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30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode Sixteen / Fabric Banding

On episode sixteen of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech, Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock talk about how to create fabric banding. (Air date Wednesday, May 22, 2019).

You can listen to episode sixteen here: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech Podcast

Banding from Scratch

Adding a banding of fabric to draperies, valances, shades and pillows, creates a beautiful custom detail. You can purchase tapes and banding, and in episode eight of the podcast, Ceil and Susan talked about purchased trims and how they are used. In this episode, the discussion is about making banding from scratch... how to turn fabric into banding.

The photo below is an example of a banding cut from a stripe fabric. Designer: The Red Door Workroom: Susan Woodcock, Home Dec Gal

From figuring the yardage, to planning, cutting and sewing, it takes a lot of time and overall skill and knowledge to make a trim. This episode of the podcast will focus on how to make flat banding trim.

Banding: The Basics

One of the most common banding applications is to place banding along the leading edge of a drapery. The first order of business is to figure how much yardage is needed.

A few questions to ask:

Is it an appropriate fabric for that purpose? A cotton or cotton blend fabric, or a fabric that can be pressed with an iron is the best choice. Velvets, thin silk, polyester or a fabric that frays could be a problem.

Is it a solid or a print fabric? With a solid fabric you can cut pieces for the banding side-by-side without much waste. A print fabric may need to be pattern matched. With a print fabric, you will need to know the horizontal repeat to understand how many matching pieces you can cut.

Can it be railroaded? If the fabric can be railroaded, you can eliminate having to seam the banding pieces together. Click here to learn more about railroaded fabrics in Episode One of the podcast/blog).

Will it need to be stabilized, or lined? If the face fabric is dark, and the banding is of a lighter color then you might need to add a strip of lining under the banding. A fabric that is thin or frays will need to have an interfacing or stabilizer added to the fabric before it is cut.

The ideal choice for easy banding – a solid, cotton fabric that is a darker color than the drapery fabric. Other fabric choices could require more time to fabricate the banding.

Planning for Banding

Ideally, you do not want to have seams in the banding. That means cutting long pieces the length of the drapery and adding a few inches to the top and bottom. You want a continuous, flat band without any interruption. A seam will not be as flat, and can look less than perfect for this purpose.

But, sometimes you have to seam the fabric. Maybe the client already has a fabric, or limited yardage is available and you can’t cut long enough pieces. Or, you can’t cut lengths because of matching a pattern motif. If you must have seams in the banding, try to place them either above, or below eye-level, or where they will be less obvious.

Cutting Banding Strips