Dressmaking Course – Week Three

Last time I caught you up on my dressmaking adventures at Sew Me Something, my Simplicity New Look 6871 top was almost complete. First on the task list for Week Three was to finish that off and learn how to make bias binding. If you’d like to catch up on my previous dressmaking blog posts, go and have a gander at Week One and Week Two.

Bias binding is something I’ve heard a lot about but (until now) has been a complete mystery to me. I knew that fabric on the ‘bias’ meant cutting on the diagonal to give the fabric a bit more stretch, give and flexibility but didn’t really understand how you’d do that and couldn’t get my head around how you’d then attach it to a garment…

making bias binding learning to sew

Cutting my bias binding… demystifying the process!

The first step was to find the grain line on our fabric and find a 45 degree angle against it by folding a corner over. I then marked and cut strips measuring 5cm wide. My leftover fabric wasn’t wide enough to make one strip long enough to do one armhole, so I had to cut several smaller pieces and sew them together – which isn’t as simple as it sounds to ensure the bias line is kept intact. Rather than just sewing the ends together, I had to criss-cross the fabric over and sew a diagonal line and press it all out flat. I’m glad I had someone on hand to show me how as I’d have never figured that out on my own!

sewing together strips of bias binding

Attaching the strips of bias binding required sewing a diagonal line across the intersection of two pieces at right angles.

It’s been almost two weeks since I attached the bias binding to the arm holes… and I don’t know if it’s baby-brain or what… but I absolutely cannot remember how I did it! I have this progress photo which shows that I pinned the right sides together of the garment arm hole and the bias binding strip and I can see from my finished top that I finished it all off with some top stitching… but I’m going to have to go back and do some research to figure out the intermediate steps! Using my trusty Learn to Sew with Lauren book to help me figure it out, I think it just involved a lot of pressing and folding to cover the initial row of stitching before the top stitching finished it all off.

sewing bias binding onto arm hole

I remember this being a bit trickier than I thought it would be, easing something that is straight to fit a curve… but I did it!

A quick whizz around the contrast band to attach it to the main top and a bit of overlocking to finish off the seams, and the top was complete! Even though I’d made it with the intention of wearing it once baby bump has gone, I couldn’t resist trying it on out of curiosity – and it looked a bit bizarre but I could just about squeeze myself into it. That bodes well! If I can fit into it at 28 weeks pregnant, I should be able to fit into it post-pregnancy.

Completed New Look top 6871

My completed top! Excuse the creases… Pregnancy laziness means I couldn’t bring myself to get the ironing board out.

Completed New Look top 6871

I’m really pleased with my top stitching, and impressed that my neckline isn’t too wonky!

Bias binding first attempt

My bias binding could definitely do with a bit more practice, but not bad for a first time attempt.

No rest for the wicked though, so after giving myself a quick pat on the back, I started work on my skirt: Simplicity’s New Look 6106. But you’ll have to wait until my next Dressmaking Update to see how that goes…!

Dresmaking Course at Sew Me Something


  1. March 8, 2016 / 11:20 am

    I would love to go on a dressmaking course too! I really envy women who can sew their own clothes and for their children too. I even bought myself a sewing machine hoping that would inspire me to learn. Where is it now? Still in the box I’m afraid 🙁

  2. March 8, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    Well done you! I have a sewing machine but I have only managed to saw straight lines and even them weren’t easy to achieve so I know how hard it can be. You’ve done a great job with this cute dress 🙂

  3. March 8, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    OOh wonderful I love the turquoise part of it and as I know virtually nothing about sewing learning about the different types of sewing techniques really helps out. I would love for you to create a dress made of the turquoise material alone, like a 50’s midi with a v-neck line, pockets and a petticoat underneath .

  4. March 9, 2016 / 7:58 am

    That’s amazing, go you! Embarrassingly I don’t even know how to stitch a hem, I blame my mum for never teaching me although at nearly 30 years old I really should have taught myself by now!xx

  5. March 9, 2016 / 9:37 am

    Wow, this is absolutely beautiful, as I have said before, I can sew on a button but that is where my talents end, so it is amazing to watch and read how you are getting along x

  6. March 9, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Well done! Those patterns are lovely and look really nice together. Good luck with the skirt!

  7. March 10, 2016 / 7:08 am

    Again, I’m sending this on to my other half. She’s recently started making some beautiful clothes and I’m sure she’ll appreciate this. Thank you!

  8. March 10, 2016 / 6:46 pm

    oh wow, this dress is gorgeous. I would like to one day attend a dress making course so i can make things for my family

  9. March 10, 2016 / 11:25 pm

    wow your doing amazingly who needs to go shopping now you can just make something

  10. March 11, 2016 / 7:50 am

    Well done!! I used to work in a fabric store and bias binding was the #1 question that customers would ask me… and I don’t think I could do it anymore!

  11. March 12, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    You’re so talented! I’d love to learn one day but as you said it’s hard to get your head around it at first. I must remember to put some time to my sewing, maybe to a class too!

    Alina from home blog – The Fairytale Pretty Picture

  12. May 2, 2016 / 1:50 am

    You really cause it to appear really easy with the presentation however i find this condition for being actually something i always imagine I would never ever understand. It seems like way too complicated and extremely in depth for me personally. I’m looking forward to your upcoming set up, We’ll seek to receive the hang on to from it!

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