Some of my new girls’ tops patterns have an opening at the neck but no seam, and need to be bound. I have noticed online that people are very inventive in how to deal with this situation, some with more success than others. I haven’t seen anyone use the traditional tried and tested way, which is a shame because it produces really good results and is not difficult to do. So I thought I would share this technique with you and a variation of it.
I have used two different colours for the main fabric and the binding and also a contrasting colour for the stitching so you can see what I’ve done. They will look so much better in the same fabric with matching thread. In fact, you will hardly notice it at all and you won’t have a gap in your fabric, just an opening which closes completely.
First measure and draw a line on your fabric in tailor’s chalk where the opening is going to be (but don’t cut it).
Cut some bias binding (on the diagonal) four times the width of your finished binding. (I want my binding to be 6 mm wide, which is tiny but good practice for sewing children’s clothes, so I have cut my bias binding 24 mm wide.) Iron the binding flat. You will need to cut two strips about 1 cm longer than your drawn line.
Place one strip on your fabric with one edge along the chalk line and pin. Repeat the other side of the chalk line with the second strip. Next sew the first strip to the fabric 6 mm away from the line. Repeat with the second strip.
Cut along the chalk line to about 6 mm from the bottom, then turn the fabric over and clip a small diagonal cut into each corner leaving a triangle at the bottom, being careful not to cut your binding strips.
Double fold the bias binding over to the back of the fabric and hand sew in place around the cut raw edges. (If you wish to machine sew them, cut them 2 mm wider initially, make sure they cover the stitching at the back and stitch ‘in the ditch’ from the front.)
From the front, lift the fabric and push the small triangle through to the back. Sew a line of stitching across the triangle and both strips of binding. This forms the base of the opening.
You now have a neatly bound neck opening with no gaps. When I use this on a garment, I then trim the ends of the binding strips and neaten them and the triangle with a row of zigzag stitches – but I am extra fussy, you don’t need to do this!
For the variation you will need your bias binding strip to be four times the width of your finished binding and two and a half times the length of the finished opening.
Start by pinning your strip next to your chalk line. At the bottom fold the strip at right angles. Then fold it underneath and back up the other side of the chalk line, forming a triangle at the bottom.
Remaining 6 mm from the line, sew down one side, across the bottom and back up the other side. Cut along the chalk line and clip into the bottom corners towards the stitching, forming a small triangle as with the first variation. Push the binding strip through the gap, double fold on the back and hand sew or top stitch in place.
These both work really well and they join all the way down! I know I’m really picky, but I don’t like to see a gap. Keyhole neck openings are gorgeous and I often make them, but these straight bound or faced openings can be made without a gap.
These techniques are used in my new blouse patterns for girls and can be found in my Girls’ Patterns section in my Etsy shop. I will be doing a tutorial in a couple of weeks on attaching facings which will also be useful for sewing clothes.