Green Viking Hood

Green linen viking hood, by Sidney Eileen; It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

Green linen viking hood

The finished green viking hood is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

The piecing of the hood is based on the Skjold Harbor hood find, but is adapted for linen and for the style of decoration I chose to use.  As is typical for reenactment, this one is made from two square gores sewn into two long rectangles.  The original was made from three squares of fabric, so the fabric was solid right below the hood opening.  I wanted to be able to fold back the seam allowances for decorative finishing (see below), so it made sense to have a seam there instead.

Green Viking Hood - Gore Detail, by Sidney Eileen. The finished viking hood. It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, and feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams.

Green Viking Hood – Gore Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside stitch detail at the tops of the gores.

The hood was assembled with running stitch first, using linen thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric.  Machine-woven fabric typically has much higher quality threads in the selvage so it can feed properly through the machines as it is woven, threads that are very well suited to hand sewing, and already color matched to the body fabric.

I then folded the seam allowances to the outside of the garment and finished them using a tiny herringbone stitch in Londonderry linen thread size 30/3 (medium diameter).

Green Viking Hood - Opening Detail, by Sidney Eileen. The finished viking hood. It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, and running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening. This photo shows the inside and outside stitch detail along the front edge of the hood opening.

Green Viking Hood – Opening Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside stitch detail along the front edge of the hood opening.

Along the hood opening I finished the edge with a decorative running stitch using the same color of 30/3 thread I also used for feather stitch along the seams.  The feather stitch provided a decorative reinforcement for the seams to prevent stitches from popping.

Green Viking Hood - Hem Detail, by Sidney Eileen. This photo shows the inside and outside of the hem at one of the seams, detailing the the embroidery on both the inside and outside of the garment.

Green Viking Hood – Hem Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside of the hem at one of the seams, detailing the the embroidery on both the inside and outside of the garment.

The bottom hem of the hood is turned to the inside and finished in a quick tiny herrinbone stitch again using thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric.  To cover those stitches, I decoratively embroidered the bottom hem with Oseberg rings.  This embroidery is based on a small piece of wool applique embroidery found in the Oseberg ship burial, and, according to Anne Stine Ingstad in The Textiles in the Oseberg Ship, “This type of small embroidery is known from the graves in Birka, and there too it is placed along the edges of seams and applications.”  If you go check out her article, the section on the ring embroidery is close to the bottom.

The inspiration embroidery is a wool core with wool thread wrapped around it and couching it to the fabric.  For my version I am using linen thread, size 18/3 (large) for the core, and 30/3 (medium) for the wrap.

Green Viking Hood - Hem Corner Detail, by Sidney Eileen; This photo shows the inside and outside of the corner of the hem, detailing the couched stitching and how I navigated the ring embroidery around the corners.

Green Viking Hood – Hem Corner Detail. This photo shows the inside and outside of the corner of the hem, detailing the couched stitching and how I navigated the ring embroidery around the corners.

And for purposes of sharing on social media, here are a couple collage photos suitable for different platforms.

Green linen viking hood, by Sidney Eileen; It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

Green linen viking hood

Green linen viking hood, by Sidney Eileen; It is linen, entirely hand sewn and embroidered with linen thread. Stitches used are herringbone stitch to finish the seam allowances and bottom hem, running stitch for assembly and accent around the hood opening, feather stitch for decorative reenforcement of the seams, and Oseberg rings for decoration on the hem.

Green linen viking hood

 

Project: Green Viking Hood

Green Viking Hood – WIP 1-3

The past couple months I have slowly been plugging away at another Viking hood.  This one is made from linen fabric, hand sewn with linen thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric, and embroidered with linen thread using herringbone stitch, feather stitch, and Osberg rings.  If you follow me on facebook, instagram, or twitter you may have already seen these photos as I took them.

Green Viking Hood - WIP 1, by Sidney Eileen; Made from linen fabric, hand stitched with linen thread. Seams finished with small herringbone stitch in linen thread.

Green linen fabric with linen small herringbone embroidery/seam finish.

I am finishing the seams in a manner very similar to the apron dress I made last year.  The seam allowance is folded over and stitched down using a tiny herringbone stitch in linen thread, and then the center of the seam is reinforced with feather stitch.

Green Viking Hood - WIP 2, by Sidney Eileen; Made from linen fabric, hand stitched with linen thread. Seams finished with small herringbone stitch in linen thread. Hem is in progress, being finished with linen thread in herringbone stitch.

