1. As part of the Spring Basics Palette, Vogue 8413 is the pattern I'm constructing for a second time. I decided that "pretty" is the order of the day. As such, I opted to seam bind all raw edges, rather than to serge (clean but not elegant).
To complicate matters, I'm using orange double knit (a fabric with stretch) as my fashion fabric. Seam binding is not a stretch fabric. I suspect this is the basis of my hideous challenges (see below)
2. This is seam binding:
3. Not to be confused with bias tape (though, effectively, they do the same thing):
4. This is a seam binder foot:
Somehow I bought one of these - for 30 bucks! - when first I started sewing, even though I had no idea of what to do with it.
One uses this foot to wrap and sew bias tape or seam binding over the raw fabric edge. The process is deceptively challenging.
4. Bias tape is folded over at the edges to produce a crisp edge finish. However, the net result is that it adds 4 layers of bulk to finish the seam when you sew it on. That's a total of 5 layers?!
5. Seam binding is like bias cut ribbon. It only adds 2 layers of bulk over raw edges. It's the winner when it comes to keeping the garment as sleek as possible on the wrong side.
6. That's why I decided to use seam binding on every visible raw edge of this dress. There are approximately 8000 of said seams. That means I need about 4 zillion yards of tape. I have about three.
7. Seam binding has been wretched, in my limited experience, to apply to the seams. It shifts, it puckers, it avoids stitching down where it puckers. My workmanship, even after going over it many times and steaming the crap out of things, is hideous. I've spent hours accomplishing very little I care to show you.
Now, I don't know whether it's easier to use the binder foot to apply bias tape (the more structured, folded-over option) but I may have to find out as I'm almost out of the seam binding.
Can't say how much I hate having undertaken a project all about making seams pretty (although that's failed) and now I'm about to run out of my finishing product. It's not so pretty when you switch up seam tape for bias tape half way through. For one thig, bias tape adds bulk, and even though both types of tape are navy, they have different textures and tones.
So peeps who know something about this, please enlighten us:
- I'm using "no name" seam binding. Is Snug Hug a better brand? Or does it all pucker when you use that stupid binder foot??
- Is it the use of woven tape over stretch fabric that's making my experience so horrible? (Note that I'm not stretching the fabric as I sew. I have to hold the fashion fabric with my left hand as I ensure that the seam binding isn't screwing up with my right hand. That means I have nothing to do with the fabric as it meets the needle and comes out behind it. I usually hold the back of the fabric, the sewn part, with my left hand.)
- Does one improve at this over time?
- Is it just a stupid, time-consuming method?
- Should one simply use bias tape - not the less-layered seam binding, to undertake the finishing of individual seams?
- I need to find a way to avoid making this any uglier than it already is. I'm thinking of turning the centre back seam (I'm omitting the zipper - I don't believe it will be necessary given the stretch in the fabric) a faux or regular french seam to avoid the need to apply any kind of binding tape of any sort. But I wonder if it will add more bulk? (I'm committed to using the rest of my seam binding on the side seams because I've finished the bodice that way and I want to be as consistent as possible.)
Let me wrap this up by advising that, from a distance, the navy seam binding over the orange double knit is very elegant. I can get with sucking at this technique, on this garment, if there's some hope of improving. Of course, spending 12 times as long on a dress than I would otherwise have done, just to make crappily finished seams is somewhat demoralizing. But I don't want to be so dependent on my serger that I can't use other methods.
And, seriously, that I can attempt this with even a small amount of confidence is a sign that my sewing skills are vastly stronger than they were 2.25 years ago, when first I started sewing
Please give me your expert feedback. oxoxo