Whether you make your own binding tape or purchase packaged bias tape, a cleanly bound edge is the perfect finish for so many projects. It’s definitely one of our favorites. However, getting a smooth and even edge along a skinny binding can be challenging. And we all know, the first thing that will keep you up at night is wavy topstitching. Well, there are probably other things keeping you up at night, but we’re kind of obsessed with straight seams. Hallelujah, there’s a new specialty presser foot from Janome that is letting us get a bit more shut eye: the Taping Guide Foot!
This foot can help you attach tape evenly and smoothly to the edge of your fabric. Adjust it to handle widths from 5mm to 20mm. You can use both single fold and double fold binding styles, either tape you’ve made yourself or packaged options.
In the photos below we’re using a standard packaged bias tape (Wrights Extra Wide Double Fold).
We show all the set-up steps with the foot already attached to the machine, which is standard. If you find it difficult to thread the tape while working with your hands right up under the head of the machine, you can thread the tape through the guides of the foot first, and then attach it to the machine.
Turn the nut at the side of the foot to open the slider so you have plenty of side-to-side room for insertion.
Insert the tape into the guide. The opening of the tape is facing left, towards the guides. You can slide it in from the side, then open it up into the upper and lower guides…
… or you can insert it directly into the guides from the front. We found this option to be the easiest, especially after cutting the end of the tape at a slight angle.
Again using the nut at the side of the foot, re-adjust the slider to fit the width of the tape and hold it in place.
Adjust the position of the guide under the needle with the thumbscrew at the back of the foot. This allows you to get the needle drop as close to the edge of the binding tape as you need for your project. You can fine tune this position by changing your needle position. We moved our needle to the left of center just a bit (from 4.5 to 5.0) for the best “bite.”
Insert the fabric between the upper and lower guides so the fold of the tape is wrapping the fabric’s raw edge(s). With the double layer of quilting cotton, we were able to simply slip the fabric in between the guides.
With the denim and fleece, we spread the guides apart every so slightly with a fingernail to help feed the thicker fabric into place.
If your project allows, we found it was nice to be able to leave an inch or two of tape extending beyond your fabric in order to be able to start stitching on the tape, continuing onto and across the fabric with a beautifully smooth seam.
Stitch through all the layers at a medium speed, guiding the main fabric with your left hand and the binding tape with your right.
The foot allows you to catch both the front and back of the binding. We purposefully stitched very, very close to the edge in order to show you what a nice, tight seam you can get. None of the samples required any pinning.
The double layer of denim stitched just as beautifully as the cotton.
The single layer of fleece also worked well, although we found that holding up the fabric/binding and feeding it down and in resulted in the best finish.
Check with your local authorized Janome dealer to pick up a Taping Guide Foot for your machine. It is currently available in two sizes, one for Janome top loading 9mm stitch width models and a second one for horizontal rotary hook models with either 7mm or 5mm stitch width.