Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 12

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

I’m still sewing tote bags! Which is a lot of fun! This week I posted a really nice designer tote bag. I love it! Also, this week, I’ll be posting how to sew tote bags from jeans, place mats and a shower curtain! And then after that, a quilted tote bag. I’ll send out another email about these later this week.

I just want to thank you for your active participation in asking questions, offering opinions… reading my newsletters… putting up with some of mistakes… and just being out there! It is such a good feeling to know that there a people just like me that love to sew and are eager to learn new projects. It makes my business so much fun!

In this issue:

1. How To Bind An Edge

2. Ask Jenny T. Now

3. What’s new in Simple Sewing Projects.

4. I need your help and feedback! Please read.

And now… on to this week’s sewing tip!


QUICK TIP: I just wanted to share with you real quick… if you ever want to see a complete list of all the sewing projects on visit:

If you would like to read the back issues of Sewing Tips, visit


Sewing Tip #12: How To Bind An Edge

Binding an edge is a nice way of finishing off a raw edge of your project. Simply put, it’s a method of sewing a thin strip of fabric to the raw edge of your main project and finishing the look. You can bind an edge for a collar of a shirt… the edge of a pocket… the top edge of a bag… the side edges of a curtain or roman shade… and of course, the edges of a quilt!

There a few different methods to binding edges. I’m going to share with you 3 of my favorite methods.

Method 1: Using a bias binder presser foot

If you’re a frequent reader of my newsletter, then this method may sound familiar. I showed you in the video on what the bias binder foot looks like and what it does. This is a fast way to sew a 1/4″ or 1/2″ binded edge. If you have this presser foot, then this is a great tool to use when binding just one raw edge. It is not good for projects that have corners.

I used the bias binder foot when binding the top edges of my tote bags and pockets. It made the end result look really professional!

The best way for me to explain the bias binder presser foot is for you to watch the latest episode of

Method 2. Sewing on double folded bias tape

This is by far the fastest and easiest way to bind an edge. Bias tape, which you can buy at any fabric store, comes in various widths, colors and materials.

The tape is not folded evenly. You’ll notice that one side is wider than the other. This is on purpose.

To sew the tape on, simply slide the raw edges against the center fold of the tape and fold the tape over the front and back of your fabric. The wider side should be on the back.

With your fabric right side up, stitch close to the inside folded edge.The needle will catch the folded edge on the back of your fabric as you sew.

That’s it! Easy.

Method 3. Binding with bias strips

This method produces a similar effect as method 2, except that there is no loose folded edges. The binding is “one” with your project. This is the more professional and traditional method. So, if appearance is really important, you’ll want to do this method. You would also use this method when you want your binding to be made of your fabric… and if you want a custom width.

For this method you can you double folded bias tape or you can cut your own bias strips by cutting your fabric at a 45 degree angle.

The total width of the strip should be 4x the finished binding width. So for 1/4″ binding, you need a strip of fabric that is 1″ wide. For 1/2″ binding, you would want a 2″ wide strip.

Lay the binding strip wrong side up on to the front of the project. Aligning the top edge of the strip with the raw edges of the sewing project. Sew a 1/4″ seam allowance for a 1/4″ binding… or sew whatever width you want your binding to be.

Fold the strip over the stitching line and press. Fold the strip to the back of the fabric. Fold under the raw edge.

You can finish sewing the binding in one of two ways. You can flip your project right side up and stitch in the ditch and catch the folded edge in the back of the project. Or, you can hand slip stitch the binding in place on the back.

Sewing Corners

Now, I realize I haven’t explained how to handle the corners on your project. That’s because I already have a video that shows you this at It’s easier to watch and learn than for me to explain.

To watch the video that shows me Jenny T. showing you how to do these 3 binding methods, visit

Discover video and audio of even more sewing tips, how-to’s and resources by visiting You’ll even be able to subscribe to these weekly sewing tips and how-to’s and receive them through your iTunes or podcast player.


Ask Jenny T Now

While you wait for the next sewing tip, be sure to visit and submit your sewing question. Your question maybe answered in my next podcast.

Question from Betty: I watched your video on ‘top-down, bottom-up’ roman shades. However, I cannot figure out how this blind is attached to the wall. Where can I find step-by-step instructions. Thank you. Betty

Answer: This video is just a bonus add-on video to the main set of instructions for making a roman shade. For more detailed info on making and installing a roman shade visit:

Question from Beverley: Hi Jenny, Can you tell me how to cord a roman shade to a pole please. I have tried putting cord up through the rings on my shade and then through the rings on the pole but it gathers when I pull on the cords to raise the shade. So glad I have found your site. I live in England. Thank you Bev.

Answer: There are couple ways to install a rod pocket roman shade. The best way is to install a dust board behind the shade on the wall. And the board holds the hardware to raise and lower your roman shade. If it is a light weight roman shade, you can tack a wooden dowel to the top row of rings to keep the shade from pulling inward. To get full illustrated instruction, diagrams and videos for making and installing rod pocket roman shades, visit:

Question from Cheryl: I have been making custom window treatments for 10 years but lack the confidence I need to start really taking my business seriously and take on wholesale work/designers in my area. I have 2 questions. 1. I can’t afford to go to the CHF school down South, I am in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I would like just a day or two of workroom training just to polish my skills off. Do you know anyone in this area that would be willing to give me some help even for money. My second question is I am going to send out a letter with a price list to the designers to get my business moving but I don’t know how to price. I have looked everywhere to try and find pricing. I ordered videos from CHF on pricing and they recommended but nothing pulls up for this. Please help. Thank you. Cheryl Parson

Answer: I hear ya! Starting a business can be a scary thing. If you’ve been making custom window treatments for 10 years, then you have enough experience to start selling your skills. If anyone can help her out for training send me an email. Pricing: when starting out, charge by the square foot or square yard. This will help you price just right when working with small windows and when working with large windows. The more window… the higher the cost. Start out at $12 a square foot and adjust the price as you get used to working with clients. Your price will be slightly discounted when working with designers and full retail when working direct with customers. I have a site that I’ve been trying to get off the ground Send me your info and I’ll post it on the site to get you some visibility. READERS: If you are a workroom, home business… send me your details and post it on my site for you!

