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Binding Alternatives

The first thing that is done to a garment when it arrives in our department (I work in technical design for a fashion company in the sweaters, knits, and intimates department) is to measure it. We lay the garment flat on a table that extends out from our desk and measure across shoulders, across chest, chest, bottom opening, body length, armhole, sleeve length, as well as many other POMs (tech jargon for points of measure). With the garment flat on our table, we also analyze its hanger appeal (this includes how it looks flat… does it look too small? Too big? Is its silhouette too missy? Too boxy?) and its construction. One of the first things we notice is if the back neck seam is bound or not. As a tech, we believe…

Bindings are details that show care has been given to the making of a garment. Bindings add time to the completion of a garment and it requires meticulous and precise handling of fabric or trims. I have skipped binding seam allowances and resorted to merrowed seams allowances on many projects due to time restraints and impatience but I always regret it. When I look back on past projects where I merrowed the seam allowances, I usually wish I would have taken the extra time to give my garment a little more tender love and care. (SIDE NOTE: I do not hate merrowed seams allowances. In some cases, they are better because they are less bulky but most of the time, bound seams are the better route). Some binding methods require lots of folding back, pressing, and more folding back but this isn’t always the case. Bindings can be easy to sew! And bindings don’t always have to be bias strips of fabric. Twill, satin, or any other kind of tape can be used to conceal seam allowances as well as add a pretty little touch to the inside of a garment.


  1. Reply

    Carrie Elias

    Your posts are always so fun to read!  One of these days I will will sew something other than curtains or onto my scrapbook paper…lol <3

    • Reply


      Even if you stick to scrapbook paper, I’ll still e your follower. I love all of your scrapbook creations!

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      And one of these days, I’ll make one of your scrapbooks!

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    Ooh! I learned a new sewing term! I had never head of merrowed seams before, but now I do! My seams also rarely get finished, and I do regret it after the fact. However, even serging is better than what I did when I first started sewing (because envelope patterns don’t mention -too- much about it), which was either to pink, or at the worst, just let the raw edges go and fray themselves to oblivion. 

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      Oh no! Raw edges are the worst! I’m glad to hear that you take better care of your seam allowances.

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      Oh no! Raw edges! They’re the worst!

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    i also learned a new sewing term! “merrowed”… hmmm.. I’ll have to get used to that one! I’ve often noticed on knit t-shirts that just the back seam allowance is bound and the front is not.. why is that? 

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      Merrowed is the same thing as overlocked or serged. Sorry, I use tech jargon as if everyone else throws around these words like I do everyday.

      The reason only the back neck seam is bound (and not the front neck seam) is for cost and aesthetic. The purpose of binding the back neck seam is to hide seam allowances from being visible when hung on a hanger or folded when in stores. We want the garment to look nice and clean the first time a customer sees it. But it costs more if the binding extends around the entire neck seam, so we usually stop it at the shoulder seam. Sometimes, we add binding from AH seam to AH seam so that the shoulder seam is stabilized as well. Does this make sense? I’m glad you asked!

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         Ah!  It’s so fun to hear your tricks of the trade!  Now it makes total sense why companies would opt to bind only the back seam allowance… tricky, tricky!

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          They are tricky! And cheap!

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    I enjoy reading your articles on stuff like this!  It’s very interesting 🙂

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    Sky Turtle

    I never thought about this but I do like how bindings look like on a finished garment. I drool all over photos of garments with french seams and allowances so tidy or hidden your clothes could as well be reversible. 

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    Ooh, I’ve been making a lot of drawings of different bindings I see in t-shirts to see what I can replicate. I do like actual bindings a lot, sometimes difficult to get right in knits with a home machine. I think that has to do with the presser foot pressure… but I always wondered why some of my tees just have the twill tape on the back neckline and now I get it has to do with hanger appeal!

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