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Mastering Bag Binding Techniques: Tips and Tricks for Flawless Finishes

Are you looking to take your bag-making skills to the next level? Binding is a crucial step in achieving a polished and professional finish. I recently shared my invaluable insights on perfecting binding techniques in this YouTube video "Bag Making Tips: How to Perfect Your Binding Skills."

In this blog, I’ll delve into my top tips and tricks for mastering different binding materials and application methods to ensure your bags look flawless.

1. Overview of Binding Types

I kick things off by discussing the various binding materials you can use. Each material has its unique advantages for concealing bag seams. Here are the main types I cover:

  • Ready-made Bias Binding: Convenient and comes in various colors and patterns.

  • Water-resistant Canvas: Great for outdoor or utility bags, though it can be tricky to work with due to its lack of stretch.

  • Fold-over Elastic: Offers a smooth finish and is very forgiving due to its stretchiness.

2. Bias Binding Application

Applying bias binding can be daunting, but I simplify the process. Start by aligning the binding with the stitch line on one side of the bag without clipping it in place. This allows for better control and flexibility as you sew. Slowly sew the binding onto the bag, ensuring it's aligned properly.

3. Technique for Bias Binding

The key to a neat bias binding is aligning the crease with the existing stitch line. Slightly stretch the binding, especially around corners, to prevent puckering. This technique ensures that the binding lies flat and smoothly against the bag.

4. Finishing the Bias Binding

When you reach the end of the binding, overlap and fold the ends to hide raw edges. Secure this final arrangement with clips before sewing to keep everything in place. This step ensures a clean and professional-looking finish.

5. Sewing Equipment Suggestions

I provide valuable tips on selecting the right sewing equipment based on the binding material and bag fabric:

  • Walking Foot: Ideal for thicker fabrics and multiple layers, providing even feed.

  • Zipper Foot: Useful for getting close to the binding edge.

  • Appropriate Needle Size: Match the needle size to your fabric to avoid skipped stitches or damage.

6. Handling the Bias on the Opposite Side

After sewing one side, pull the bias over to the opposite side. Use clips extensively to hold it in place before sewing. This keeps the fabric aligned and taut, ensuring a neat finish.

7. Water-resistant Canvas and Elastic Methods

I also cover the use of water-resistant canvas and fold-over elastic. Canvas, lacking bias, can lead to puckering, so it's crucial to manage this by stretching and aligning carefully. Fold-over elastic, on the other hand, provides a smooth finish due to its inherent stretch.

8. Techniques for Elastic Binding

Elastic binding is more forgiving and can be adjusted as you sew. I suggest not clipping the entire stretch of elastic initially. Instead, adjust as you go along. Additionally, sealing the edges of the elastic with a lighter can prevent fraying and give a clean edge.

9. General Binding Tips

I emphasize the importance of patience and precision. Here are some general tips I share:

  • Take it Slow: Rushing can lead to mistakes.

  • Use a Stiletto: This tool helps with precise placement.

  • Adjust as Necessary: Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to ensure a neat finish.

10. Personal Preferences and Encouragement

I wrap up my tutorial by sharing my personal preference for fold-over elastic due to its ease of use and the quality of the finish it provides. I encourage you to experiment with different materials and techniques to find what works best for you.

Wrapping Up

Perfecting your binding techniques can significantly elevate the quality of your handmade bags. Whether you prefer the convenience of ready-made bias binding, the durability of water-resistant canvas, or the flexibility of fold-over elastic, my expert tips will help you achieve a flawless finish every time. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find the methods that work best for you.


Q: What is the best binding material for beginners? A: Ready-made bias binding is great for beginners due to its ease of use and availability in various colours and patterns.

Q: How do I prevent puckering when using canvas for binding? A: Stretch the canvas slightly and align it carefully to minimize puckering. Using the right equipment, like a walking foot, can also help.

Q: Can I use a regular needle for all binding materials? A: It’s best to match the needle size to your fabric. Thicker materials may require a larger needle to avoid skipped stitches.

Until next time happy sewing and may your bobbin always be full.

Deb x

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