Bellini Sewalong: Binding the armholes September 22 2014

Today we’ll be working with our bias strips that we made earlier. You should have two strips, 3cm by 40-45cm, cut on the bias grain. If you haven’t got these, you should cut them now, referring to this step of the sewalong which tells you how to do it.

First thing to do is to press your bias strips in half lengthways, without stretching them.

Yes, of course, I made a video to show you how to do it. Here it is. Hope you are finding these useful.


The next thing to do is to pin them on in the correct place. Lay out your blouse on a flat surface, right side up, so you can see the whole armhole, like so:

The idea is to pin the strips, with the cut edges pointing towards the cut edge of the armhole, 1cm from the edge of the seam allowance. You are pinning them to the right side of the blouse.

If you’re using shop-bought double-fold binding, here’s how you pin it. You want to open one of the folds and pin it so that the crease is 1.5cm from the edge of the blouse armhole. Since my bought binding is 1cm wide, the ‘wings’ are 0.5cm, so I’m pinning it 1cm from the edge in the picture below.

Curving around the corner can be the tricky part, but you should be able to do it. Here’s another video to show you how to do this.


Leave the ‘tail’ of the binding hanging off over the edge, don’t trim it yet.

Sew the binding on. The seam should be 1.5cm from the edge of the blouse armhole.

If you’ve managed to keep the binding stretched in the right way, it might stick up a bit on the inside edge, which is great. If not, don’t worry, it’s not critical.

Trim away most of the armhole seam allowance (don’t trim the bias tape).

Next, flip the bias tape up and press it towards the armhole.

It should look like this.

Turn your blouse over and flip the bias tape all the way over to the wrong side of the blouse.

You want to press it so that the tape is all on the wrong side of the blouse, so it’s not visible from the right side. (Sorry, no pressing video this time haha!)

Double check that when the side seams align, the armhole edges are level. If they aren’t, now is the time to fix it, either by unpicking and resewing if the difference is significant, or by re-pressing it so they are even if it’s just a small amount.

They should match exactly for a neat finish. Pin the tape in place all the way around.

From the wrong side, measure how wide the visible part of the tape is (at the narrowest part, if it’s a bit wobbly). It should be around 10mm but may be a little less.

Topstitch around the armholes, through all layers, catching the blouse and the tape. How far from the edge your topstitching is will depend on the measurement you just took. If your tape was 10mm wide all the way around, then I’d probably topstitch around 8mm from the edge, to make sure the tape is caught all the way around.

If it looks a bit wrinkly, don’t worry....

...because that can probably be pressed out, like on mine below.

Repeat for the other armhole!

Any questions on today’s steps? I’ll be back in a couple of days to start the side seams.