Sunday, 28 September 2014

Review/Tutorial: Prym Bias Binding Tool, Me-Made Corsetry Plus Some Sneaky Sewing Time

 Bear with me sewing people. This post is going to be quite long as it has some sewing with loads of pics plus a product review for a tool that I find to be one of the most useful that I own. Now to start off I was at the Studio yesterday and managed to sneak in a  little sewing time, in between moving furniture and mini-meetings.

Totally rocking shot  of Lois Wetherup by the awesome  Tom Farmer @ Glasgow Photographer, Knickers and fascinator by the super-taleneted Marie @ Amuse Bouche. Corset by me.

There is much going on at the moment, everything is in a state of flux, so loads to do.

Recognize this fabric? Yep, it is the leftovers from my Flea Market Fancy shirt. Nothing wasted in Kitty Towers.

More on that when it is all finalized. However despite all the too-ing and fro-ing I managed to complete the lining for the orange neck corset and make the outer and lining for a red one.

Lovely super thick silk, so many pieces.

The red one will match the corset above that I was commissioned to make for a Miss Scotland to be featured in a Christmas-themed shoot for The Sun newspaper a year or so ago. I am trying not to look at my wrinkly fabric. Nice fit though for only having the rough measurements.

I am going to use the two of these in the upcoming photo-shoot and am looking forward to getting them finished. I have to say that making a neck corset probably takes me as long as making a bigger one.

I always line in quilting cottons. They are so pretty and the cotton is nice to wear next to the skin.

My pattern has 12 pieces to cut out in the outer silk fabric, interfacing, corset coutil and then a lining. the shell is sewn up from the interfaced silk flat-lined to the coutil. The boning is sewn to the shell and the lining will be hand-stitched onto that to keep it in place. They don't lie flat as they are both shaped to be three-dimensional. Plus I will steam them into shape and leave them to cool down in the same way that you would do a coat collar.

Once that is done I will  tidy up the edges and cover them with bias binding, sandwiching all the layers together and unpicking the holding stitches. This is where one of my favorite wee gadgets comes in - my Prym bias binding tool.

NB.To be fair I also have ones from Clover and they are equally as useful but this is the one I will always reach for first as I like the little handle and the size.

One of my favourite tools, ever!

The tools are simplicity itself to use and they come with pretty good instructions but here is my method.

Here are my bias strips. I have ironed them flat. Look how the grain is on the diagonal. That is the bias and will allow it to curve round edges easily.

You will want to cut out strips ON THE BIAS that are twice the width as stated on the tool e.g for a 12mm tool cut 24mm, for an 18mm tool cut 36mm, etc. If I am using silk (as I am here) I cut out 40mm strips instead of 36mm just because they will shrink widthways when you pull them through the maker. You won't need to do this with a thicker fabric like cotton.

Plus you need to be quite accurate in your cutting or your will get wonky binding.

The back of the tool. Right side of fabric facing this way.

An easy way to get your first cutting line is to fold over one end of your fabric so that the selvedge is at 90 degrees to the selvedge on the other side to form a right-angled triangle. Give this an iron and, hey-ho, your cutting line. The pointy ends of your strips make it easy to push through the maker but if they don't you can pull it through gently with a pin.
To make your binding you will need to push your fabric through the tool with the right side facing downwards. The fabric will be folded round as it goes through to create the little flaps on the back of the bias as illustrated below.

Please ignore the stray thread. Never noticed that one when I was taking the pic.

It helps to secure the end of your strip to your ironing board with a pin so that you can pull against it gently when you are ironing. Use loads of steam (test your fabric first) and keep the point of the iron quite close to where the binding comes out. you should then end up with beautiful "single-fold" flat binding that you can either use as is or iron over double to create "double-fold" tape.

Easy peasy! Now you have no excuse for finding matching binding, plus the design options are endless. I really recommend buying one of these if you use binding at all. They come in lots of widths too and are only about £7 or £8 depending on size & brand.

Apologies for the wonky photo editing and hopefully will have a few more things to show next week.
Take care,  lovelies!

P.S. I won a sewing pattern  giveaway from the brilliant "Pendle Stitches" blog so will be making a much needed bag at some point. Huge thanks for the pattern. Am chuffed to bits. xx

Disclaimer: The views above are totally my own and this is definitely not a sponsored post.


  1. Gorgeous photo, fab corset modelled to perfection. Ah, those were the days..... when I could wear something like that. What a nifty little tool as well... which sounds as if I would ever use one and it's something I simply must add to my sewing box. Sad to say, as I've mentioned before, sewing and me no longer go together... to use a dreadful modern word which I don't understand... I've lost my sewing mojo! When I was a child, a mojo was a chewy penny sweet!!!

  2. Hi Edwina, thank you for your very kind compliment. I am really sorry to hear that you have lost your sewing mojo. Happens to me a lot too. Did you just burn out from doing too much or just not feeling the love anymore? Mojo's were lovely, them and Blackjacks. Those were the days. Do you know I think that the word "mojo" might be older than you think. I am a big blues fan and I love the song "Got My Mojo Working" by Muddy Waters which I think is from the 1950's. Xx

    1. Well I remember the sweets from my childhood in the Fifties, and remember that song too. I like the idea of sewing, but sadly the fingers are a bit arthritic now, from lots and lots of writing and needlework. Nobody tells you, when you are young(er) that bits wear out from over-use sometimes!

  3. Beautiful corset, and what a great little gadget for making bias binding, I had no idea such things existed - I'm such a novice!
    Re the discussion above, mojo was originally a late 19th/early 20th century term for a spell or charm, probably originating in African cultures. See, I know nothing about making bias binding, but I know other stuff! xxx

  4. Hi Curtise, thank you. Yes it's a nifty wee thing. I have a bit of a bias binding obsession, as if it isn't obvious, so like to keep some at hand. Thanks for the info re:mojo. I knew it as a spell but had no idea of the orgin of the word. I love finding that out. Words are fabulous and random facts are a huge currency in my house. Yay for stuff! Xxxx

  5. I like the look of this Prym bias maker. I have one from a different brand and have never had much luck using it

    1. Hi Ms. Kestrel and thanks for your comment. I have some Clover ones but never use them to be honest. I love this 18mm one and use it for everything but I have a 12mm one and a great big one for quilting. xx

  6. Oh my, that corset is stunning! You are sew talented!!

  7. Thank you so much, Josie. I see all the wrinkles and things with it but I think that we are always critical of our own work. Loving your Halloween stuff. It is appealng to my inner goth. :) xx