Learning to Sew Series Part 4: How to Finish an Edge


It’s Day 4 of the Learning to Sew Series and we’re back with a great tutorial for you today. Now that you’ve gotten to know your machine, sewn a few stitches, and learned how to seam, we’re ready to move on to a sewing skill you’ll use in almost every project: how to finish the edges.

Raw fabric edges can fray and don’t look very nice on a finished piece. To hide those unsightly edges you can create a hem or add a binding. In today’s video you will learn 3 commonly used methods of hemming as well as how to add binding to the edge using a binding attachment for your sewing machine.


Once you’re feeling comfortable with these hem styles, you can find tutorials for more specific, project-based hem styles in this post on Hem Construction Techniques.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow, as we move on to Part 5 of our Learning to Sew Series: How to Sew a Zipper.

  1. Jim Blackmore said:

    Segment number three did not come in my email. I was able to find a link to it within the text of number 4.

    All in all: a most useful series for me to learn the Sailrite sewing machine that I just purchased.

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Jim,
      Sorry you didn’t get Part 3 via email, I’ll look into that. Glad you found it and are enjoying the series though! Thanks for your comment!

  2. no one said:

    Why did you stop after finishing binding just one edge??? I wanted to see how you go around corners using edge binding…and I mean mitred corners — not individual pieces of binding for each edge.

  3. We don’t miter corners with narrow binding. Generally it is cut at the edge and a new length is started on the adjacent side. Use of a hotknife to melt the raw edge is important which eliminates unravelling of the yarns. An alternative is to create a radius at the corner and bend the binding around the curve. This looks great but the material will curl a bit at the corner after being sewn.

  4. noone said:

    So you’re saying the LSZ-1 is incapable of doing mitred 90 degree corners? Or you are?

  5. noone said:

    …because I happen to know for a fact that other machines (and operators) can do this with 1″ grosgrain…

  6. Doing a miter has nothing to do with the sewing machine. This would not even have anything to do with the binder. A 90 degree corner requires a manual operation to create a mitered look. I would agree with a 1″ soft grosgrain tape it should be possible since it bends so nicely and is generally very thin (it is soft). But with a two edge turn Acrylic binding it just is not practical. Hope this makes sense.

    • John N said:

      Makes sense to me. As a beginner I’ve never used binding but I did buy some 3/4 acrylic binding from Sailrite with plans to experiment but haven’t yet. This is the first time I’ve heard of “mitered” corners so I grabbed my binding and folded it and I now realize what a mitered corner is. (not hard to figure out) I also noticed that when folded into a miter you’d be sewing through 12 layers of fabric plus what ever you’re sewing the binding to. With the acrylic binding that makes a fairly thick lump. So, it makes sense to me that it’s “just not practical”
      Enjoying the videos. Thanks.

  7. no one said:

    Not really. I don’t understand why you will not show how to do them in a video if you are able to do it and the machine can.

  8. We have put “turning corners with edge trim” on our future to do list of videos.

  9. no one said:

    John — you clearly are a novice…I have no idea where you got your “12 layers of fabric” figure, but it is wrong. Also, it is VERY practical to use mitred corners with grosgrain binding tape. It is obvious you have never used grosgrain tape and don’t know what it is.

    If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t post.

    Thanks to Matt for doing a future video on this.

    • John N said:

      Even as a novice to sewing I am able to count. In my post I state I’m referring to the acrylic binding purchased from Sailrite. The same stuff that Erick is using in the video. You can see in the video that the binding being used is double folded and as he sews it he is going through 4 layers of binding material in addition to the fabric he is sewing it to. If he were to fold that binding into a miter at the corner, he would then have to sew through 12 layers of the binding material right at the corner, plus the work piece.
      I know what grosgrain ribbon/binding is. I have Google. It is generally not double folded and as a single layer when folded into a miter it would be six layers right at the corner. It may be VERY practical for mitered corners but it’s not what I was referring to nor was it being used in the video.

      • Nikki said:

        You are both right, and please let’s keep the comments friendly.

        The issue is indeed the thickness of the binding when using “marine” acrylic trim, which is already two layers prior to any folding. So it is indeed true that it would build thickness quickly when mitered or overlapped. But there are also trim materials which are very thin, single layer product with woven finished edges. This type of trim is soft and thin enough that it can be treated in different ways.

        I think the distinction here is “marine and awning” work verses “craft and bag” projects. The processes for sewing are much the same but different when it comes to aesthetics, where detail work can be much more important for fancy bags and such. Alternatively, trim for outside canvas projects must be durable and chafe resistant, which usually means it is thick and somewhat stiff.

      • no one said:

        I obviously have a lot more experience that you do, john, so you’ll forgive me if I choose to ignore any further posts of yours. :)

  10. Alan Weninger said:

    Your videos are really well done. They are very informative and easy to understand. They have been a big help. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: