As I mentioned in my last post about the Cappuccino Dress I’m working on, I was thinking about doing more than just zig-zagging the interior seams to finish them (I have no serger so that is never an option). For the initial dress seams, I used the french seam technique – which I use whenever possible because it makes a garment as beautiful inside as it is out – but this dress has some unusual construction elements that make french seams not possible in some places. So I’ve decided to try a Bias Bound Seam instead.
Using 1/4 inch double-fold bias tape (in bulk I bought 10 metres of it at Dress Sew for $2.29), I started tacking it down with pins last night while watching an episode of Midsomer Murders – but quickly realized that with that little room to play, any shifting of the tape while sewing would cause a terrible mess – and my pinning skills aren’t the best. So instead, I switched to hand-basting the tape down, and am midway through the process – as pictured above. It’s taken me about an hour so far, so I anticipate that with another hour I will be done – and the final machine-sewing won’t take more than twenty minutes.
I used to really resist hand-basting in this fashion, even though it’s recommended for all sorts of things – hems, zippers, bindings – because I had a rush approach to garment-making. While I don’t pretend that using more hand techniques is turning out couture garments on my end – taking a step back and giving time to each step definitely does cut down on the frustration. And it also turns out a nicer product.
What I notice right away while hand-basting the seam-binding is how much it gives the inside of the dress a vintage garment feel; this used to be a very common way for home sewists to do finishes. I once went to an estate sale for a very elderly woman who had sewn all her life, and had racks of handmade garments and vintage fabric for sale (that’s where I bought the wool used in the Woodland Stroll Cape). Every one of her garments had bound or French seams – even the housedresses and aprons.
In any case, I’ve got a busy weekend ahead and I probably won’t get this stage finished until Monday. My husband leaves town for ten days tomorrow morning, and while I’ve got a full schedule for the week – I’m pretty sure his absence will allow me a little more time on the sewing machine (and knitting needles, and so forth).