top of page

30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode Seventeen / Shaped Banding

Updated: Jun 4

In Episode Seventeen of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech, Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock discuss Shaped Banding. (Air date June 12, 2019).

You can listen to this episode here: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Shaped Banding

In episode sixteen of the podcast, Ceil and Susan talked about making and applying fabric banding that was straight, or turned at a right angle. There wasn't enough time to discuss shaped banding so in this discussion you will learn how to add banding around shapes and curves.

Adding banding is such a custom touch – whether it’s straight or shaped… but a shaped banding really is something special. In this episode learn how to make edge banding, and inset banding that follows a shape or design.

Edge Banding

An edge banding or binding wraps from the front to the back.

For a shaped edge that’s straight – like a stair step with right angles – you can cut the banding pieces straight of grain. But if the banding needs to ease around curves then you will want cut on the bias. The example below shows a banding that finishes the edge around corners, and curves.

Banding sewn on the edge, following the shape.

For inside corners, you can sew the banding to the corner, set the needle down and then pivot to continue sewing. For the outside corners, you will sew the banding to the corner and then fold back the banding to create a miter. "It’s a technique that’s used when binding the edge of quilts, or placemats", Susan said.


1. Cut the banding strips four times the finished size + 1/4 inch for take up. For a 1/2-inch finished banding cut 2-1/4 inch wide bias strips.

2. Sew to the edges using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. For inside corners, seat the needle, pivot and turn. For outside corners stop 1/2-inch from the edge and backstitch. Fold the banding to create a 45 degree angle as shown in the photo below.

Sewing banding to the edge

3. Fold the banding again - to the left and over the angled fold.

Sewing the corners

4. Resume sewing 1/2-inch from the corner.

Banding is sewn to the front

5. Press the banding from the front, making sure the mitered corners are neat.

Press from the front

6. Fold under the cut edges and press. Make sure the stitching is covered. Pin in place.

Fold the banding to the back, press and pin.

7. This banding was hand sewn.

Hand sewing the banding to the back.

Wider Width Shaped Banding

Bias cuts do give some stretch and ease, but that’s not going to work for banding over 1 inch finished width on shaped edges. For larger size banding Susan does not recommend a wrapped method. "It will have a tendency to pull and twist on something like a soft valance, round table skirt, or swag" Susan said. There are two methods for adding a wide, edge banding around shapes.

Method 1:

Use the bottom shape and cut the banding to the shape needed, adding for seam allowances. The banding is sewn to the fabric with a seam allowance at the top and bottom.

"The best way I know to describe this to listeners is to imagine a circular table skirt", Susan shared, adding..."if you wanted to add a 3-inch banding, then you would need the banding to be a big circle".

It is not possible or practical to cut a huge circle out of one piece of fabric, so you have to make a template and cut it in sections. Take the fabric into consideration when cutting. A small gingham check will look pretty on the bias but a stripe might not. The banding will be cut in sections, joining together to create a large circle before applying to the table skirt.

Susan referenced a magazine article she published showing how to make a table skirt with a 3 inch banding on the bottom edge. You can find this in Drapery & Design Professional magazine, Volume 2013, Issue 4. Click here to go to the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library to learn how to access past issues.

Method 2:

Apply the shaped, main fabric over a long strip of the banding fabric, and then cut the banding fabric to follow the shape. You need to make sure that you deduct the banding size from the length of the main fabric when cutting out the shape (adding for a seam allowance). "You are basically making an overlay of the valance fabric onto the banding fabric", Susan said, "glue basting is a great way to hold the pieces together before sewing".

Susan recommends adding a small diameter welt cord to the bottom edge, and at the top of the banding, too. "On the bottom edge and it will look better, and turn right sides out easier if there is a small welt cord in the seam" she shared. The photos below are from the Advanced Banding Workshop at Workroom Tech.

Creating a wide shaped banding in class at Workroom Tech

Shaped banding created in class at Workroom Tech

You can use these two methods with a straight bottom edge, or change up the design. You don’t have to follow the shape. Imagine the possibilities! The example below was created by a student at Workroom Tech. It combines a shaped banding with a straight edge.

The banding is curved to match the pattern motif.

Inset, Shaped Banding

Shaped banding that is inset from the edge is very time consuming to make but it looks fantastic. Iron-on interfacing or stiffener is used to create a base for the banding.

For a drapery or valance, use a lighter weight interfacing so the banding can drape and move with the face fabric. For something more sturdy like a cornice board or soft cornice, a heavier weight interfacing, buckram or even Skirtex or Peltex can be used. This creates a crisp edge that’s much easier to wrap and glue the cut edges to the back. With this style of banding you will be clipping curves and corners and gluing to the back of the interfacing, which will also help to keep it from fraying.


1. Draw the bottom shape first, following the design. Measure up the amount the banding will be inset and draw a line. Measure again for the width of the banding and draw a line.

Draw the shape on an iron-on interfacing

2. Cut out the banding shape from the interfacing and iron to the back of the banding fabric.

3. Trim around the interfacing, allowing enough fabric to wrap to the back. Clip curves and corners, press to the back and glue.

Clip, press and glue

4. The banding is applied to the finished cornice board with adhesive.

Finished inset banding

Stapled Banding on Cornice Boards

Ceil shared another method for adding banding to cornice boards. "You can staple to the front and then cover the staples with cording". That method of stapling is known as an "ant trail" in the workroom industry because the staples are lined up end-to-end. The trail of staples is covered with welt cord, gimp braid or double welt. The cornice board below is made with this method. (Credit: Annie Davis, AL Designs, Omaha, Nebraska)

Cornice board with banding

Pricing for Custom Banding

Susan suggests that if you have never made this type of banding, it’s a good idea to make a practice piece, to see how long it’s going to take to draft the pattern, cut and make and apply banding. "Then you can estimate a price per foot or yard based on your hourly rate and any materials you need to use". You are creating a one-of-a-kind, custom embellishment!

489 views0 comments
bottom of page