Binding feet

This little thing is magical. It’s a binding foot. I’ve had it for a couple of years but never got round to using it until this week, when I realised I was going to have to bind fifteen metres of raw edges on my mother’s kimono. I’d normally use a narrow hem for this, but that clearly wasn’t going to work with the poly brocade fabric we chose. It ravels as soon as you look at it. The edges show so binding it had to be. I armed myself with a large roll of satin bias binding and the binder foot instructions.

I am a girl racer on the sewing machine. I like to sew as fast as possible. This is probably the reason why I’ve never had great success with my rolled hem foot, which requires slow and careful feeding. Not so with the binder foot. It takes care of feeding the bias binding correctly all on its own. I just sat there keeping the cut fabric edge aligned with the foot and the pedal right down. Here it is in action.

The end result is pretty good. Right side.

Wrong side. I think if I was doing this again I’d probably reverse the fabric and feed it wrong side up to get the slightly narrower edge on the right side, but I’m still really pleased with the results.

Of course it wasn’t perfect from the start. I found the hardest thing was figuring out how to start and stop neatly – something the instructions that came with the foot didn’t mention at all. I had most success when I started by sewing just the binding with no fashion fabric. After a few stitches I stopped and inserted the fashion fabric into the foot, pushing it all the way to the point where the feed dogs would catch it. A tapestry needle was a great help for that.

At the end of an edge I found the best thing is to keep sewing right off the edge of the fabric. The foot is then sewing the binding together with no fabric between. Then cut the binding off behind the foot, insert the next edge at the front, and start sewing again.

The bound edge has a tendency to pucker slightly. A good press afterwards seems to help with that. Now onto the assembly of the kimono.