Green linen fabric with linen small herringbone embroidery/seam finish, and herringbone stitch hem finish.

The bottom hem is finished using a rough herringbone stitch using more of the fabric selvage thread.

Green Viking Hood - WIP 3, by Sidney Eileen; Made from linen fabric, hand stitched with linen thread. Seams finished with small herringbone stitch in linen thread, and reinforced with feather stitch. Hem is embroidered with small Osberg rings.

Green linen fabric with linen small herringbone and feather stitch embroidery/seam finish, and the bottom hem embroidered with Osberg rings.

As a finishing touch I am embroidering over the bottom hem stitches using Osberg rings.  This embroidery is based on a small piece of wool applique embroidery found in the Osberg ship burial, and, according to Anne Stine Ingstad in The Textiles in the Osberg Ship, “This type of small embroidery is known from the graves in Birka, and there too it is placed along the edges of seams and applications.”  If you go check out her article, the section on the ring embroidery is close to the bottom.

The inspiration embroidery is a wool core with wool thread wrapped around it and couching it to the fabric.  I am using Londonderry linen thread for all my linen embroidery.  For my version I am using 18/3 (large) for the core, and 30/3 (medium) for the wrap.  In the photo above I am working right to left, but I have since tried working it left to right and found it much easier to accurately size the rings working in the new direction.

This stitch is far more time consuming than I had expected.  Each foot of hem takes about five hours to embroider, and the first few rings were nowhere near as even as the ones in the photo above.

Project: Green Viking Hood

Dark Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress – WIP1

Dark Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress - WIP4, by Sidney Eileen, fitting the dress with darts

The vertical seams are finished here, so in the photo I am fitting the darts on the apron dress.

Now that Diana’s new Viking garb is wearable, I have been working on Viking garb for myself and hope to have it finished before Yule.  At the moment the serk does not look very interesting, being hand sewn of plain drab green linen with no embellishment yet.  I am not wearing it in the photo to the right.  The apron dress, on the other hand, has a lot of decorative and functional work done on it.  There are things I will do differently on my next reconstruction, but I’m sure I will be proud to wear this one when it’s done even if it’s not perfect.

My apron dress is based on the large apron dress fragments found in Haithabu harbor (Hedeby), which has been used as the basis for a great many reconstructions before myself.  I am planning to write up my own reconstruction in a coherent manner after the dress is finished, so for now here are a couple links to excellent information on the find and how other people have reconstructed it.  Reconstructing a Viking Hanging Dress from Haithabu by Peter Beatson and Christobel Ferguson shows much of the archaeological information on the find, and their reconstruction.  Viking Women: Aprondress by Hilde Thunem is all about the archaeology.  Skip down to the section on Haithabu to see the details about this particular find.

The dress is entirely hand sewn from linen fabric with linen thread.  Invisible seams are sewn with thread pulled from the selvage of the material, while decorative and contrast stitching is done in Londonderry linen thread.  I will post a pattern later.  For those of you familiar with typical fitted apron dress patterns, it is made from three panels.  The back panels are straight to the waist and then widen on one side (placed towards the back seam in this case).  The front panel is straight.  There are gores on the sides, and darts in the front and back for fitting.

Dark Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress - WIP2, by Sidney Eileen, showing front (bottom) and back (top) sides of the herringbone seam allowance treatment.

The seam is sewn in a running stitch using thread pulled from the fabric selvage. The seam allowance is sewn down to the outside using a small herringbone stitch in contrasting thread. The colors in the photo are not quite true. The fabric is a dark indigo blue, and the linen thread is a bright saffron orange.

These are detail photos of the seam treatment, with the seam allowances secured towards the outside of the dress with herringbone stitch in Londonderry linen thread.

In most reconstructions using herringbone stitch as a construction stitch (as opposed to purely decorative) it is worked on the inside of the garment. This is because it is easiest to make sure the seam allowance (or hem) is secured on every stitch and evenly turned if you are looking at it, and because it is easiest to work herringbone stitch without it turning out a mess if you are looking at the herringbone, necessitating that the herringbone stitch must be worked on the same side as the seam allowance. This is also, I believe, due at least in part to modern bias, which insists that the seam allowance must *always* be turned to the inside of the garment.

