Video: How To Use a Bias Binding Foot

I like gadgets and feet (provided they’re actually useful and not some easily breakable gimmick).  I’ve sewn for too long not to have built skills like binding raw edges the “non-gadgety” way, but I never used to bother with binding much.  It’s time consuming.  Generally kind of irritating, though the end result is pretty nice. I like this binder foot  because it streamlines the process, which means I can spend more time thinking about crazy cuts and design details.

It’s lovely late summer time here, the air has just a hint of freshness after six months of still steamy heat.  We’re house-sitting for my husband’s parents in rural New South Wales, making sure the plants are watered and the farm animals are fed.  It makes an extremely pleasant change from living within arm’s reach of our neighbors in the Brisbane suburbs.

This morning I set up to sew in one of their cabanas.  Except for the occasional fly and a lazy wasp nearly the size of my little finger (soo not kidding), it was pleasant to sew in the open air.  I’m wearing Terra Incognita- while she’s a lovely dress to wear out to dinner, I love her too much to only wear her once every six months or so when we go out.  She’s cotton (washable and comfy) and was my favorite dress to wear this past summer.

I’d like to make more technique videos, in some ways it’s much MUCH easier to make a video than a tutorial with still photos.  (Especially because Stephen took the footage and then did the editing work.  He sped up the boring sections and captured everything we needed in one take. Thank you, Stephen!)


44 comments

  1. I’m envying you a little that you are sewing outside. It’s pouring with rain here and very chilly. But it’s the norm for this part of the world so I musnt’ grumble. Great video. Enjoy the sun.

  2. That was stellar! I can see a whole new genre in lifestyle TV – sewing tips from exotic holiday locations! That foot looks like a weapon of torture, but it does a great job. And you make it look easy and doable too. A natural on screen presence :)

    • Oh dear me, you are too kind… I just pretended to be Teacher Stephanie in front of Stephen, which is kind of weird but not really.. But it’s kind of terrifying to look at video of myself… Hope it’s useful, anyway. :)

  3. I had no idea these existed! I am sensing some up coming purchasing and perhaps some bias binding that doesn’t completely suck! Merci and enjoy your NSW retreat :D

    • Yeah no problem. :) Just remember the foot doesn’t do all the work, it’s just a piece of metal that makes life a little easier. :)

    • Oh. Heh. I suppose so. I kept cringing when I heard things like “plus and minus” rather than “positive and negative” coming out of my mouth. I sound like English isn’t my native language. Oh well, as long as the information comes across.. ;)

  4. This would have made finishing off my skirt with not-quite-enough-length-for-a-proper-hem SO much easier… except that even though the machine I liberated from mum has a vast array of feet I’ll never use (cording foot? button-sewing foot? overcast AND overedge feet?), along with some I might (rolled hem, blind hem..) there is no binding foot. If one ever appears in my arsenal at least I’ll know how to use it though!!

    • Oh me… I sense a foot series coming on… Some button feet are cheapie little gimmicks, but I do like the Brother button sewing foot… And it works on my Janome. It’s very clean and clever, two of my favorite things.

      Cording feet are cool to play with, more of an embellishment than utility sewing. Do your overcasting feet have those little stitch fingers and brushes? They’re actually dead useful… Usually make a rather nice two-thread finishing stitich.. Good for all kinds of reasons, especially if you want to make a light seam finish or don’t have matching serging threads and the thread needs to match the fabric… ;)

      • My button sewing foot is a little blue and clear plastic opentoed thing.. which never gets used because I actually enjoy sewing buttons on by hand. My buttonHOLE foot however.. lets just say I’m glad I have two of them, because it gets used a lot.

        Well I’m not sure what stitch fingers are.. but one of the feet has a little brush on it. I have two feet that look extremely similar, except one has a brush and one doesn’t – overedge ‘c’ and overcast ‘m’. But since I just use a 3part zigzag if I’m feeling too lazy to haul out the overlocker, they never get used.

  5. Interesting… I used a Hong Kong seam finish on my latest skirt (and it looks very nice indeed – for a HK newbie), but I don’t have one of these feet and didn’t know of them! To be honest it didn’t seem hard to do using just a regular little foot… so I’m guessing this sort of finish is a lot harder when you’re sewing through a curve?

    • Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. :) Some ways are quicker than others. This took me about a quarter of the time it would take me to pin, stitch, fold, pin, stitch, curse my stitching, unpick the bad bits, re-press and re-stitch. The bias binding is rather harder one curves, though this one was so gentle it hardly made a difference.

