Learning to sew: How to apply and sew a bias tape and a pocket in stretch fabric

In our sewing class today it’s the turn of two techniques that you will use when working with stretch fabrics: How to apply and sew a bias and a pocket. For these techniques we have used the East Kangaroo sweat fabric and the Bodysuit with straps pattern. Stretch fabrics are both comfortable and cool which makes them ideal for sewing summer garments. But before anything else, we have a few useful few tips that will help make it really easy for you to sew with stretch fabrics. Firstly, always use the correct sewing machine needle for stretch fabrics which has a ball point end. This will prevent the needle from snagging the fabric and skipping stitches when sewing. Secondly, use a scrap of fabric every time you iron the garment to prevent marking the fabric. And lastly, don’t stretch the fabric when you are sewing. This will help avoid ripples forming on the fabric surface.

how to sew a bias

How to apply a pocket

The technique that we are going to show you is equally useful for both stretch fabrics and plain woven fabrics such as our poplin.

The first thing you must do is to work a zig-zag stitch or overlock stitch around the edges. Next, make a hem along the straight upper edge of the pocket and lock stitch in place. To make the hem around the curved edges, you can do this directly with the iron or you can use a loose stitch (straight stitch with the maximum length) at a distance of 5 mm from the edge. Pull one of the threads and gather it up as we show you in the video.

how to sew bias

When ironed and flat around the seam allowance it is time to apply the pocket in the position marked on the paper pattern. Pin or baste in place then top stitch around the curved contour.

bias in knits fabrics

How to sew a bias

bias in knits fabrics

Attaching a bias is also very similar in both stretch and plain woven fabrics. It is very important, as we commented before, not to pull the bias fabric whilst you are applying it. The bias measurements are on the paper patterns. Carefully apply and pin in place. If you feel more comfortable, or are a sewing beginner, you can baste the bias in place before sewing it on with the machine.

First sew the right side of the bias fabric to the wrong side of the garment fabric (at the edge). Then fold the bias twice as we show you in the video and pin or baste before sewing on with the machine. We recommend that you using a basting thread as near to the garment colour as possible.

how to sew a bias

Bias tapes fit around curved edges perfectly. In the case of stretch fabrics because of the inherent elasticity and in woven fabrics because they are cut on the bias (the diagonal of the fabric which is the direction with most stretch).

Katia Fabrics

Find everything you need to make this project in Katia  Shops and haberdasheries. Additionally, we encourage you to visit our online sales platform KatiaShop where you can also make all your fabric and sewing pattern purchases.