The Binders: Testing and Sampling

Probably the post for which you were all waiting.  You really do need to know the other stuff; and while the retail sources didn’t seem to take me all that long, installing the adapter and the first binder was  nearly a 2 hour job. I didn’t know what I was doing. I stopped to make a gasket–and throw it away. I tried installing  the adapter in the wrong holes. Nope, SharpSewing directions were right.  Deb Cook didn’t have instructions. Her BLCS has binders engineered for her machine.  Angela Wolf, whose Craftsy course was helpful, used the Brother. Brother provides cute little accessories that snap into place. No adapter needed. Even has arrows to help you line things up.  The only blog post I recall (but don’t have a link) said it was fiddly the first time, but you’d get it.  I did. I fiddled nearly two hours and then I took pictures so I could do the dang thing a 2nd time even if it’s 2 years from now.   Most of my problems were self-inflicted. I was insecure.  I didn’t know if I was doing things right or not. I probably wasted a lot of time and could have “gotten on” sooner.

If you’re following along with me, now is a good time to read and print Deb Cooks” General Binder Set Up Info “.  I’ll tell you now and probably later too, that I stopped during the testing and sampling to re-read Deb’s posts and re-watch Angel’s course (the last lesson only).

I thought the easiest thing to do would be cutting a 2′ or more length of 1-3/4 wide bias tape and running it through the binder without trying to bind anything. Well, it didn’t work, ,, exactly. I got stitches, but no folds. The A type binder folds the top edge down 1/4” then makes a 2nd fold to fold the tape in half. Where the 2nd fold begins, the edge to be bound would be inserted.  What should come out the other side of the needles is a folded, stitched edge on the front, with a raw edge wrapped up and over the edge to be covered. The raw edge should be enclosed by the cover stitching. Mine would fold in half. I would have two raw edges (I wasn’t inserting anything to be bound).

For a better description of A and B Type binders, I refer you to Deb Cook’s “The Difference Between A and B Style Binders” Read, print or remember, but it’s valuable information.

After a about a half hour, I decided that maybe this was not so much a synchronous swimming effort as a dependent personality issue.  I cut fabric rectangles from the left overs of my last MSS Shorts (yet to be shared because I’m writing this Cookbook) and started trying to use them. Still no joy.

At this point I pulled the binder off the machine, threaded up the bias tape and just watched it as it pulled through.  This became one of those times when I re-read Deb’s descriptions and found that she said she pulled her tape until it folded into place.  Mine wasn’t folding into place. Why not? So I played with it until I accidentally pulled from the right angle and the tape folded like it should. Sorry no pic. It’s very hard for the average person to hold binder, pull tape and take picture. My pictures leave much to be desired without trying to do all 3 things at once. At this point, I’m start experiencing miniscule joy Because


I have the binder secured to the machine with the adapter plate and the tip of the binder is aligned, as nearly all the instructions I have access to say it should be i.e  the  should just almost touch the clear foot


I’ve cut the tape at an angle for feeding into the binder.


and fed the tape through the folding portion.  My binder has two ports or slots in which I can insert my stiletto within to move the tape along.


I’ve also wound the tape through the ribbon guide.


Some instruction say to do this after feeding the tape through the rest of the binder. I’ve been doing it to start with and not sure if that’s important or not.

My tape comes out folded, but won’t stay folded when I pull it back under the needles. My Solution:


I pin it in place. This is an annoying step no one else has mentioned but if it works for me then I’ll do it.


WOW and it does stay in place back there beneath the needles and presser foot!


I can even added my raw edge and was on my way binding. But…


I produce some of the wonkiest, ugliest, unusable binding.

I rip this out and do it over. Over again. Over and over and over. I slide the binder left and right, nothing doing.  Finally I think, “It’s this dang bias tape.”  I’d used it so many times it was beginning to ravel. So I cut a 1-3/4″ strip of double-knit cotton. Tried again.


If anything my results were oooooooooglier. Back to Deb Cook’s “General Binder Set Up Info” but this time I come across something interesting in the comments.  To one of her readers, Deb responds that some knits are too stretchy and floppy to bind well. The solution for her has been fusing a very lightweight interfacing before binding her neckline.

OK. Not real happy to do an extra step, but if that’s what it takes then I should at least try once. Right?


It Works! < shriek > < run around pulling out hair >


I’d like a different alignment of the stitches, but the front and back look great!

