Willow Sew-Along: Day 04

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

In today’s installment of the Willow Sew-Along we’ll be binding our neckline and armhole edges. This is probably the most “difficult” part of the Willow, but if you take it one step at a time, it’s no trouble at all! I’ll be showing you how to bind the neckline in this post, but the armholes are done the exact same way.

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

Stitch 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! Repeat these steps for the two armholes. All we have left is hemming…till next time!

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11 Responses to Willow Sew-Along: Day 04

  1. Catherine Wendland says:

    I realize this might be sewing 101, but when I was looking at this tutorial, I noticed your seams were sewn AND serged together – I guess this is what you mean by “finishing” the seams as you like. I didn’t know what that meant, so a lot of my “finishing” on seams is nothing and they fray all the time. 😛
    Since I don’t have a serger, maybe that means next time I’ll zig zag the edges together. And also google “finishing seams”.

    I’m at this point on my willow tank, and I found it so annoying to grade the binding. Are there any tricks to that? Or is it just bound to be annoying?

    I’m getting really close to being done with mine. Can’t wait to share!

    • Jen says:

      So finishing the seams could be serging, you could pink them, or using your sewing machine set to a zig zag stitch as you mentioned above. No tricks to grading the binding really, I’d recommend grading, then clipping the seam so you’re not grading a bunch of tiny pieces. You could try an applique scissor – a lot of people find those easier since there’s a flat edge that helps to keep you from trimming both layers. If you just google Applique Scissor you’ll see what I mean, or I’ll be Drygoods has them. Hope that helps!

  2. Janine says:

    Is there an easing of the bias strip onto the neckline?

  3. erniek3 says:

    I tend to make the binding and pin and sew, and THEN join the ends when I get close to that point. Care must be taken not to stretch out the edge; staystitching a 1/16″ inside the seam line at the beginning helps. Leaving a big lead and stopping a similar distance gives adequate room to mark, stitch and cut the ends together.

  4. Brigid says:

    I made mine using two techniques I borrowed from other designers: I left one of the shoulder seams open and sewed the neck binding on from that point, then sewed the whole seam shut (this from Marci Tilton). That can be used with the armhole binding as well, if the seam is left open a couple of inches at the armhole and then stitched shut. The other, from Kenneth D. King, is just brilliant. When clipping the curve on the seam allowance, instead of clipping through both layers, alternate the clips: clip one layer of seam allowance then move away about ½” and clip the other. This keeps those annoying little points in the curve from occurring. On these curves it may not be much of a problem, but on a tighter curve it definitely can be!

  5. zindaginha says:

    Love the way you match the boob darts to the stripes!

  6. Andrea says:

    This is my first garment with bias binding. As the binding is shorter than the neckline, do you stretch the binding to the neckline or work in the neckline to the bias binding? I’m stuck at this step, any help would be great!

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