This technique for a simple, almost foolproof bias edge binding, is perfect when visible stitches or binding might detract from the finished product.

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A single thickness bias binding is sewn right sides together around the opening.  Bias strips will stretch very easily and can be used to stabilize an opening that should remain close to the body by stretching the strip onto the fabric, or as in this case, the strip can be eased onto the seam, making the bias strip a little looser.  With the extra fabric eased into the seam, the pressed binding will lay flat around the inside curve of the arm opening when it is finished.

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The seam allowance is pressed into the bias binding, or the binding is pressed over the seam allowance – however you prefer to think of it …

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and the binding is folded once, keeping the fold line equidistant from the seam line.   I took some care to make sure the fold is a consistent 1/2″ from the stitching line because that is a good width for the finished binding.

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From the back, the bias binding covers the stitches of the seam that connects the two pieces of fabric.  It is not necessary to turn the edge under because the bias cut silk will not fray. By not turning the fabric under a bit of extra bulk is eliminated and the pressed binding will lay flatter.  The picture above is after the binding has been stitched in place from the right side.

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Once the binding is pressed in place,  stitch in the ditch or very close to the seam but on the wrong (bias binding) side.  You can see the extra ease in the binding in this photo.

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After the binding is stitched in place, roll all of it to the inside.  The stitches should easily roll to the inside as well.  Here is where you will see the benefit of having eased the binding to the fabric. After the binding is pressed from the inside of the blouse it will curve nicely with the armscye seam and the whole assembly should be lay flat.

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This technique makes a very flat, bound edge with no visible seam.   Silk fabric presses so nicely that the binding stays to the inside. A little extra insurance can be gained by tacking the binding to the blouse at the shoulder seam and the side seam.

For this blouse:

Fabric – Silk Charmeuse

Bias Strip 1.5″

Seam Allowance to attach the strip to the armscye 3/8″

Distance between stitches and fold line 1/2″

Finished width of bias binding 1/2″

Invisible Zippers, in the right circumstances, are just about the easiest zippers to install.  There are a number of YouTube videos that show the basic installation step by step. Collette Patterns has a very good one that can be seen here .  After you have mastered the basics, there are a few things to remember that will help to make the zipper truly invisible, (some aren’t).

A narrow strip of iron on interfacing along the stitching line for the zipper tape will help to stabilize knits and loosely woven fabrics.  The one pictured below is about an inch wide and runs a couple of inches longer than the zipper.
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Press the fabric, lightly steaming both sides, so the two sides that will be joined by the zipper are exactly the same length.  This garment  is made of  medium weight rayon ponte knit, but the method for knits and wovens is the same.  It is advisable to finish a woven fabric that frays by binding, serging or zigzaging the edge of the fabric before you start to work on the zipper.

With the invisible zipper foot on your machine, sew the zipper to the fabric as shown in the video.  With the first line of stitching you shouldn’t worry too much about how close your stitches are to the zipper teeth.  This step is more about getting the zipper anchored to the fabric without distorting the fabric or the zipper.  The zipper should lay flat when it is closed and the fabric edges should be the same length at the top and bottom with the zipper closed.  After the the first line of stitching the zipper will probably look like this when it is closed.

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As you can see, it’s not invisible yet.  If there is anything to correct about the position of the zipper, now is the time to fix it.  On the example above, the crosswise seams match exactly, but if they didn’t that should be corrected now.  To make the zipper invisible simply sew successive rows of stitching closer to the zipper coil.  If the first row still allows the zipper tape to peek through when the zipper is closed, just repeat another stitch line little closer to the zipper coil.  There is no need to rip anything out.

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It’s often only the width of the needle that takes the installation from what you see above  to the invisible result below.

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In the photo above, the vertical seam is the zipper and the horizontal seam is at the waist.  The seam below the zipper is still unsewn at this point. The last couple of inches of the zipper should be left unattached to the fabric making it easier easier to move the zipper out of the way when stitching the balance of the seam.  This will also help the end of the zipper to lay flat and the transition from the zipper opening to the finished seam will also be invisible.  At this point it works best to install a regular zipper foot to finish the seam.

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It’s hard to see in this photo, but I am inserting the needle just beside the zipper stitching.  The end of the zipper is barely visible on the left side of the photo.  The finished zipper and the finished seam should look like this.

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A good tip for matching horizontal seams at the waist or on a yoke, is to sew one side and then match the horizontal seam exactly, pin it and anchor it, by sewing an inch or so on either side of the horizontal seam, before sewing the full length of the zipper tape in place….not so much ripping if you don’t get it exactly right.  The picture below shows both horizontal seams matched this way before the zipper is installed.  It works just as well to attached one full side and then just match and tack the opposing side.

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Stitching the crosswise seam with those few stitches to hold it in place makes the biggest difference in this type of installation.  I have tried to just pin and sew, but the fabric always shifts just a little bit.  Even a 16th of an inch one way or the other is a glaring mismatch.  I work on an old White sewing machine and some of the shifting of the fabric to the zipper tape may not be a problem with a newer machine – I don’t know for sure – but his method works for me every time.

I don’t get to see a lot of couture garments up-close, but I am pretty sure you won’t see invisible zippers in actual couture.  However, you will find them, but shouldn’t see them, in everything from very high end RTW to “wear once and throw away” fast fashion.  They are easy to install and inexpensive too.  With a bit of extra time and attention to the details, anyone can do a good job.

 

 

This is such a simple thing that it really needs a fabulous piece of fabric.  I found a 1 yard remnant of 56″ wide, 100% cashmere a few years ago.   When I bought the fabric I didn’t have anything in mind for it, but it was beautiful and a probably good deal.  The only other idea I ever had for this fabric was to make cushions.  I’m glad I didn’t do that!

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  1.  To begin fold the fabric in half lengthwise so your folded piece measures 27″ by 36″.
  2.  Stitch one of the 27 inch sides together. I used a flatlock stitch with the ladders exposed to join the two sides  If your fabric is plain like this one, you don’t have to pay attention to which side you close.  Now you have a 27″ by 36″ piece that is closed on two sides and open on two sides.
  3.  Hem the open sides all around.  You could also make a fringe if that works for the fabric.
  4.  The final step is to the make the neck opening.  On the seam side measure along the seam about 4 to 4.5 inches and mark the spot. On the fold side measure down about 11 or 12 inches and mark. To make the neck opening you will have to cut the corner of the fabric off from mark to mark.  This could be a bit tricky if the fabric is unstable or has a lot of stretch.  I wish I had taken photos or had documented the exact method a little better.  What I did was to hold it up and cut the opening a little on the small side first and then with the poncho on, I made the neck opening the size that I thought would be comfortable.  It seemed to work.  It’s better to start smaller.  When you add the binding the size of the opening will increase a bit if you fold it to the inside and stitch.

Earrings to match a luxurious DIY poncho.

 

I just used a stable knit bit for the binding. I think this gets worn quite a bit, although it lives with my daughter in LA, so it’s not a year round piece.  Those pretty earrings and many more things like them can been seen, and  purchased, through the website of the lovely and very creative Magda Molina at www.magdamolina.com