Thom Browne, AW11, New York.
One of the ways that a sewing machinist can finish the edge of a garment, is by “binding” it with a stripe of fabric or trim. As the term suggests, the edge of the fabric is then encased inside the binding or trim, preventing the edge of the fabric from fraying or becoming too worn.
The most common form of binding is actually using strips of fabric cut on the bias grain, however during the Autumn-Winter 2011 collections there were some nice examples where grosgrain and leather have been used as an alternative.
Above and below are some examples from the Thom Browne collection, where it seems that grosgrain has been used as both a binding, and as a flat trim on other garments. Little details such as this help to tie together the collection, and help to make simple details more special. Grosgrain such as this comes on a roll, almost like a ribbon, however it is ridged and is very durable, sometimes used on the inside of waistbands to prevent wear and tear.
Below is a diagram of the basic process for binding an edge in grosgrain. Essentially the grosgrain is folded in half so that half falls on either side of the fabric. It is then stitched into place with a single row of stitching, catching the grosgrain in position at both the front and the back. Part of the reason why binding is such a good way to trim fabric is the fact that from the inside and outside of the garment you will get the same neat result.
The images below show how leather has been used as a binding on the Gareth Pugh and Hermes collections.
Gareth Pugh, AW11, Paris.
Hermes, AW11, Paris.
One of the reasons why grosgrain and leather are suitable for binding is the fact that in the grosgrain there is no unfinished edge, and in the leather the cut edge will also not fray. The process for using strips of fabric, as opposed to a folded bias binding, is simpler because of this reason. One thing to be aware of when cutting strips of fabric or leather is that if you are pulling the binding too hard as you sew, you will actually be narrowing the strip, creating an uneven border on your garment.
Catwalk images from Vogue.co.uk»
Technical images from TheCuttingClass.