How to Finish the Emery Dress with Bias Binding


As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I didn't line the bodice of my recent Emery Dress make, and instead I finished the neckline with bias binding. For some of you, this method will be old news, but if you aren't sure on how to do this technique, I thought I would break down how I bind a neckline that has a zipper up the back. Since I was doing it on my dress anyway, I figured I might as well document it for all of you that might find this interesting! So here we go...


Step 1: Cut strips of fabric on the bias. If you can get one strip to go all the way around the neckline (with some overhang) then you will only need one piece. I had barely enough of the Wildwood fabric to make bias at all, so I had to piece it in multiple chunks. It doesn't matter though since the binding ends up on the inside so all the joined seams will be hidden from view. I cut my binding 1.5" wide and then line them up to form a right angle, right sides together, with the top and right sides flush. Pin together and draw a line from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. 


Step 2: Sew along the line you drew in step one. Trim off the extra fabric, leaving about 1/4" of seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open, making one continuous strip. 


Step 3: Press the bias strip into double fold bias tape. To do this, simply fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together, lining up the top edges, and press. Unfold the fabric, and fold each side into the center crease, being sure not to unpress the first fold. This should leave you with three folds and four sections of equal width. Fold the whole thing closed and give a final press so it looks like the folded bias tape above. 


Step 4: Open up the bias tape and place on the neckline with right sides together. Line up the long end of the bias tape with the neckline, keeping the raw edges flush. Leave some overhang at both sides of the center back. Your zipper and seam allowance should be opened to the center and not folded into the dress. Pin in place. 


Step 5: Sew around the neckline in the groove of the first fold of the bias tape. Sew directly over the zipper, but be careful of any metal on the zipper as this will break your needle. (Ask me how I know!)


Step 6: Trim off the excess fabric at each side of the center back so it is flush with your seam allowance. 


Step 7: Trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4". As always, be careful not to trim anything else around the neckline!


Step 8: On the right side of the fabric, press the seam open, pressing the bias binding up away from the dress. The seam allowance on the inside should also be pressed up at the same time underneath the seam.


Step 9: Fold the bias binding to the inside of the dress along the center fold. This will cover up the seam allowance. 


Step 10: Fold and press the binding again, rolling the seam from step 5 just to the inside of the neckline. Pin in place.


Step 11: Stitch the binding to the neckline, sewing as close as you can to the inside fold of the bias binding. Press the neckline well after sewing.


Step 12: Fold and press the zipper and seam allowance to the inside of the dress. Pin in place making sure that the top edge of the seam allowance is tucked inside the dress and not poking out above the neckline.


Step 13: Handsew the seam allowance to the bias binding around the top edge of the zipper tape. Repeat on the other side of the top of the zipper. You can also install a hook and eye if you have a gap between the two sides. 


The right side of the zipper should look like the above photo, with the teeth facing out toward the center back seam and the top all tucked into the wrong side of the center back. 


And you're done! This is a perfect technique if you want to keep your Emery Dress lighter in weight without the bulk of an added lining. Just remember that using this particular method will mean exposed topstitching around the neckline. If you'd rather it be invisible, you could handsew the binding to the seam allowance instead of stitching by machine. Hope this is helpful!