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!
Genius! I want to try this with my coverstitch machine as the binder attachment isn’t always so consistent.
I sooooo wish I had a coverstitch to use.
Oh, this looks so great! Maybe I’ll attempt a double needle again…I had a horrible time with skipped stitches and breaking threads, but I probably just need to play with the settings (and not be so laaazy). You are a sewing machine (heh).
were you using a ballpoint needle?
Thanks for an incredibly timely post!! I tried this binding on the sleeves of a t-shirt last night after admiring how good it looked on your tanks. I missed the binding-shorter-than-garment part in the Jalie video, though, and ended up with funky bell sleeves–cute, but not really what I was expecting. This clears up what went wrong!
yes. these were 95% of the opening, but when putting in a regular knit binding it is like 90% https://www.pinterest.com/pin/194640015121570710/
Very useful tutorial. Thanks!
This technique looks beautiful! I need to finish up the woven projects I’m working on so I can sew some knits! =)
Tanya. Woll says
Thanks for the tutorial. What foot are you using?
Cheerful Homemaker says
This looks amazing! I’d love to sew with knits, but I’m intimidated.
What a fantastic tutorial! I have this pattern, so now I have pulled it out to give this a try. Thank you for the tutorial! I just read through your blog; it is lovely.
kathryn rife says
Great tutorial! Thank you so much! This will come in so handy.
Beth – Sew DIY says
Thank you for sharing this! It looks really easy. I’ll have to try it out.
So do you actually turn the overlocking over as well, after enclosing it in the binding? Or does the binding just wrap the overlocked edge?
The overlocking is folded along the overlocked seam, and the binding wraps around it.
Thanks Jodi. I’ve always been confused by the skinny binding, couldn’t figure out how it worked. And that’s why, I wasn’t folding the overlocked edge over! Doh! Thanks for the tutorial and the detailed photographs.
Great tute! But please help! Why does my twin needle sewing strech the binding?
you probably need to lengthen the stitches.
Mary Ann says
just stumbled over this while struggling to understand the binding – your photos were like a giant lightbulb – thank you so much. I can now finish my first Jalie racerback! Bought a bunch of knit fabrics to try and get better with sewing knits so I am now ready to cut into the good stuff.
Thanks so much for sharing..and such a terrific blog..previously used other style add on binding this looks so much neater and feminine
Thank you SO much for making this tutorial!! You completely saved me and I learned a LOT. This is really well done. Cheers!
Would it also work to serge the binding into a loop but then fold it in half lengthwise (wrong side together) and serge both long edges to the shirt edge at once? That way when you top stitch, it wouldn’t be as fiddly as wrapping around. Just a thought.
NO reason you couldn’t try it out and see if you like doing it. I personally think folding as you go isn’t as fiddly as it might seem before trying it, but the great thing about sewing is there are so many ways of doing things you can keep trying them until you have a method you really like.
I tried this once but I see here what I did wrong! I folded the band before serging it to the top which led to too much bulk when it was brought to the right side for twin needle finishing! Thank you for this fix 🙂 If I’d sewn up my Jalie pattern I would have known to do this correctly 🙂
wow thank you so much for posting ……love it will try……..