As you can see, the reverse of the herringbone stitch looks exactly like two lines of running stitch, but with some hiccups and flaws where it is stitched through three layers of fabric (the turned over seam allowance). I don’t like those hiccups and flaws, which are all but impossible to avoid without taking an excruciatingly long time to work the stitch by flipping it constantly and essentially working as though both sides were the outside. For someone like me who likes their stitches to look consistent, this is behind irritating.  If the stitches are to be decorative as well as functional this does not make sense to me.

Add in the likelihood of modern bias and assumptions that the seam allowances and hems should be turned inward, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the seam allowances might actually have been turned outward, at least some of the time.  Besides, there is the dart on the fragments I am referencing that is turned to the outside in a decorative manner, even though it is likely in most cases such treatment was done to the inside. So, I have turned the seam allowances out and done the herringbone stitch decoratively, and I feel that the result is visually appealing despite the turned out seam allowances.

Dark Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress - WIP3, by Sidney Eileen, showing the herringbone stitch seam allowance treatment and feather stitch in linen thread.

The seam allowances are stitched down with herringbone stitch, and the center of the seam is being decorated with feather stitch.

This photo shows detail of one of the gores after the herringbone stitch was finished.  I decided to use feather stitch along the center of the seam in a pale green linen even though I have not been able to find a particular extant piece using feather stitch.  This is because I thought it would look pretty, it’s common in SCA reenactment, and would provide a nice, easy contrast that will also reinforce the seam.

Dark Blue Linen Viking Apron Dress - WIP4, by Sidney Eileen, fitting the dress with darts

The vertical seams are finished here, so in the photo I am fitting the darts on the apron dress.

The vertical seams are finished here, so in the photo I am fitting the darts on the apron dress. The extant fragment upon which I am basing my dress has a dart of exactly the right placement and depth to help the dress hug the curve of the spine if the fragment is of a back panel. The darts in the back are basted with all-purpose thread since it’s cheap and will be removed before the dress is finished. The darts in the front are basted with safety pins for convenience since I am fitting myself. They will be re-basted with thread before sewing and the fit double-checked. The white shoulder straps are temporary for fitting, placement, and length of the straps.

After fitting the dress I sewed the darts in running stitch using the same green linen thread as for the feather stitch.  I left the basting stitches above and below the darts so I could use them as a guide for where to place the braid.

The darts on the front panel were far too deep to leave as they were, so I trimmed them down to slightly more than 1cm of depth and turned the seam allowances in like a french seam.  This I whip stitched using linen thread pulled from the selvage before applying the braids.  This gave them a very similar appearance to the darts in the back of the dress.

Another neat feature of the original fragment is the 6-strand braid that is couched onto the top of the dart.  From a garment longevity standpoint, this braid will prevent the fold of the dart from wearing through, and then potentially pulling out of its stitches.  Having a cord or braid sewn onto a french style seam is a common treatment in Viking garment fragments, but here it is done decoratively to the outside of the garment.  It was tricky finding a good description of the braid itself, but thankfully there is PLAIT FROM THE HEDEBY APRON DRESS FRAGMENT, where another wonderful person detailed her reconstruction of the braid and provided a tutorial on how to duplicate it.  I made my braid in yellow and red linen, using the spools of thread as bobbins since I would need about five yards of braid for my dress.

Viking 6-Plait Braid - WIP1, by Sidney Eileen

I needed about five yards of 6-strand braid for the apron dress, so I used the spools like bobbins to make the braid. It’s coming out with too tight of tension, so I will need to use the underside of the braid as the outside when it is attached to the dress. I’m using linen thread.

Viking 6-Strand Braid - WIP2, by Sidney Eileen

I changed the pillow I was using as my braiding surface so the weight of the spools was not dictating the tension on the braid. After about six hours of practice and working on the actual braid it finally has the appearance it should, and the tension is fairly consistent. I am using linen thread.

So, as of the writing of this I am in the process of couching the braids onto the darts.  After that I need to finish the top and bottom hems and make the shoulder straps.

Viking 6-Strand Braid, by Sidney Eileen, Detail of the braid couched to the dart.

Detail of the braid where it has been couched onto one of the darts. This is one of the deep darts beside the bust, where I trimmed down the dart to about 1cm in depth and turned the raw edges in. That was then whip stitched closed before couching on the braid with a much longer stitch. It’s all linen materials.

 

Project: Dark Blue Viking Apron Dress

 

Red and Blue Viking Garb – Teaser

Diana wearing her hand-sewn Viking age garb at an event, teaser photo.

Diana wearing her hand-sewn Viking age garb at an event.

