1930s Sew-along with Norma: The NEC Technique for applying a bias binding to a V-neckline


At last the neckline is bound with a bias binding.  This technique evolved over postings and comments to which Norma and Carol contributed:  Details follow the photos of the neckline as completed on the latest toile.

I am still tweaking the sleeve pattern.  I went back and reviewed the very first basic toile I made for the dress form.  I also checked my patternmaking books.  Anytime a sleeve has an elbow dart, whether vertical or horizontal, the crosswise grain must balance.  Below the elbow the lengthwise grain will not align with the side seam.  The dart causes the fabric below the elbow to swing to the front.  So here is part of the answer I need for why the sleeve with a vertical elbow dart swings forward.  I just need  now to work on some more details to get the rest of the sleeve right.



I have to practice my slip stitching a little more to get this just right but I think this is a good start.


I will use a lapped zipper application.  The back of the neckline will have a hook and eye or snap closure.  For decorative purposes I may also use a glass button and silk button loop as well.

The NEC Technique for applying bias binding to a V-neckline

NEC stands for Norma, EmilyAnn and Carol.

1.Stitch shoulder seams.  Press open.

2.On wrong side of the fabric, pin and baste into place a length of Dritz 791 1/2″ wide nylon stay tape.  The tape will go from Center Back to Center Front on each side.  Do not overlap at the point of the V-neckline.  The tape is placed between the edge and above the 1/2″ sewing line.

3.Use medium length straight stitch to stay stitch and fix the stay tape into place.  Stitching should be above the 1/2″ sewing line.

4.Clip and finger press the neckline seam allowance to the right side of the fashion fabric.

5.Cut a length of the fashion fabric on the true bias that is 1 1/2″ wide.  This length should be equal to one side of the neckline plus 2″ for seam allowances and stretch factor.

6.Cut another bias strip in the same manner.

7.Turn under each side of the bias strip 1/2″ to the wrong side and steam press each side.  When both sides have been pressed like this, steam press again from the right side gently stretching and slightly shaping into a curve.

8.Baste the neckline of the bodice into place making sure the edges are trimmed.  Press the neckline.

9.It works best to pin the bias tape in place by having the bodice on a dress form.  Work from the Center Back at the beginning of the neckline by wrapping 1/2″ of the tape to the inside.  Then pin on an angle all along the neckline making sure the tape covers the fabric that has been turned to the right side.

10.At center front, angle the tape so that it forms a point at the end.  Allow 1/4″ to turn to the wrong side and pin in place.

11.Repeat for the other side.  Make sure that at Center Front the tape lines up vertically.

12.Slip stitch both edges of the tape to the neckline and bodice.

13.To join the tape at the center use the drawing stitch.


4 thoughts on “1930s Sew-along with Norma: The NEC Technique for applying a bias binding to a V-neckline

  1. The neckline looks really good now. Well done!
    I find that slip stitching that will be visible is best done with the tiniest quilting between I have. Seems to make me take smaller stitches.

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    • I have several sizes of Between needles. I’ll keep your suggestion in mind when I sew the fashion fabric. Now on to the sleeve. I’ve found a few other possibilities. As soon as the weather cools down I can work on pattern drafting.

      Liked by 1 person

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