Thursday, October 1, 2009

Double Fold Bias Tape and a Square Neckline

Butterick's pattern 5338 (Bag C) nearly stumped me. It's a cute shopping bag that appears to fit on the grocery store's metal rack for plastic bags, and it looks simple enough. Until you get to the part where the pattern instructions read, "Encase upper and inner edges of handles on front and back with bias tape, having narrower side on outside and folding in fullness at corners, as shown..."

Problem is, the pattern shows a whole lot of nothing. There is a diagram, but it does not demonstrate the clipping and folding which must occur. I desperately tested out different folds and tried to think of a backwards way to work mitered binding, but nothing worked. Then I turned to Google, but all I could think of was "attach double fold bias tape corner," which eventually led me to "double fold bias inside corner." Lucky for me, there is someone else out there who struggled with this pattern and I found some online help for sewing a "square neckline."

The responder to the original post recommends a book called Power Sewing. It helped, but it took awhile for me to understand what needed to happen and being the skimmer that I am, I could have used more photos with shorter explanations. As you can see below, I finally figured it out, and now I have my square neckline complete, with binding. I still have to attach bias tape to the side edges of the handles and finish the bag itself, but I am enjoying the sweetness of finally being smarter than the square neckline.



How I Finished a Square Neckline (a.k.a. Inside Corner) With Double Fold Bias Tape (With this particular pattern, I use "square neckline" interchangeably with "upper and inner edges of bag handles")


  • Stay stitch the upper and inner edges of the bag handles. Stay stitching should be 1/8" from seam; so with double fold bias, stay stitch 1/4" from raw edge because the seam will be 3/8".



  • Clip inner corner, almost to stay stitching.



  • Right sides together, raw edges even, pin narrower side of the bias tape to neckline and sew until you near a clipped corner. The seam allowance is 3/8" and stitching should be in the fold of the bias tape.



  • When you near a clipped corner, stop sewing, but do not remove the needle from the fabric. Carefully spread the fabric at the corner so you now have a straight edge. Pins help here, but while you continue to sew, be careful not to pinch the bag fabric, which cannot be seen under the tape.



  • Press seam toward bias tape. The photo above shows a sample of how the corner will look once the bias tape and bag are sewn together.




  • Fold at the corners, right sides together. Be careful the fold is right at the corner. Stitch across fold, but instead of a straight seam, sew a "V." The bottom of the "V" points toward the center of the bag.

  • Fold bias tape over to wrong side of the bag. To finish the neckline, topstitch about 1/8" from open edge of tape. Topstitching is done on the right side of the bag fabric, and this is why the narrower side is attached here. Finishing can also be done by hand on the back if you are working with more delicate fabric.

I am not quite sure if this is supposed to be as challenging as it turned out to be, but I am hoping it is not meant to be easy since I did take sewing lessons from Mrs. Iki when I was a teenager; and while I do recall using bias tape for a blue-green tank top, I do not remember any encounters with square necklines. Hopefully this makes things a little bit clearer for other sewers out there. If you have any questions, just post a comment and I am happy to help. If not, then you are a better sewer than I am, and I wish I had your skills!

19 comments:

  1. Ooo~ kind of tricky! Thanks for the visual tutorial, as I am a "skimmer" like you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just want to thank you for posting this tutorial. This saved me a whole lot of brain power when sewing my daughters halloween costume! It turned out perfectly!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are so welcome! Glad this helped.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was a tremendous help, I was about to give up! Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am trying to make exactly the same bag and am having the same problem you did. Haven't tried this yet, but your instructions (with pictures!) look exactly like what I was hoping to find. I love the Internet!
    ~Chelsy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh. Em. Gee.

    THANK YOU for posting this tutorial with pictures! I'm working on a dress with a square neckline needing bias tapes and those inside corners were a major bump in my sewing road. I just tested this on my mockup dress and it worked perfectly!!

    You rock!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree, THANK YOU for posting this. I had no idea at all how to "fold in the fullness", as per some instructions I have. I just finished your technique on a garment, and it turned out beautifully!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I also agree, Thank you! Thank you! I have been looking and looking and your instructions "with Pictures" made my day!!! Worked great...
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am a 13 yo. seamstress, and I like to sew jumpers. I made one, (with a square neckline), and it turned out fine. Then, I made another with the same pattern, (I made the pattern) , and I ended up with funny wrinkles at the corners. Where did I go wrong? The first time I used cotton/denim, and the next I used 100% cotton material... Any tips?? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  10. How do you do corners without getting scrunchy? also- how do you thread and use a serger? Could you write a post about that? Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you!!! I am sewing the same bag, and I had no clue what they were talking about on that pattern (I'm new to sewing). Definitely would suggest practicing first on a scrap--it helps with confidence, if nothing else.

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Same bag - same problem. Thanks so much for the help!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. When I got to the corner, I flipped the project over and sewed the bias tape on from the fabric side with the tape underneath. This guaranteed that I did not catch the fabric and pucker it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I bought this bag pattern and am glad I didn't try it until I read your tutorial. I found your explanation because I'm making a heart-shaped placemat and wanted to do a bias edge but wondered about the tricky inner corner of the heart. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can't wait to see if your explanation works for me. I just made the same bag and ended up making a facing to use instead of the bias tape.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great tutorial! Just what I needed to sew Simplicity apron pattern 1934. I followed your steps with perfect results.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I bought the same crazy pattern and couldn't figure out how to do this. You're a lifesaver!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much! I was stumped, too - now I'll be able to finish.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks so much for this post that has helped me to bind my square neckline. You made it so easy!
    Just gave you a credit in my latest blog post.

    ReplyDelete