At first glance.


Then I realize that the folded edge is not being caught by either line of stitching.

This leads to more left and right shifting of the binder; fiddling with tensions; and finally I’m trying to push the binding through and into the folder at both the tip and the entry (not shown.)


You have to imagine me with the stiletto pushing the tape into the fold just about the tip and then again where it enters the folder; while feeding the fabric and trying to keep the bias off the floor. Frankly, if this is what it takes to be successful, well……

So back to reading my current favorite site, Deb Cooks “Stitches and Seams” but I started reading, “Adjusting A binder” (I recommend printing this one too.) I know I’ve read this on different blogs, but it didn’t make sense to me until now.  Reading Deb’s instructions and seeing my issues made if finally click.

I think the reason it didn’t click is because it is hard to take a picture and explain.  This generic binder, like many, has two adjusting screws at the top. The screw on the left (see red arrow on right of picture) adjusts the guide at the top (see red arrow on picture left).

The right screw adjusts the nearly invisible guide on the bottom. I’m pointing to it but I doubt you realize that’s a guide.  When you get your binder, mark where the screws are in relation to the slots that hold them. Then untwist the screws maybe a quarter turn and move the screw left and right but still within their respective slots.  The guides will move left and right.  Since the bottom of my binding was coming out the way I wanted, I put the right screw back in place and moved the left one towards the left maybe 1/16″ and tightened it.

6 hours from when I sat down with binders, cover stitch machine and camera:



I still may want to slide the binder left and right to place the stitching a little differently, maybe even try the chain stitch. But for now I can tell you that the binders work if you know what you’re doing or will take the time.

Note to reader:  One more post to go before I encourage you to spend money.


Whats In the CookBook

Page 11. Deb Cook’s General Binder Set Up Info ”

Page 12 Deb Cooks  “Adjusting A binder

Lots of wonky samples, plus 2 good ones.

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8 Responses to The Binders: Testing and Sampling

  1. ejvc says:

    This is awesome, Bev. Hadn’t realised you were doing this and it is much appreciated!

    • sdbev says:

      After owning my 900CPX approx 6 months (maybe more) I decided I needed to progress. I mean I bought the machine with thoughts of several possible uses but was doing nothing more than CS hemming of knits. I also realized that each brand of machine performs similar functions but the particulars are different. So while Debbie Cook’s blog has lots of wonderful information, it’s not exactly applicable to my Janome. I had to figure out how her experience applied to my machine — not always easy, at least for me. I also couldn’t find a lot of detailed information on the Internet for my Janome .(Maybe my fault. At times I think I’m search challenged; other times I think I’m a search master.) When I started posting projects utilizing my CS, I started receiving questions (not just comments) which indicated to me that there is a general lack of information. That prompted me to attempt more techniques and start a sub-blog for my cover stitch … hmmm…. adventures. I’m sure you can add to the discussion and I’m so glad you’re here. (Not to mention, that I blush with pride at your compliments.) I want to push the envelope. Really try different ideas. Like blind hemming with the CS or free motion embroidery or piping … or bridging or…. Well just whatever occurs. I’m not saying these techniques will be successful or become a regular part of my sewing repertoire just that I want to experiment and share!

  2. Ouch. Sounds like my first weekend with my spinning wheel, or maybe the first time I tried to use the coverhem functions on my serger. Taking pictures is a great idea. I’ll have my camera ready when I get started with my Brother binder stuff. (It may snap together nicely, but it looks like the tricky part is feeding the tape and fabric.)

    • sdbev says:

      I’m pretty Klutsky as I haven’t worked with binders designed for sewing machines or sergers and now I’m trying to make the cover stitch work. I do agree that the most tricky part seems to be feeding the page with the fabric. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Skye says:

    Great resource.
    Once you get used to attaching your binder it becomes very quick.
    Regarding light knits or those that want to curl the wrong way I find a good spray with starch helps.
    Another little aid that I have is a spool that holds my binding as it is fed into the binder – this helps reduce drag – photo.
    Another tip is to make sure that your differential is on 1 otherwise you get a gathered binding which is not a good look.

  4. Sharon says:

    I’ve just found your 900CPX cookbook and really appreciate all the information that you are sharing. I’ve had the 1000 for nearly 2 years or could be more and still haven’t mastered the binders but your detailed posts will definitely get me there.


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