Have you seen the gorgeous new Plumeria pattern?
It has quickly become a staple in our house- it makes the perfect little summer dress or top. Plumeria is made using binding, and if you are new to binding (or just need a little help perfecting your binding) you may feel intimidated by this technique. But don’t worry, it is actually a lot easier than it looks! If you’re wanting some help improving your binding skills, we’ve got you covered. Read on for plenty of information to get gorgeous binding every time. You can also head over to the Boo and Lu YouTube channel and watch this video on binding tips and tricks!
Using a Binding Attachment
The easiest way to get perfect binding is to use a binding attachment for your coverstitch machine or binding presser foot for your sewing machine. Today, I am going to show you how to bind using a very common binding attachment, which you can buy here on Amazon. It is compatible with many coverstitch machines and is reasonably priced. There are many other binding attachments on the market; you can find the one that works best for you.
Setting Up Your Binder
The first step in using this attachment is setting it up with your machine. This attachment comes with the coiled wire on a hinge so it can fold up smaller; if it is folded, open it up so that the coils extend behind the binder, as shown. Next you will choose how to secure it to your machine. For mine, I purchased the attachment plate and used screws to secure together, and the front pegs of those screws insert into the slot on my machine. I also put in a screw through the hole on the back of the plate. I insert this screw into the slot of the machine as well, then open up the machine and twist on the back of the screw to secure. You can also use painter tape or similar to secure the binder to your machine. Adjust the binder so that the opening that will feed your fabric to your presser foot is lined up with your needles.
Threading Fabric Through Your Binder
When I cut my binding fabric, I always cut my binding strip several inches longer than the pattern piece requires. I do this so that I can get the binding feeding through the machine cleanly, and then add in my fabric that will be bound. I then trim the excess at the end. This gives a much cleaner finish. Once I have cut my strip, I will take the end that will feed through first and cut it into a point. It is much easier to thread the fabric through the binder this way.
To thread the fabric through the binder, start with your fabric main facing away from you. It may feel like this will make your fabric upside down, but don’t worry! Once it folds in on itself it will be just right. Thread your fabric in and out through the coiled extension, then continue feeding through the binder. When you get through the end, pull it out and watch the binder do its magic, folding your fabric for you! I like to use tweezers to pull it out and line it up under my presser foot. Holding your needle threads, begin sewing, just a few stitches to make sure your binding fabric is feeding through nicely. Then, you will line up your main fabric with the center of the binder opening, and continue sewing, allowing the machine to carry your fabric with your binding fabric. When you get to the end, simply trim any excess fabric.
Using a Binder to Sew Continuous Binding/Straps
When sewing Plumeria, you are using one long strip of binding fabric to construct the straps and back bodice. You can still do this with your binding attachment! Cut your binding strip several inches longer than it needs to be. I like to be fairly generous here because I can always trim excess and I don’t want to be stuck without enough! Note in the pattern instructions how long your finished straps need to be. Begin sewing your binding and continue sewing just the binding until you have at least enough sewn for your finished strap length. Then you will begin feeding in your bodice piece beginning where it shows you in the tutorial. Once you have sewn around your entire bodice, continue to sew your binding strip until you reach the end. Press, and then measure your straps, and trim to match your pattern cutting instructions.
Binding With a Binding Foot
Another option for a binding attachment is using a binding presser foot on your sewing machine. Every machine will need a different foot, so check to see which one is available for your particular machine. For my machine, I find that I have the most success if I press my binding fabric well before feeding it through the foot. From there, it works exactly like on my coverstitch binding attachment. First, I feed the strip through. Then I always like to sew a few stitches to get it started before adding in my main fabric. At the end, I trim the excess. The nice thing about the binding foot for your sewing machine is that you can use it for binding both knit and woven fabric, by changing your stitch type.
Binding Without a Special Attachment
No binding attachment or foot? No worries! You can still get beautiful binding using just your sewing machine (and/or serger and coverstitch if you have one!). Simply follow the instructions in your Plumeria tutorial to sew your binding fabric to your main fabric, then fold and press it over, and top stitch.
The tutorial will instruct you to begin by sewing your binding fabric right side to your main fabric wrong side. This is ideal for beginners. Alternatively, you can stitch your binding to the main fabric right side first, and then fold it to the wrong side. This can give a gorgeous finish, but it can also be tricky for beginners since you do have to make sure you catch the fold on the wrong side without being able to see it as you top stitch. One trick when binding without an attachment, is to use a glue stick or wash-away hem tape to hold your binding fabric in place when topstitching! Another trick? Use foldover elastic! It is another way to get a beautiful finish and you can sew it right on with just a sewing machine.