One of the things I love about leading Sew-Alongs, friends, is that I learn new techniques along with you. I've cut my own bias tape before, but I don't think I've ever used it to decorate the visible edge of a garment. Today, I'm going to show you how to do it!
Your boxers pattern may not call for this kind of edge finish, but you can add it anyway, or use single fold bias tape for another garment in the future.
Our goals for today are:
1. Cut bias strips (or tape) from our fashion fabric.
2. Stitch bias tape onto boxer leg edge.
3. Finish bias trim by stitching "in the ditch," and close side seams of our boxers.
1. To cut my tape, I use a plastic triangle, one edge of which I line up with my selvage. This ensures that I'm cutting my fashion fabric at a 45 degree angle, or along the true bias.
The fact that my fabric has a vertical stripe makes the process easier. Can you use commercial bias tape? In theory, yes, but the only tape I've ever seen is coarse cotton poly (Wright's) and much too stiff for a project like this.
There happens to be a binding strip pattern piece in my boxers pattern (actually for a tee shirt) but you certainly don't need a pattern to cut 1½" strips, just a ruler.
I measure each 1½" strip, and cut it out with a rotary cutter. Since none of these is quite long enough for my project, I stitch a few together to make a longer piece of tape.
2. Here are the McCall's 3438 directions for attaching the bias binding. If you click on the pic, you can supersize it.
One step I do differently, is that I attach my binding in two steps, essentially as one would attach a waistband. In the first step, I stitch the binding from the front of the boxers, right sides (of fabric) together, at approximately 1/4" from the edge. The wider your seam allowance, the wider your binding will appear.
3. I then fold the binding over the top of the edge, and fold it under on the inside (or wrong side) of the boxer leg, so that the edge of the folded-under binding edge is slightly lower than my first, outer edge. The reason for this is that when we "stitch in the ditch" -- i.e., stitch in the crease directly under the binding fold on the boxers front -- we catch the folded-under binding on the inside. Does that make sense?
Notice that the binding is a little narrower on the outside, and a little wider on the inside:
Notice, too, that there is no visible stitch line on the front of the binding. I think this looks more elegant.
Apart from these steps, I stitch on the binding just as the directions say. At a certain point, you're going to be encasing the second side of the boxer leg, and you'll be binding over both sides together. If it helps, you can pin or baste the side seam edges first. When you've completed that step, you'll want to topstitch the binding flat, as you would a flat-felled seam.
Why reinvent the wheel? -- here are the rest of the instructions for this step:
You may be wondering if I pre-press my binding. I do not find it necessary to pre-press -- the bias tape folds evenly and I usually just eyeball it -- but pre-pressing could be helpful. What I find most important is to check, as I stitch "in the ditch," to make sure that I am catching the folded-under bias tape on the inside of the boxers.
I reinforce the point where the legs meet -- you can make a bar tack (satin stitch) with your zigzagger, or just stitch back and forth a few times, if you're using a straight stitch machine, like me.
Friends, tomorrow we insert our elastic waistband, and then we'll be done with our first pair of boxers!
I hope those of you sewing along are making good progress. I see some projects turning up in our Flickr group, and they look great. You certainly don't have to model them.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!