Doesn't hurt that I have every navy accoutrement known to the sewing goddess.
But, ah, the naivete. Here are some pieces of advice for y'all when next weighing the merits of seam binding:
- Can't say this loudly enough - when you use a woven fabric on a stable knit, it's rough. The likelihood that your knit will get wavy is high.
- If you remove the back zip feature of the dress (because the stretch of your knit obviates the need for it), be really careful about seam binding the waist seam. What you may not realize is that, in the absence of an opening, the waist seam needs to stretch, and it will not when you've wrapped it in a woven fabric. (A propos of this, my dress fits but I do have to smush my boobs somewhat to get the thing on.)
- I recommend 1/2 inch seams with tape that wraps over the seam allowance by 1/4 inch on either side. Because my original seams were 3/4 inch, I had to first baste for fit, rip out the basting stitches and then and cut 1/4 inch off the vertical edges.
- And (predominantly for me, in case I ever try to do this again):
- Start the 2-step attaching of binding process on the wrong side of the fabric.
- Use a 0 setting on your machine (centre the needle rather than right justify it).
- Then, the 1/2 " binding outer edge should be flush with the right side of the presser foot.
- Stitch the left edge of the binding to the raw edge of the fabric, about an 1/8th of an inch in from the edge.
- Stop stitching a bit before the end of the raw edge so that you can fold the raggedy end of the seam binding under before you finish sewing the seam.
- Press from the wrong side.
- Fold the bias tape over the raw edge of the fabric. Press it and ensure you cannot see any stitch lines where the bias tape doesn't fold over the seam quite enough. Trim the raw seam slightly, if necessary, to ensure you can close the fold without seeing any stitches from the seam you've just sewn.
- Stitch from the right side of the fabric about 1/8" in from the edge of the seam binding.
- Press the front.
- I advise against using pins for any of this. It doesn't work, IMO. You just have to feel your tape and your seams and intuit how to keep them aligned. Believe it or not, that's easier than pinning.
- The binding will add bulk to the inside of your garment, but not too much if you use 1/2 inch tape (about as narrow as you can go on a knit) and keep your finished seam allowances to no more than 1/2 inch. Also, tack the seam bound edges to one another where they intersect. Don't bind the raw edge of a cut on cowl. It will show through. I had to rip out the seam binding on my cowl edge. Thank goodness my knit doesn't fray or I'd have had some serious challenges finishing that seam otherwise.
Not gonna lie, the seam binding in the bodice is pretty scary. Partly that's cuz I was using that stupid binding foot (which really doesn't work), the seams were curved and I didn't really know what I was doing...
The reason I'm showing it to you on a hanger, not the dress form, is cuz my dress form's upper bust (just below the shoulders) is wider than my own proportions and I cannot get the woven-seamed waist over that part of the form. Fortunately my upper torso is narrower than it, and my boobs are malleable, or I wouldn't be able to put this thing on. Mind you, once on, it fits PERFECTLY!
Many who have sewn this lengthen the bodice but I don't recommend it unless you are very long in the waist. The idea is that the waist seam comes up fairly high (at the upper end of the true waist). Not quite empire, but moving in that direction. Otherwise the bodice may be baggy.
I cut an inch off the bottom of the skirt and then sewed a one inch hem - and that puts it at knee length, so the thing is pretty long.
Note to new(ish) sewists: The most challenging element of this pattern (never mind seam binding) is the facing-enclosed shoulder seams. It's a very neat finish but it's tricky. Read the instructions on this as many times as you need to, to ensure you've got it covered. Last time I made this dress, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't have enough sewing knowledge to realize it was that the raw shoulder seams should have been hidden by the facing.
Something tells me it's going to be quite a while before I seam bind anything - much less a stable knit (with a woven tape) - ever again.
But all's well that ends well, yes? So what do you think?
Note: I am totally going to show this modeled - it looks very chic - but I have to wait till I don't look like a Chia Pet.