The main project I have been working on for the past couple months (and then some) is Viking garb for Diana and myself.  It can be extremely taxing for me to spend time at a sewing machine, so I decided to make the outfit entirely by hand.  It’s not unusual for me to be able to sit on the couch and stitch away slowly, so even though it took a lot more hours of work to make, it means Diana’s garb is well underway and wearable.  Had I decided to make it by machine, odds are it would still be sitting un-sewn.

Diana was able to wear the garb to Great Western War 2015 the one day we attended, but it was so hot and we were so tired that taking nice, full-length photos was not going to happen.  Instead I took a little teaser snapshot while we were sitting in the shade.

 

The Serk

The red linen underdress (also called a serk) took a little more than fifty hours to sew by hand.  I have not added any decoration to it yet.

Viking Serk Construction Detail, by Sidney Eileen - Hand sewn running stitch and whip stitch with thread pulled from scrap fabric.

Detail of the seam and hem construction of the red linen serk. Upper is the inside of the dress, and the lower is the outside of the dress. It was assembled with running stitch using thread pulled from the fabric. Seam allowance was folded over and whip stitched. Hem was also folded over and whip stitched.

Flat Felled Seam Finish Illustration, by Sidney Eileen

Flat Felled Seam Finish Illustration

Basic Whip Stitched Hem Illustration, by Sidney Eileen

Basic Whip Stitched Hem Illustration

 

The Apron Drape

The apron drape is hemmed with double herringbone stitch in Londonderry linen thread, with about fifteen hours of sewing involved.  It is about six inches longer than it should be to avoid tripping over it, so Diana had to pin a fold to wear it at the event.  I am currently unsure if I should just turn it into a table runner and make an entirely new one that’s also a little wider, or if I should fold the fabric and add some more embroidery to hold it in place.  The intention for this piece is a simple white apron that is functional and can be easily washed and bleached, so I had not originally intended to add any more decoration to it.  Decisions, decisions.

White Viking Apron - Detail, by Sidney Eileen - Linen fabric, hand sewn with herringbone stitch done in line thread.

White Viking Apron – Detail

 

The Apron Dress

The apron dress is a floor length, open-front style with pleating in the back.  It is inspired by Valkyrie figurines, and intended as special occasion style garb, rather than practical everyday style wear.  It is held closed in the front by a penannular brooch that is hidden by the apron drape in the top photo.  It took about fifty hours to hand sew, which includes the time spent embroidering the shoulder straps.  I have spent about twenty-five hours on embellishment so far.

Blue Open Apron Dress - WIP Detail, by Sidney Eileen - Hand sewn and embroidered with linen, decorated with cotton tablet weaving I did not make.

Blue Open Apron Dress – WIP Detail

The above photo shows part of the top of the dress, at the back where the shoulder strap attaches.  Along the bottom of the photo you can see the seams of the pleats.  Sewing is all done with line thread pulled from the selvage of the fabric.  Embroidery is done with Londonderry linen thread.  The top and bottom tablet woven bands were created by my friend Amy, and the middle band Diana received in an informal SCA art exchange.  The tablet woven bands are applied using linen thread pulled from the selvage.

Apron dress shoulder strap, showing detail of the seam being closed using a double van dyke stitch, by Sidney Eileen

Apron dress shoulder strap, showing detail of the seam being closed using a double van dyke stitch.

Van dyke stitch can be used to create a beautiful braid-like appearance by using close stitches.  In this case I worked two threads, catching the loop of each stitch under the intersection of the same color’s previous stitch.  Because the stitches across the seam all go down and left, the down stitch pulls down the right side, and the up stitch pulls up the left. If you don’t adjust the tension at every single stitch, the left side trends to travel up and the right travels down, resulting in misalignment. Basting the two sides together would probable reduce the problem a lot if you don’t like fiddling with the tension constantly.

Detail of the apron dress shoulder straps while in progress, by Sidney Eileen. At this point it just needed the remainder of the interlace stitch added to the running stitches.

Detail of the apron dress shoulder straps while in progress. At this point it just needed the remainder of the interlace stitch added to the running stitches.

WIP of the embellishment on the open apron dress, by Sidney Eileen

WIP of the embellishment on the open apron dress.

