Here is how it works!
Whenever possible, I like to sew my seam before applying the hem tape to the raw edges of my fabric. This way, if any stretch occurs, your piecing will not be affected.
Step 2: Double-Seamed Method
1. Pin and sew your seam as you normally would.
For my first seam I do not use pins, but you certainly could if it would make you more comfortable. The seam binding is a bit sheer and very delicate, so you should be able to see/feel where the edge of your material is. I like to place the binding so a bit more than half of the binding hangs over the edge (if your fabric if thick, you may want to have even more hang over the edge to accommodate the thickness). Stitch this is place and continue unwinding from the spool at your feet until you reach the bottom of your seam.
This method obviously uses up twice as much thread, but I find that I get the best results. I do not have to struggle with a narrow folded piece of drapey rayon and I do not have to pre-cut lengths of binding, so in the end, I feel like it saves time and frustration.
But that’s just me.
Step 8: Pre-Fold Method
For this method, lengths of seam binding are cut to the length of each raw edge that needs to be covered. If I go this route, I like to use pinking shears to cut the binding. (While the lengthwise edges are woven and will never ravel, the cut ends have a tendency to fray.)
[Forget I said that – it may end up being you favorite part and I would not want to influence you! ]
Encase the raw edge of you fabric with the thinner folded edge on the top and pin in place. Go back to the sewing machine and stitch as close to the edge of the seam binding as possible. When you turn your seam to the wrong side, you should have easily caught the back side of the binding.
If your stitches look a bit wavy or the binding looks ruffled, go back to the ironing board and press your seam flat with a bit of steam. Presto, you have a beautifully finished seam edge.
Step 14: Pre-Fold Hand Stitched Method
This method is the same as the pre-fold method except that you will be hand stitching the seam binding.
I have found that with a piled fabric like velvet or some thicker wools, the folded rayon does not like to stay in place with the Pre-fold method and then you have to fight your machine, the stitching line is no longer straight, and frustration ensues.
I should also confess that I find hand sewing to be incredibly relaxing (unless you are on a deadline!) and easier to keep things from shifting.
I use a combination of a running stitch with a few backstitches every few inches to make sure that the running stitch does not gather my seam.
And look, you now have another completed seam that needs to be finished! Time to get to work!
Step 16: *A Few More Things to Keep in Mind*
If you have perpendicular seams, make sure to finish all of your seams traveling in the same direction before sewing up cross seams. For instance, each lengthwise skirt seam should be bound before the skirt gets stitched to the bodice along the waist seam. This will catch all of the ends of the seam binding in that waist seam, which, in turn, gets finished with the binding.
Step 17: More Fun Facts
Rayon seam binding also works great as hem tape.
And contrasting colors can looks very pretty, so don’t worry if you cannot find an exact match to your fabric.
Step 18: Curves
To bind an armscye, I trim the seam down before applying my seam binding. This works beautifully!
Have fun!! I will warn you - this stuff is addictive!