The Binders: My Opinion

I know before I buy more accessories to fit the adapter or sell the 3 pieces I have (2 binders + adapter) , I need to use my setup with a real project. But my initial reaction is disappointment. Yes disappointment and it is entirely my own doing.

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When I bind with narrow tape, I want the tape to be finished nicely on the inside

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and  to be invisible on the outside (the tape not necessarily the stitching) . Neither the Type A nor Type B binders will give me the results I like with a narrow binding.

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Most of my knit necklines finish at 7/8″. I baste and then serge finish.  I like this in combination with a nicely finished binding that is nearly invisible on the outside, similar to the blue blouse.

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At times, like this tank top above, I like to fill in the armscyes with a bit of self-binding.

Neither A or B-type binders will produce this type finish.

These two uses are my most common binding procedures. I was stupidly hoping that the cover-stitch binders would make my procedures faster and neater with less effort on my part.  I do mean stupidly.  Had I given careful thought the Deb Cooks Description of the Type A and B binders, I would have realized that I seldom if ever use bindings to create finishes these accessories are designed to produce.  If I had, I would not have spent the $120 to obtain my tools. Instead I would have continued to simply admire and compliment all of you on what you are able to produce.   I mean a nice job, even if it’s not something I would do, is a nice job and deserves a compliment.

In the past, I have bound quilts. (1) I have no future plans for any quilting.  I’ve disposed of all my quilting supplies, books, etc etc. (2) Even if I were thinking about quilting, I don’t believe that my 900CPX could bind a quilt. (3) Even if # 2 were possible, I would want a traditional binding with mitered corners and straight stitching. Neither chain nor CS would be acceptable.

On occasion, I have bound pot holders, table runners and the like. I’m unlikely to be doing any potholders.  DH does all the cooking and he wants much thicker potholders than my machines can produce.  For the cost ($2 each), I prefer to just buy them at Walmart. They aren’t that interesting to sew, anyway.  I have made and could make in the future, table runners and other Home Dec items.  I don’t really care for the 1/4″ binding. It looks skimpy and cheap (on Home Dec). Often comes loose and looks just nasty IMO which means if I keep the item, I’m ripping and stitching. But, I’m gathering my thoughts and yes I might use the 1-1/4″ binder which finishes at 7/16″. I might even use the 1-3/4″ which finishes at 9/16″. I might. I might want a binding that finishes narrower. So since I have the bits and pieces and know how to use them…..

If you’ve read this far, you could be asking, why won’t you use the binders you have? Why don’t you like them?

    • I’m primarily a dressmaker.  I do a little HomeDec and a bit of crafting. I’d rather explore more artistic methods i.e. painting, sketching than delve into any of the sewing that would benefit from the binders, I think.
    • The B style binder finishes with 5 layers of fabric, two on each side and the raw edge (2+2+1=5). It can be a heavy and bulky finish.  I’ve bought and worn knit tops with this type binding. They always seem to droop at the neckline and stretch the armscye. Just what I need, right? A neckline to show my belly button  and an armscye to show my underwear.
    • Having to add a interfacing, even the light interfacing I used adds more weight and bulk to the binding.
    •  Not to mention that the particular interfacing I used is expensive.  Is it really worth the additional expense to add an interfacing for a binding I dislike?
    • On the rare occasions I’ve used bias binding in the B fashion, it was because I had the binding (either inherited or through a bulk garage sale purchase).  I wouldn’t want a type B binder because I’d feel obligated to use it for something.

I can think of  a few pluses too.

    • The “A” style binder produces a flatter finish. 2 for the 1/4″ fold 1, for the fold-in-half. With raw edge that is 4 thicknesses (2+1+1=4). If cut on the bias you don’t even need to think about possible raveling. Heck if your CS is done right, the raw edge is enclosed and won’t ravel either even if cut on the straight of grain.
    • I like to make purses. So far, I haven’t used any binding during construction,but  I could.
    • I’m trying to imagine how a narrow bias binding would look on a shirt tail hem. Not often, but I do use a narrow hem from time-to-time. I think I’ve seen some narrow binding used in place of twice-folded hem. It didn’t look cheap. In fact, it was an improvement on the twice-folded hem which tends to stretch and buckle along any bias edge.
    • A narrow binding applied flat, could be very decorate. Eh, but would it use the same tool or would I need to purchase another?
    • I’m definitely drooling over the possibility of using the belt loop maker. This despite knowing 2 other easy, quick methods of making belt loops. I just love the idea of feeding in fabric on one side as belt loops (in the un-trimmed state) feed out the backside.

At the end of the day, I have the tools and I want to put them to practical experience before making up my mind. But I would encourage you to carefully consider what binding you do now and if you would do more or do it differently if you had these tools.

Thanks for reading my “The Binders” series.  I’ll be back with things I do like to do with my CS and more experiments and samples.

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Whats In the CookBook

Nothing added for this post. It’s just the post I wish I’d read and the information I wish I’d paid attention to before investing time and $$$ into binders.

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7 Responses to The Binders: My Opinion

  1. ejvc says:

    Hi Bev – let me know if you decide to sell. I do bind (mostly wovens) in the B style and I would use the A for knits.

  2. Debbie Cook says:

    I wouldn’t consider these binders for home dec sewing. Home dec binding is usually woven; coverstitch binders are engineered for knits. Home dec binding usually starts with an unsewn “tail” so you can meet up the ends in a mitered fashion. Can’t do that with these binders.

    But there are other garment uses for binding besides sleeveless armholes. (Your blue example BTW is actually a bias facing, not binding.) 🙂 Think of a long-sleeved knit top with the sleeves “hems” bound. I think there’s an example on my pages … a mostly orange/rust knit, with rust binding comes to mind. Also, camisole straps and edging all in one (also on my blog). Neckline edges for PJs … thinking warm winter PJs is something you make?? I love the binders for necklines because they build in slight “gathering” and avoid a floppy, stretched out neckline.The binders that finish at 3/8″ are my favorites.

  3. ejvc says:

    Bev, I’d also add — if you want to bind wovens, then I think binders for sewing machines are good. Even my vintage binder makes a really nice finish.

    • sdbev says:

      I could never get the hemmers working on my SM. I was so discouraged I didn’t even try the binders. But then I really don’t want to create the narrow binding of which those binders are capable.

      • ejvc says:

        Too bad I’m not there to show you in person. I love hemmers and binders. There is a knack, though. But once you get it, it really saves time.

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