How to bind an edge with bias tape or petersham (Excerpt from
Last Updated: 09/10/2014
Binding the Edge of a Corset
The following is an excerpt from the book "The Basics of Corset Building", by Linda Sparks. You can order a copy of this book here through our secure shopping cart.
Bias tape can be any width and it’s a simple strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias of the fabric rather than with or across the grain. Some bias tapes come prefolded but you’ll likely make your own so that it matches your corset fabric. Contrasting bias tape can be an attractive and simple design feature and can be made of any fabric.
Bias tape is commonly used to bind the top and bottom edges of a corset to finish these edges. The important characteristic of bias tape is its ability to stretch and shrink to accommodate both concave and convex curves without puckering or pulling. An ordinary ribbon doesn’t respond the same way and can’t be used to bind the curved edges. A cotton or cotton/viscose petersham ribbon will work but you need to be sure it’s a real petersham ribbon and not polyester. Many terms are misused and you may think you’re buying petersham ribbon and it’s not. The right petersham ribbon won’t have smooth selvedges. The edges will be bumpy. If they’re smooth then there is a woven selvedge to stabilize the ribbon and it won’t stretch and shrink as needed. Bias tape will always work and is the best product for the novice corset maker to use.
Test your choice in ribbon before sewing. It should pin neatly into place without puckering or pulling. The visual effect of your bias binding will change with the width of the bias binding you use and the size of the seam allowance. You’ll get a wider flatter look if you use a wider bias binding. Sew a ½” (13mm) seam allowance and don’t trim it down, and you’ll get a smaller more three-dimensional look if you use narrower binding, or trim the seam allowance down and use the double bias method.
Making Your Own Bias Tape
This is simple if you have the right tools: a two-inch wide see-through ruler and rotary cutter or scissors.
First: Do the Math!
For Single Bias Binding
Bias tape needs to be at least four times the desired finished width of the binding. Add ¼” (6mm) to 3/8” (9mm) total to help with the stretching and easing you may have to accommodate when binding curves.
For Double Bias Binding
Bias tape needs to be at least six times the desired finished width of the binding. Add ¼” (6mm) to 3/8” (9mm) total to help with the stretching and easing you may have to accommodate when binding curves.
Note: You may want to measure the lengths of the top and bottom edges to see what lengths you’ll need. If the lengths are longer than what you can get in one piece of bias tape, then you’ll need to piece the bias tape before sewing it onto your corset.
Applying Bias Tape
There are two basic methods of applying bias tape to a garment; single and double binding. Double binding is sometimes known as French binding.
Both methods have been illustrated using 2” wide bias tape, a common size available for purchase at most retail stores.
Making and Applying Petersham Ribbon
Petersham ribbon can also, be used to bind your corset edges and is even simpler to use than bias tape. Petersham ribbon can be difficult to find and good color matches may be impossible so bias is often a better choice as it can be made out of the same fabric as your ) corset.
If you do choose to use Petersham ribbon the 25mm (1'') wide size is a good choice.
Tags: how to finish the top edge of a corset, how to bind a corset top edge, how to use bias tape to bind an edge, how to use petersham ribbon to bind an edge