March 09, 2007

A Question on Onesies and Binding

Laura sent me this really good question on the binding around the leg opening of onesies:

I don't mind you posting anything -you can use my name. I actually want to ask many things but for now off the top of my head I have a question about making onesies.

When I went to my pattern maker he said that the banding that goes around the edges, where the snaps go, comes on rolls. What is it called? I can't even find this. I am using bamboo fabric so that part I would like to be organic.

It looks like it's just rib fabric, would I have to get it made or how is it usually done? I've been working on getting t shirts right for a while, almost there. That's a whole other thing that's been challenging. The onesies are the next thing.

The banding (or rather BINDING) that goes around the edges does come on rolls (more about this below).

You can choose whatever fabric you like for the binding. I have seen it made out of the same fabric as the onesie (generally an interlock) or a rib knit. You could even use a jersey, but it can be problematic because it doesn't have a lot of stretch. If your onesie is made of an interlock and you choose a rib knit for the binding, you will need to make sure the two fabrics are dyed together. No worries if you use the same fabric or contrasting color.

Here are some things to think about:

How heavy is the fabric? Will it be too bulky?

How much does the fabric stretch? (the manufacturer will need to adjust the machines to accomodate the stretch of the fabric).

How will you apply the binding? - You can do a double fold, single fold on top - flat on bottom, contrasting thread. Also consider the type of stitch - coverstitch, single needle, chain stitch.

I pulled some onesies out of my stash of samples and they all had a different application (pictures below). Do some comparison shopping to get an idea of what you would like. Buy a sample of what you DO want to show your sample maker and patternmaker.

Now how do you get the rolls of binding in the first place? There may be some fabric suppliers that will pre-cut the fabric rolls for you, although I imagine that would be the most expensive option. There is an easier way. When you determine your fabric yields or allocations, you have to figure out how much binding you will need. By doing some math, you can then figure out how many yards of full width fabric you need (maybe I will demonstrate the math for this, just not today). If your binding is the same fabric as the body of the onesie - just order extra fabric for the body. If your binding is different, you may have a separate fabric minimum just for the binding.

There are two ways to get the rolls made. The easiest and simplest is to find a manufacturer that has the ability to cut the rolls for you. There are machines that roll off the fabric onto a second tube and then cut the tubes into rolls with a giant saw. (From what I understand, these machines are difficult to come by and are generally antiques, at least the ones I have used were ancient. I would imagine news ones are $$$). The second option is to roll off the approximate yardage needed for binding onto a separate roll and send it off to be cut by someone like Superior Bias. Be sure to discuss these options with the manufacturer ahead of time.

You can cut your own binding for samples. Binding is generally 1" wide and cut across the width of goods. The actual width will be determined by your application method and fabric stretch.

Just a quick word about knit fabrics. Many knit fabrics are made to order and they have high minimums (sometimes as much as 3,000 yards). Some factories carry stock of their basic - usually a white fabric. When you order sample yardage, make sure to ask if the sample fabric has been completely processed - meaning washed and already dyed. Sometimes the available sample yardage is prepared for dying or printing (in other words, not completely processed). This type of fabric will shrink a lot when washed and is not the ideal for samples.

Ok, now time for some pictures:

This is a traditional binding with a contrasting rib knit fabric. The body of the onesie is a printed jersey. The binding is applied with a coverstitch machine. The binding has one fold on top and is flat on bottom. I usually call this a coverstitch binding.

This is also a coverstitch binding similar to the first example. The actual stitch is different from a traditional coverstitch, so the machine requires a different set-up. The binding is folded the same way as the first example. Of course, the design detail comes from the contrasting thread color. The binding is the same rib fabric as the body.

The binding on this onesie is made of the same fabric as the body, just a contrasting color. The fabric is a pebble (or textured) knit with not a lot of stretch. The double fold binding is applied with a single-needle stitch. The binding is a bit bulky because of the double fold and the texture. This application is probably the most appropriate for the style, just not my favorite.

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