  6. Thanks for this tutorial. I bought a bias binding foot two years ago, but I never used it because the result of my first try was awful. Now I see that I didn’t use it properly (I thought the foot would made all the work). I need to go practising right now. Thank you!

    • No problem, best of luck and practice makes perfect… :) There’s a few other tricks to going over seams, tight curves, etc… I’ll revisit it later, next time I’m binding something a little tricky.

  7. Oh, dear, now it’s going to take all my willpower not to rush right downstairs and start messing with my binder foot… ;) I find I have a hard time figuring out which hole to push the binding through and keeping it evenly folded top and bottom (maybe because I’m using the wrong hole…)… I suspect the main requirement is practice, however. /sigh.

    • Yeah, you made me feel all twitchy with your rolled hem foot tutorial…And I can’t get access to my machine feet right now to play! Payback!

      Use the top hole? When I poke it through like that, the foot holds the tape steady, I just focus on keeping the tension even and letting my fingers guide the garment fabric…

  8. Excellent video. Thank you so much for making it for all of us. I have used my binding foot, but I wasn’t as successful as I would like, after watching you, I know exactly what to do.

    I have one suggestion about the binding foot, buy an old one instead of new, if you can find one. I bought a Janome and then found an old one that came with my Featherweight, I actually bent the Janome when using it, the old Singer one is much more sturdy and well built

    • Oh good! I’m pleased it helped. :)

      Well- I will add a caveat (though I’m always a fan of buying second hand)… Make sure it’s a foot that works with your machine. Feet are specifically engineered for particular machines, and while it’s possible for some feet to work with machines they weren’t designed for, as a rule it’s a bad idea. It will either yield inferior results, or you might break needles or throw the timing out on the machine…

      That said, i have used Janome invisible zipper feet on berninas (much cheaper) and the brother button application foot is really clever and works on my Janomes… And I find the janome binder foot works ok on several brands…

  9. You must warn me when you show shots of home – I am terribly homesick at the moment. As for binding feet, I have been in love with mine for a long time. It cost me $12 for an original Janome and it paid for itself the first time I used it. I use mine on almost every garment, whether it be for binding the lower edge of a waistband facing or for finishing exposed seams or in some rare cases, binding the edge of a ruffle. BTW, if those big wasps are orange and black, they’re probably potter wasps and don’t sting humans, but you probably already know that. I have a theory that if you fall asleep outside, they will build a mud nest in your nostrils.

    • Aw… Sorry! :) Not too sorry though…

      Yes- those are great applications for the foot, too. Love my little binding foot.

      Stephen said they would sting, but it doesn’t hurt as much as a normal wasp and that they’re pretty docile anyway… The local invertebrates still freak me out here. I’m used to checking for leeches and salting them off after going out to feed the animals or walking in the grass, but I must have missed one the other day because I looked down while I was watching TV and hit the roof screaming when I saw a fat black thing draining my leg of precious bodily fluid… I really couldn’t contain myself, it was awful. No real harm, but I was shaking afterwards like a neurotic chihuahua…

      I’ll be sure not to fall asleep in the grass while I’m out here. ;)

  10. I never knew to put the binding through the holes of the foot; each time I’ve used the gap at the very front and each time it’s turned out poorly. Perhaps that’s why! I’ll give it a go your way and see if it turns out better. I’m hopeful.

    Thanks Steph!

    Sam

  11. Oh, and I do hear a little Australian in your accent as well, though – to me – that’s not an insult, or a minus/negative! (Is it only Australians who say ‘plus and minus’ rather than’ negative and positive’?)

    • I wasn’t aware that Australians said it…. I just heard it on the video and thought “Geez Stephanie… Are you having a stroke?” hehh… But I guess if its an Australianism then *ahem* she’ll be ‘right.. No worries…

  12. This is awesome! I have one of those feet, but have never managed to get it working. I’ll have to try it out again this week!

  13. Thanks Steph! I received a binding foot for Christmas, but I haven’t been brave enough to break it out yet. Now I will! It’s so helpful to see it in action.

  14. I really really would like (aka want) a binding foot. I made a couple of things for the kids with bias hems/armscyes and it was a right pain doing it the long way. Now seeing your great tute it has added to the Christmas list …… :o)

  15. Nice! Thanks for sharing this. I used one of these feet recently, and while it is easy to figure out from the instructions, it takes time to get the positioning or needle/fabric/ tape and sewing speed right so as to get through without any muck ups! XD. Your sewing area is awesome by the way!

  16. Pingback: Tiramisu Three-Ring: Threads, Feet and Stitches « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World


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