For the February Dress, I am going to insert bias piping around the neckline, around the arm openings, and in between the yoke and skirt seams. I am making the piping from the Hot Pink Dotted Fabric. This is also the fabric I am using for the lining. My pattern has 1/2 inch seam allowances, so I need to cut my bias strips 1 1/4 inches wide. This provides a top 1/2 inch seam allowance, a bottom 1/2 inch seam allowance and 1/4 inch to wrap around the baby piping. The strips need to be cut on the bias so they have some stretch enabling them to wrap nicely around the cord, as well as mold to the shape of the neck and arm openings.
In order to find the bias, I have folded my fabric on a 45 degree angle to the selvage edge and used my ruler to cut strips 1 1/4 inch wide. Sewing my strips together to get enough length is one of those things I always need to stop and think about no matter how many times I do it. I don’t know why because it is a simple thing to do. Hopefully this tip, from Agnes, one of my fellow ThimbleberryMembers, will help! Often, bias strips have an angled end because they are cut to the edge of the fabric. Often books will show the angeled edges sewn together. However, it is hard to sew the angeled edges so the lengthwise edges of the joined strip line up. Instead trim the ends perpendicular to the lengthwise edges. It is tempting to just match the short ends and seam the strips, but if you do, you have eliminated the bias stretch at that point. Instead, lay one strip on top of another at right angels. Draw a stitching line from corner to corner and stitch on that line. Trim to 1/4 inch seam allowance and you have a perfectly joined bias strip. Thank you Agnes!
My next tip comes from fellow Thimbleberrymember Kim, who recommends pressing the strip in half before laying the baby cord inside.
She also recommends stitching your bias strip with a cording foot with the needle slightly away from the cord. This enables you to get the needle right up against the cording when you stitch it to the fashion fabric. I am sorry this picture isn’t better, but I hope you can see the 2 lines of stitching. Alternatively, you can use a zipper foot to stitch your bias binding.
Match raw edges of bias strips to the raw edges of the dress yoke and stitch in place. Here is a picture of the finished yoke with bias strips stitched in place. An additional tip from Kim is to press the bias strips in a circular shape before attaching them to the yoke edges. This enables them to follow that curved shape. You may also want to trim the neck seam allowance to 1/4 inch before attaching the bias strip because of the tightness of the curve. This would be especially helpful on smaller sizes. If you do trim the neckline to 1/4 inch, make your bias strips 3/4 inch wide. Finish the jumper following the pattern directions except there is no need to understitch the neckline as the bias strips solve the problem of the dreaded creep. Stay tuned for the heart pockets!