Bound seams are a great way to give the ballet top + dress DELPY pattern – or another favorite pattern – a new effect. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through creating your own woven bias tape with fabric scraps and binding the arm and neck seams of your ballet top + dress DELPY. Feel free to use pre-made bias tape though, if you prefer!
I’ve had the idea to create a DELPY with bias seam bindings + partial button placket for some time, and I was so excited about the results when I finally got around to making one. Once I finished I immediately made another😊
Because these are actually two techniques – a bound seam and a partial button placket – I’ve decided to split the posts into separate tutorials. The steps in this bound seam tutorial can be easily applied to other woven top patterns.
What you’ll need.
- ballet top DELPY pattern pieces 1 + 2 (front bodice and back bodice). Because you will be binding the seams rather than creating a facing, you won’t need as much fabric!
- depending on your size, 196cm to 225cm (21/8 yd to 21/2 yd) of bias tape that is approx. 3cm to 4cm (11/8 to 11/2” in width). You can make your own using fabric scraps or purchase pre-made bias tape.
Click here to skip to the “Sewing the binding” section. Or, follow these steps if you’d like help making your own bias tape.
Step 1: To create your own bias tape, cut 3cm to 4cm (11/8 to 11/2”) wide strips of fabric at a 45-degree angle to the grain. The ends of each strip should be cut along the cross-grain, so that you have a trapezoid or parallelogram rather than a rectangle. The number of strips you need will depend upon the length of your strips. For the DELPY, you’ll need somewhere between 196cm to 225cm (21/8 yd to 21/2 yd) of bias tape, depending upon your size (I talk about finding the exact length a bit below).
Step 2: With right sides touching, sew the strips together at the short, diagonal ends until you have one long strand of bias tape. Press the seams open.
Step 3: Fold the strip in half along the length, wrong sides touch, and press. You’ll need to work your way down the whole strip.
Then, fold the raw edges in toward the center fold, wrong sides touching, and press again. You’ll end up with three folds, encasing the raw edges inside the bias tape.
TIP: If you’re not going to use your bias tape right away, I recommend wrapping it around an empty thread spool. This will keep your painstakingly pressed bias tape nice and neat until you’re ready to use it. And, it’s a great way to re-use your spools!
IMPORTANT: If you are following along to create the button placket + bound seam on your DELPY, be sure to create the baste guide for your partial button placket at the bust gather before binding your seams (these are mods 1 + 2 in the partial button placket tutorial).
Step 1: Follow the pattern instructions to sew your darts, either set the gather stitch or placket baste guide and sew up your top or dress, attaching the front to the back at the sides and shoulders.
Step 2: Use your tailor’s chalk to mark the seam line at the neck and arm holes. The DELPY uses a 1.5cm (5/8”) seam allowance, so measure in 1.5cm (5/8”) from the raw edge around both arm holes and the neck.
You can either trim the seam allowance off now, at the seam line you just marked. Or, you can use this as a guide along which to align your bias tape and then trim the seam allowance off after attaching the bias tape to the top. (I left my seam allowance on in the photos, but it is trimmed off in the illustrations below.)
Step 3: Carefully measure the length of the seam line that you drew at the arm and neck holes. Add approx. 2cm (3/4”) to that number for seam allowance and cut the bias tape accordingly.
Example: The arm holes of the size 4 DELPY measure about 47.7cm (183/4”). Just to be sure, I rounded up to 48cm (19”), then added 2cm seam allowance, to arrive at bias tape requirement of 50cm (193/4”) per arm hole.
48 cm seam line + 2 cm seam allowance = 50 cm bias tape for each arm hole (size 4)
I used the same procedure for the neck hole. The size 4 DELPY neck measures about 103.75 cm (403/4”). I rounded this up to 104cm (41”) and added 2cm seam allowance to arrive at 106cm (413/4”) of bias tape for the neck hole.
104 cm seam line + 2 cm seam allowance = 106 cm bias tape for the neck hole (size 4)
Step 4: Open up your bias strip so that it lays flat and use your chalk to make a little mark 1cm (3/8”) in from one short edge. Align this mark with the underarm seam and the length of the bias tape with the seam line (or raw edge, if you’ve already trimmed the seam allowances) all the way around the arm hole, leaving at least another 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance at the opposite short edge. You will need to stretch the bias tape slightly to make it around the arm hole.
Step 5: Starting approx. 2cm (3/4”) past the underarm seam, sew around the arm just to the outside of the first fold in the bias tape. Stop sewing approx. 2cm (3/4”) before you arrive back at the underarm seam.
Step 6: Align the short edges of the bias tape so that the right sides touch, but the raw edge opposite the armhole is folded in (see illustration for clarification). Sew so that the seam line of the bias tape matches up with the underarm seam.
Step 7: Press the seam allowance of the bias tape open and finish stitching it to the arm hole.
Repeat Steps 4 to 7 on the other arm.
For the neck opening, if you are following along with the button placket hack as well, you will start and stop your bias binding at the baste guide on the front of your top. You will also follow the steps above, with the exception of step 6. Be sure you do not stitch over or trim the tails of your baste guide. You will need to be able to gather the baste stitch later on during the button placket tutorial.
Step 8: If you haven’t yet trimmed the seam allowance on your top, do so now.
Step 9: Fold the long raw edge of the bias tape in to the center fold of the tape, starting from the underarm. Then fold it in again, neatly enclosing all raw edges of the top and the bias tape. Press and pin.
Step 10: Edge-stitch around the arms, starting from the underarm seam, catching the fold on the inside of your top.
Edge-stitch the neck opening, starting at stopping at either side of the baste guide. Again, be sure you do not stitch over or trim the tails of your baste guide. You will need to be able to gather the baste stitch later on during the partial button placket tutorial.
I hope you love this ballet top + dress DELPY hack as much as I do! It warms my heart to see what you make with my patterns and tutorials, so be sure to tag me on Instagram and include the hashtag whenever you share your halfmoon ATELIER makes! #ballettopdelpy #balletdressdelpy #halfmoonatelier