rayon bias facing: the "no swearing necessary" method

okay, you asked so i’ll share…

if you’ve ever tried to use rayon bias tape for a facing, you’ll know how tricky it is. it shifts, it frays, it’s generally uncooperative. before my portrait blouse, i had done it twice: the first time was a bloody mess, the second time took for-ev-er! and still didn’t look that great. so i was searching my pile of scraps for a lightweight cotton or basically anything that would work as bias facing. nothing. okay, fine. [deep breath] i’ll use self fabric.

i didn’t take pics when i constructed the blouse, but i used scraps to show you my method.

leave the full 5/8″ seam allowance on the neckline of the blouse and stay stitch at 1/2″ (or just inside the SA) directionally from the shoulder down to center front, then shoulder to center back. make sure you overlap those last few stitches at CF and CB. stay stitching makes a world of difference, trust me!

cut your bias tape to 1 1/4″ in width, then serge one edge with 1/4″ wide serging. if you are living in a cave and don’t have a serger, take your bias tape and press one side in by 1/4″.

line up the edge of the blouse with the edge of the non-serged (or pressed) edge of bias tape and sew at 5/8″. don’t bother pinning the bias tape all the way around first, just go slow and keep adjusting the bias tape as you go around curves. don’t stretch the bias tape or you will end up with a puckered seam.

once it is attached, trim the seam allowances down to 1/4″.

press the seam flat first in order to shrink back any stretching that may have occurred and to eliminate any wavy-ness at the seam.

now lift the bias tape out flat and press the seam open from both sides. this will give you an good clean edge.

press in the serged edge of the bias tape using the serging as a guide, or re-press the 1/4″. seriously though, get a serger.

now turn the bias facing into place and press. pin as little as possible perpendicular to the bias tape. excessive pinning or pinning parallel to the bias tape can distort the seam and if you have adequately pressed along the way, you won’t need many pins.

finally, topstitch at a scant 1/4″. i find that if i move my needle to the left position i can get 1/4″ by lining up the right edge with the edge of the opening on my presser foot. i tried using my 1/4″ piecing foot as a guide, but it was just a smidge too wide.

now you have a perfectly bias-faced edge!

this may seem like a lot of little steps that take too long, but in reality it goes very fast. if you half-ass or skip any of the pressing steps, it will take much longer and not look as nice. true story.

—lisa g.

13 thoughts on “rayon bias facing: the "no swearing necessary" method

  1. Gail says:

    You are cracking me up with your plugs for getting a serger!This is so great – your photos are all really clear. It all makes perfect sense. I need to keep reminding myself about moving the needle to the left: my old machine didn't do that, so I'm still not used to being able to do it on my new one! It really looks like it makes it easy though.

  2. Jenny says:

    This is great!!! Thank you! I have two unfinished blouses because they called for bias tape and I really did not want to use the ones from the store. I was trying to figure out how to do self bias (is that the right term?) – so thanks! Now I can finish my tops. Is it okay to omit a facing and just go with self bias?

  3. soisewedthis says:

    Great photos! This is pretty close to what i did last time, but my results weren't perfect, so next time i do bias tape i'm going to read your post again. Mind if i link to in on my blog? I'm trying to compile a list of good tutorials to reference back to.

  4. Anonymous says:

    just getting back to sewing after 40 yrs! Would I staystitch to use this technique for sleeveless armholes? and start shoulder to sideseam, front and back, or could I staystitch (assuming I do that) all the way around in one go? Thnx. Timely tutorial as I have been trying to figure this out for almost a week!

  5. lisa g. says:

    i would play it safe and staystitch the armhole, ideally before sewing anything together. i've only once seen instructions to staystitch the armhole, but i think it makes sense to. i'm not positive which direction to go, but i imagine you would go from the shoulder down, stopping at the underarm seam. hope it goes well when you try it out!

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