makes things so much easier later on!
Pin the binding to the neckline, ensuring right side of the binding is facing the wrong side of the garment.
Sew and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″. press the binding away from the rest of the dress. We will not be under stitching the binding here, as it will be visible from the right side.
Although there is a way to understitch the binding if you really need to. You would have to press the folded binding away from the bodice, and seam allowances onto the bodice. You can then stitch seam allowance onto the bodice, close to the neckline seam ensuring you do not catch the binding.
Roll the binding, together with the seam allowance to the right side and pin to the bodice, enclosing the seam allowances in between the binding and bodice. Fold the ends of the binding under so that they are sandwiched in between the binding and the bodice. Sew close to the edge of the binding.
Note that I did not wrap the extra binding around seam allowance. The seam allowance also got rolled onto the right side, so that the seam is just on the inside of the neckline.
Give it all a nice press and go on with the rest of the dress. That’s it! It is not hard, but I do find the very first step when I pin the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the bodice messes with me every time I do it.
Let me know if you think a fully illustrated tutorial on how to make a shift dress would be useful. If so I will find time to have it done. Also, let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions! So many of you are very knowledgeable and I love learning things I didn’t know and new ways to sew.
Linda Sutton says
Your dress looks beautiful and I love the bias binding, but please would you tell me what width you cut the fabric. Many thanks
Linda, that is a great question! Sorry for not including that in the description. I usually calculate my binding width when I sew the garment and I vary it depending on the look I am going for. Let’s say I want my finished binding to be 3/8″, I will double that amount and add the neckline seam allowance to it, as well as another 1/4″ to account for the fold of the cloth. In this case my binding was 3/8″+3/8″+3/8″ (seam allowance in this pattern)+1/4″ = 1 3/8″.
I hope that makes sense!