I’m in a desperate sewing frenzy right now. It suddenly feels like summer and I have discovered that I have no summer maternity wear. Last week, I cracked down and sewed myself five Jalie racerback tanks. Unfortunately, my photographer-in-residence is busy with end-of-the-semester stuff anyways and we haven’t had a chance to photograph the tanks being worn yet. Although I wear them every single day.
I had so much fun sharing the sewing process on Instagram. I feel a bit lonely in my garment sewing here and you people get me. So thank you for enjoying it with me.
I have to say I am really pleased with the method of neck/armhole binding that this Jalie pattern uses. It uses “self” fabric instead of ribbing and I think the narrowness of the binding looks very feminine. Based on the comments I got on my in-progress photos, you all are loving it too. So I thought I would take pictures and share a tutorial with you.
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- The fabric I used for my tanks is Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey knit. The pattern calls for knits with at least 40% width-wise and 20% length-wise stretch and this lovely stuff is perfect for it.
- I used my Brother 1034D serger (affiliate link) for this project, but if you don’t have one available you can sew those seams on a conventional sewing machine using a stretch stitch.
Skinny Binding Tutorial
- Sew and finish the side and shoulder seams.
- Cut out a 1″ wide strip of the jersey knit width-wise from the fabric. How long? Based on the lengths given on the Jalie pattern, the binding strips should be 95% the opening measurements.
- Sew the strip into a loop.
- Divide the length of the strip into quarters and mark the quarters. Divide the garment opening into quarters and mark as well.
- With the right side of the binding against the wrong side of the shirt, match up the quarter marks of the binding to the marks on the shirt and pin at each marking. The binding is a little bit smaller than the opening.
- With the shirt on top and the binding underneath, serge the two together, stretching the binding gently to match the length of the shirt opening.
- Next insert and thread a double needle onto your conventional sewing machine. I recommend using twin needles that are labeled for use with jersey or stretch fabrics. Universal twins can have problems with skipped stitches on knits. I used Schmetz Stretch Twin needles (affiliate link) for this project and they worked well. You will have to consult your sewing machine manual on the particulars on how to properly thread your machine.
- Before sewing the binding down, flip the binding around the seam to the right side of the shirt. The wrong side of the binding is against right side of the shirt. Line up the unsewn edge of the binding with the serged seam. Then fold the binding the rest of the way over to the front along the seam, wrapping the serged seam with the binding in the process.
I pin the folded binding in place just to start, but then continue to fold and tuck under the binding as I sew slowly. No need to iron or pin in place.
- Edgestitch the binding down along the folded edge using the double needle.
When using the double needle, the bobbin thread is zig-zagged along the back which allows this seam to stretch!
The first couple of times I tried it I had a hard time keeping my edge stitching tidy, but it was a pretty friendly learning curve and by the time I sewed 5 tanks I was a pro. Try it! I think you will like it!