Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

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Slocan Tank Binding Attachment Tutorial

Our new Slocan Tank is a great basic pattern! Of course you can sew it using only your sewing machine and that works really well, but today we want to explore how beautiful it can look if you use a binding attachment on a coverstitch machine. I don’t happen to have a binding attachment, so today we’re going to welcome Anya Cooper from Anna Zoe Patterns to the blog to show us how to use one. Take it away, Anya!

Slocan Tank sewing pattern by Helens Closet
Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

I’m very excited to share what I have learned about using a binding attachment on my coverstitch machine. I will not say the whole process is a breeze, but once you set up the binding attachment and get the binding going, it becomes easy. The set up and practice are the hardest parts of this process, and I am okay with that because I can toss the scraps and not worry about messing up my final make. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

First, let’s talk about binding attachments. These intimidating-looking attachments come in a variety of sizes that produce different final widths. It is pretty restrictive as one attachment can only produce a single binding width. 

Some attachments are universal and supposedly fit a variety of machines, while some are made for specific machines. I have a BabyLock Ovation and I used the binding attachment specific to that machine. 

A word of warning: the instructions for the different sizes of attachments are the same. My attachment came with instructions that listed all the binding sizes on them. Do not get confused (like I did!), and assume that your binding attachment can make all of these different bindings widths. It can’t.   

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

The binding attachment lists two numbers in millimeters. If you are used to inches it can be confusing. The bigger measurement is the width of the binding strip you need for this attachment. The smaller number is the final width of the finished binding that the attachment produces. 

For example: 38mm – 10mm will take a 38mm (1.5”) wide binding strip and makes a 10mm (⅜”) wide binding. Conversely, 48mm – 15mm will take a 48mm ( 2” ) wide binding strap and makes a 15mm (⅝”) wide binding. 

I used a sharpie to write the necessary binding strip width on my binding attachments so I do not have to convert millimeters to inches every time.  

For my Slocan Tank, I decided to go with a 15mm (⅝”) binding attachment because I like a slightly wider strap on myself. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

When using a binding attachment to construct the Slocan Tank, ignore the binding pattern pieces that come with the pattern. Instead, cut 2 or 3 long binding strips at the width your attachment requires. Two strips should give you enough binding to set the binding up and attach it to the Slocan Tank. However, if you are just starting to figure out how to use your binding attachment, I recommend cutting three strips. This will give you plenty of material to practice with and you’ll still have enough leftover for the final top. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

With right sides together, sew the short ends of the binding strips to connect them. Do not connect the binding strips on the bias like you would with bias binding. During my testing this messed up the binding every time, whereas a straight seam produced better results. Press the seam allowances open. 

Now, it is time to set up your binding attachment! 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

If you have a combo serger/coverstitch, sew the side seams of your Slocan Tank before switching it to coverstitch. My combo serger/overlocker is such a pain to switch over, and I would be annoyed if I had to do it after all of my binding stuff is set up. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

The binding attachment has a long opening along the front of it. This is where you screw it onto your coverstitch machine. Your coverstitch machine should have two screws to use for that. The screws do not come with the binding attachment, they should have come with your machine.

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Once the binding attachment is screwed into the coverstitch machine, it is time to feed the binding strip through it. The instructions will tell you how to do that. My binding attachment requires feeding the binding strip with the wrong side facing me. It seemed a little counterintuitive initially, but once I got it going it made sense. 

Once you feed the binding through the attachment, you will need to pull a little bit of binding out the end near the machine foot and fold it into the shape it should be once sewn. Fold the two raw edges towards the middle and then fold the whole thing over on itself to enclose the raw edges.

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Place the folded binding under the foot of the coverstitch machine. The foot on my machine does not go too far up, so I really had to wiggle it in. Do not worry about it being perfect; it just needs to be folded and placed under the foot where the needles can get it. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Start sewing. You will see your binding coming out all wonky at first. That’s okay.

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Sometimes, my binding gets caught on a little hook in the binding attachment, and I need to free it so that the attachment can straighten the binding out. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Once the binding is coming out flat, look to see where the stitches are landing. Are they too far from the folded edge? Too centered? Loosen the screw slightly and slide the binding attachment a little to the left or right to adjust where the needles end up. Sometimes, I have to do it a few times before I am happy with the positioning of the stitches. 

Word of warning though—do not place your stitches too close to the folded raw edges. This tends to stretch the binding out as you sew.

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Once you are happy with how your binding and stitches are coming out, try feeding a piece of scrap fabric through with the binding. Place the fabric into the small opening, right between the binding as it is being fed through the attachment. The fabric will get caught and will move together with the binding. You do not need to pull on the fabric to stretch it. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

When sewing the binding, try to keep an eye on the way the binding is being fed through the squiggle coil on the attachment. Jersey fabric tends to curl and if I am not paying attention, my fabric might curl and fold. This results in wonky binding. If you see this happening, stop and flatten out the fabric in the coils.

Once you are done binding a piece, cut the binding off on the back side of the foot . Some of the binding will still be there and the binding is still going to sit under the needles. It is still set up and ready to go, much like how a serger keeps a thread chain tail. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Once you are ready to bind the tank, start feeding the front neckline in through with the binding. 

If you’ve attached strips of fabric together to lengthen the binding, double check to make sure that the seam line will not end up on the front neckline. It’s not as big of a deal for the seam to land somewhere on the back neckline, but ideally it’s not front and center.

Once the front neckline has been bound, keep sewing the binding for a little bit and cut it from the machine. Trim the ends on the front neckline. Now you are ready to sew the straps and bind the back neckline. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

First, sew the straps. To do so, keep sewing the binding by itself until you reach the necessary length. Sew about 20” (50 cm) of binding for the strap (do not include the wonky bit at the start).

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Once you have enough strap sewn, start feeding in the garment starting at the front armscye. Slowly work around the side seam and then bind the back neckline until you reach the other front armscye. 

Keep sewing the binding to make the second strap. Sew it to the necessary length and cut to remove it from the machine.

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

That’s it! Try the tank on and check the length of the straps by safety pinning them to the back. Make sure they are both the same length. 

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Attach the straps to the back of the tank with a bartack. Hem the tank, and you are done! Congrats!

Coverstitch Binding Attachment Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

See, it wasn’t so bad! Just a little bit intimidating, but the results are worth it in the end.


Thank you to Anya for sharing her knowledge and experience with us about using a binding attachment on coverstitch machines! I would love to get one of these so I can try the technique out myself—it looks like a lot of fun once you get the hang of it! You can follow Anya at annazoepatterns.com and @anna.zoe.sewing on Instagram.

Slocan Tank sewing pattern by Helens Closet
About the author

Helen

Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

4 Comments on “Slocan Tank Binding Attachment Tutorial”

  1. Oooh, I’m definitely going to have to check this out – I didn’t know such an attachment existed, thanks for sharing! Is it possible to sew on binding in the round with this, like for a tee neckband? I feel like that might not be possible with the way it starts, but that would make it even more useful!

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