There’s something quintessentially summer about a maxi dress. My whole summer wardrobe has consisted of maxi dresses in rayon challis and cheap polyester knit these last few summers. I’ve worn them till my fingers snagged on holes in the fabric – you know how comfortable your favorite clothes are, and they’re your favorite for a reason, right? Those are maxi dresses for me. This year i decided to sew up a few of my own, and what better way to make sure I get started than to sign up to test a few?
So when I saw the tester call for Made For Mermaids’ Mama Sommer pattern, which has a stunning maxi dress option, I knew I had to test it. With single or double straps that nicely camouflage a bra strap, empire or natural waistline and a simple gathered skirt, I knew I could rock this dress. My only hesitation was the double fold knit binding which I had never sewn before. As a tester I strive to have my finished dress look as professional as I can, and was slightly apprehensive about it. But guess what? It’s easy! Read on to the end and I’ll give you my top three tips to sewing double fold knit binding.
About the Mama Sommer dress:
- Needs medium weight knit fabric with at least 40% horizontal stretch and some vertical stretch.
- Takes 3 yards of fabric for the largest size.
- mini, dress and maxi lengths
- Binding pattern pieces are included along with pattern notches to match raw edges. Made my life so easy!
The testers got together to do a few lovely hacks such as separates and woven skirts. Look for those in the Made for Mermaids blog!
And now for my top three tips on sewing double fold binding:
Make sure the binding you’re using has spandex in it. The binding must be gently stretched while you sew, so it must have good recovery which is why you want a little spandex or Lycra in it. This means that cotton interlock is definitely out. As the day goes on your straps would stretch out and your bodice would hang much lower than intended.
While pinning the binding to your bodice, use plenty of pins. Make four or eight equal section of the neckline and binding and pin them together. The binding will be stretched slightly as you sew it on, so that you achieve a smooth finish. Often the last section gets pulled too hard if you’ve not stretched the first few sections enough, and you see unsightly puckers at the neckline that no amount of steaming can fix.
Use clear elastic EVERYWHERE. I mean it. Even if the instructions don’t mention it, adding clear elastic ensures that the weight of the dress doesn’t stretch out the straps and your bodice doesn’t gape. Once you’ve sewn on the binding strip to the wrong side of the neckline, sew in the clear elastic using a wide zig zag stitch in the seam allowance. Then press the binding strip upwards and fold over to the front and continue on.
That’s it! That’s how easy it is to sew knit bindings. Thanks for following along.
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