You can make a garment with seams that you have overlocked, but sometimes you want to make a garment look a little nicer or it just makes sense to use a certain type of seam with that fabric. Next in the series For the Beginner (see also Some Tips, Sewing Tips 2, For the beginner #1, a plain seam, and For the beginner #2, a French seam) is bias tape and a bias-bound seam.
Bias tape is made by cutting strips of cloth along the bias (as opposed to along the lengthwise grain, which is parallel to the selvage, or along the crosswise grain, which is parallel to the cut ends). These strips are then run through a bias-tape maker at home or a big folding machine in the factory and generally come in two widths. Single fold bias tape is this. Double fold bias tape is then folded in half, well, with more like 55% on one side and 45% on the other. You can use single fold bias tape on a hem–one edge is sewn to the edge of the hem and the other edge is machine- or hand-sewn to the skirt/pant leg/whatever. It is double fold bias tape that is used to bind a seam.
To make a bias-bound seam, you first make a plain seam and press it either so the seam allowances are one on each side of the seam (pressed open/butterflied) or all on one side of the seam. Then take double fold bias tape, fit it around the edge of the seam allowance, and stitch it on. Make sure you have the narrower side up. You can use bias tape that matches the fabric or you can use any color that won’t show through on the right side. I used contrasting thread so it would show up in the photo a little better. This method is good for fabrics that like to ravel. If using a really thick fabric, you’ll have to use the wider bias tape or make your own even wider.
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