A Guide to Flat Bias Facings

A Guide to Flat Bias Facings | Grainline StudioA Guide to Flat Bias Facings | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

One of our perennial favorite posts is our guide to getting flat bias facings. In the original post we called them bias necklines, which I think is limiting. You can easily use this technique for necklines, armholes, keyhole openings, and more! We’ve also updated the post with new images taken from the Willow Tank so that you can see it applied to one of our current patterns. You can still see the original post here, or enjoy this updated version. Keep in mind that although we’re showing a neckline here you can easily apply this to other parts of the garment!

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Begin by taking your neckline binding piece and sewing the two shorter edges together, with right sides facing each other, to create a circle.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the seam allowance open.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Align the binding piece around the neckline and pin in place. I like to put the seam of the binding at the center back of the garment, but that’s just my personal preference.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Head over to your machine and stitch the neckline and binding together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Grade the seam by trimming the seam allowance of the binding in half all the way around the neckline. This will reduce bulk and create a better looking neckline.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

After grading, clip around the neckline through all layers of the seam allowance approximately every inch or so. This will allow the smaller cut edge to turn back smoothly onto the wider neckline.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the seam allowance and the binding up away from the garment.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Understitch around the neckline through the binding and seam allowance as close to the seam line as you feel comfortable. In this sample I’m at about 1/16″ but anywhere between there and 1/8″ works just fine. The point of this stitching line is that it will help to force the seam line to the wrong side of the garment so that you can’t see it from the right side.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the binding to the wrong side of the garment making sure the seam line just barely rolls to that side as well.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Now tuck the raw edge of the binding under to meet the fold line, then pin the binding in place. Continue this around the circumference of the neckline, pinning as you go.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Head over to your machine and stitch the neckline binding down. I again stitch about 1/16″ from the loose edge, but wherever you feel comfortable works just fine.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Give your neckline a good press and you’re done! I really think that each step shown here is integral to getting a flat neckline finish, so try not to take shortcuts on this technique. If you have any questions, just let us know in the comments below!

17 replies on “A Guide to Flat Bias Facings

  • shoes15

    Thanks for this – I need help with my necklines. Can you provide more guidance on grading the seam? It’s hard to get the scissors in there and more than once I have graded a bit too close to the seam by accident. Is there a good way to do this?

    Reply
    • Jen

      I usually grade seams over the back of my hand, I find that the curve keeps me from clipping through anything that’s not supposed to be cut. You can also use what’s sometimes called either applique scissors or duckbill scissors, the larger blade on the underside will help keep things even.

      Reply
  • KK

    How does this technique for bias facings compare to other ones? In other patterns, I’ve used a strip folded in half initially before it’s attached. I’ve also been instructed to purchase and use double fold bias tape (which seems somewhat similar to your technique here). Thanks!!!

    Reply
    • Jen

      I think those are just minor differences in the way individual people do things. You can fold before hand, I just like to start with a flat piece because it reduces the likelihood of catching something while grading that isn’t supposed to be graded. I rarely purchase my bias binding though because the store bought is quite inflexible and often causes the neckline to bow out.

      Reply
        • Jen

          Yes, honestly I wouldn’t really use this technique for knits. I’d use a knit binding or something similar, but that’s more than I can explain here without photos. I’m making a note now to do a tutorial on knit neckline finishes soon!

          Reply
  • Charlotte E

    Even with your fantastic tutorials I still prefer a facing to bias binding. However, I’m attending your binding class at the Soul Craft festival in June so hopefully with a hands on session I will come to love bias finishings instead of fear them!

    Reply
  • Fritha

    Thank you for the tutorial, Jen, this is so helpful! Should the length of the binding (once it’s sewn into a circle) be the same as the circumference of the neck opening? Or is it meant to be a little shorter or a little longer? I’ve used a pattern to do this but I’d like to cut my own bias facing and am curious.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Typically you’ll want it to be a bit shorter, though the exact amount varies with the specific fabric you’re using. You want to stretch the binding slightly so that it mirrors the curve of the body in the end, but not so much that it ends up gathering the garment!

      Reply
    • Jen

      There are a few differences: First off the placement of the two is different. Stitching in the ditch is in the actual ditch of the seam, while understitching is next to it. This is because the function of the two is different. Stitching in the ditch is typically done to close an opening invisibly. I typically stitch in the ditch on my waistbands, for example, when I don’t want to visible stitching. This closes the back of the waistband by catching the inside edge. Understitching though is done through only the part of the garment that falls to the inside and catches the seam allowances. The point of this is to force the seam line to roll to the inside of the garment so that it isn’t visible from the outside of the garment. This only works if you catch both, say, the facing and the seam allowance so stitching in the ditch would not help you in this situation. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Amelia

    Hi Jen, since learning how to do this neckline finish from the scout tee, I use it for everything (including g sleeve cuffs). It’s my favourite.
    So, can you help with how to do it on a v- neckline?

    Reply

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