Question from Helen: hi jenny will you be doing a video on sunburst curtain step by step soon

Answer: Well… it wasn’t in the plans… but I never thought about it. I’ll have to let you know if I can squeeze it in this year. If not, it won’t be until Jan. or Feb.

Question from Loqua: Jenny….I love your work! The grocery bag is great… which leads me to ask you this. I saw a woman in a grocery store who made her bags from recycled denim jeans, leaving the entire top portion original. I asked her briefly how. She removed seam threads from the crotch and part of the inside leg (one leg I think), cut the fabric below this line an used the lower portion of the legs to make the straps by sewing strips of pcs together. The bag was made from the top portion of the jeans, leaving everything intact, the zipper, waistband, belt loops pockets etc. It looked fantastic! Very durable and washable. She had different sizes because she collected jeans which were donated by family and friends, and some sizes were really big. How did she do it? I would love to see you instruct us on how to recycle old denims. Thank you.

Answer: OOOOO. I know exactly what you mean! Don’t you just love neat items recycled from stuff! Ha! Alright, I tell you what. Since this month’s theme is sewing tote bags… I’ll create and post 3 new tote bag sewing patterns this week. One from a shower curtain, one from place mats and one from old jeans! Sound good. Keep an eye out this week for an email from me!

Question from Betty H.: Jenny, My question is, I made a flat roman shade for someone, it was 70″wide by 71″long, they seem to keep having trouble with it pulling up, I used the orbs, and I attached 80 metal rings on it for the cords, is that too wide of a window? Should I have done 2 shades instead of one?

Answer: The shade IS wide, but not too wide. The problem is your installation. You probably only used screweyes and maybe a cord lock? For something so heavy, you really need to upgrade the hardware. I highly recommend you check out the bead chain system at It’s designed for smooth operation of heavy roman shades.

Question from Tayoni: how to make pinch plet curtain.

Answer: You can find these instructions at:

Question from Maria: Dear Jenny, how to make a fully lined balloon valance? Thanks. Sincerely, Maria

Answer: You can find these instructions at:

Question from Sandie: I am new to quilting and am in the process of making a quilted valance. I need help with the edge treatment. What is the best way to cleanly finish the raw edges?

Answer: The best way is to bind the edge. Which is really easy! Visit to get an idea of how to bind the edges. Also, coming in September, will be how to sew quilted table runners, placemats and napkins for the holidays!

Question from Caroline: Hi, Jenny T! I’m thinking of extending my current curtains. They are made of a thick velvet fabric, are not lined and fall just below my window sill. I’d like to extend them by a foot or so, (to prevent light flooding in underneath). I was wondering if there are any rules on curtain border sizing, ie 1/5 of total length? and can any fabric be used or should i choose a similar one to what i have currently. (I was thinking silk but it would need interlining).Finally what is the best way to attach the new fabric with the original? Would it be feasible to only line the border? Sorry about all the questions! Any help would be wonderful, Kind Regards, Caroline x

Answer: There are no hard rules on the bottom border. What’s most important is that it makes sense with your window. Have the border start at the window sill and go to the floor would be perfect. Your biggest challenge will be sewing the different weights of fabric. Here’s what I would do. I would make a mini interlined silk drape for the bottom edge. Then lay the silk piece and the velvet drape WRONG sides together and sew a 1/2″ seam to attach the silk to the bottom of the velvet. Then I would get some coordinating ribbon and lay it over the raw edges of the seam on the front of the drapery panel. Then stitch that on. Now you don’t have any weird seam on the back or front.

Visit and submit your sewing question today.


What’s New This Month In

1. Project of the Month: Totes for any occassion. (*Designer Tote Bag Made from Fat Quarters now posted. More to come!*) ($27 value)

2. Window Treatment of the Month: How To Sew A Grommet Curtain. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*) ($27 value)

3. The online class “How To Sew Swags and Drapes – Please visit for more info and to sign up. ($67 value)

4. Jenny T.’s Sewing Review: Using a ruffler presser foot, a rolled hem foot and a binder foot

5. How To Sew… : How To Read and Use a Sewing Pattern (video) ($7 value)

Gain immediate access to all this exciting content plus to all of the archived sewing projects and how-to’s.

Here’s the link to subscribe to

I hope to see you in the member’s site!


I need your help and feedback! Please…

Do you have a request of what you’d like to see in A window treatment, a project, a product reviewed, a sewing technique… anything?

Can I do something better?

What do you think of a 30 day sewing challenge?

How about a monthly quilt block?

Does a member’s photo gallery interest you?

I value your opinions and I would appreciate any feedback you can offer! Thank you!!!


Happy Sewing!

Jenny T.

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