 

Project: Viking Age Garb

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges

If you have not already done so, before reading this tutorial I highly recommend reading Medieval Hand Stitching – Basic Stitches (Start Here).  It describes what supplies you will need, how to start and end your thread, and the basic stitches upon which most other stitches are based.  This tutorial illustrates several basic and common ways how to hand sew hems and edges on a medieval garment.  There are a great many more options for hand finishing, including complex decorative stitches and tablet weaving directly to the garment.  If you enjoy detailing your garments by hand, it’s worth taking the time to look into those techniques as well.

Even if you sew the majority of your garb on a sewing machine, hand finishing can add a special touch and look of authenticity in those places where machine stitching would be immediately obvious.  For those new to hand work, it also provides a less daunting introduction to hand stitching because it is far less time consuming to finish a few details than to hand sewn an entire garment.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the exact styles of hems that have been found on extant medieval garments.  Instead it shows the major types, and explains why you may want to pick one type of hem over another in particular situations.  Hemming is almost always a variation on running stitch and/or whip stitch, and I strongly suspect that the multitude of variations are mostly a result of the personal preferences of individual sewers.  I recommend trying multiple kinds of hems in multiple situations, regardless of my personal recommendations, until you find stitch styles that are comfortable and natural for you to sew.

 

Folded Hems

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Basic Whip Stitched Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenBasic Whip Stitched Hem

I use this kind of hem more often than any other, be it the bottom hem of a dress, or a neckline, or sleeve cuff.  It goes quickly and the stitches visible from the outside are very subtle.

  • Fold over the edge of the fabric toward the inside of the garment so that the raw edge is hidden.  Depending upon the fabric and desired final appearance, this roll can be as little as 1/4” wide or and inch or more.
  • Catch a couple threads of the outer material and then a few threads of the folded over hem.

I recommend close stitches, six to ten per inch, on narrow, delicate hems, like around a neckline or the end of a sleeve.  Fewer stitches are needed on wider hems, where I usually place them about 1/4” apart.

 

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Basic Running Stitch Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenBasic Running Stitch Hem

This kind of hem can be used anywhere, be it the bottom hem of a dress, a neckline, or a sleeve cuff.

  • Fold over the edge of the fabric toward the inside of the garment so that the raw edge is hidden.  Depending upon the fabric and desired final appearance, this roll can be as little as 1/4” wide or and inch or more.
  • Stitch close to the edge of the folded over hem, keeping your stitch widths even.

I recommend close stitches on narrow, delicate hems. In modern reenactment, this kind of hem stitch is often used decoratively, sometimes in a thicker or contrasting thread.

 

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Viborg Shirt Running Stitch Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenViborg Shirt Running Stitch Hem

This stitch is specifically found on the Viborg shirt, and is included here to show how a basic stitch can be varied.  From the outside, this hem will look identical to the basic running stitch hem, but on the inside it will lack the little lip of folded fabric at the top of the hem.  This means the garment will likely wear a bit better, because that lip on the basic hem is going to be subject to the most friction and have a tendency to wear out first, like the outer edge of a t-shirt cuff.  When fabric wears a hole that close to a seam, the seam will have a tendency to pull free.  This type of hem will also look cleaner and lay completely flush in those situations where both the inside and outside of the hem are likely to be seen, like on a cloak edge, or a large open sleeve.

 

 

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Two Running Stitches Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenTwo Running Stitches Hem

In this kind of hem, the hem is rolled in the same manner as the basic running stitch hem and the basic whip stitch hem, and then an extra row of running stitches is placed close to the outer edge of the hem.

This type of hem is most useful on wider hems, when the material is thick and will have a tendency to bulge, rather than folding nicely at the bottom, like some wool fabrics or when multiple layers are involved in the hem.

This stitch is also used decoratively, sometimes in thicker or contrasting color threads.  When the stitches are kept perfectly even with each other they can be used as the foundation for some woven embroidery stitches and other embellishments.

 

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Herringbone Stitched Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenHerringbone Stitched Hem

This is a very decorative stitch that can be used to hem a garment. It is most often seen on Scandanavian garb from the Viking era.  For reenactment purposes it is sometimes applied over a hem that is already finished with another stitch.

 

Rolled Hems

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Basic Rolled Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenBasic Rolled Hem

This type of hem is most often used on very lightweight and delicate fabrics, like chiffon.  In medieval reenactment you will see this used on lightweight veils, especially silk, more often than anything else.

When hemming in this manner, several stitches are worked at one time and then gently pulled so the thread is straight.  With very lightweight fabrics this will cause the fabric to naturally roll into position.  If you have trouble with this stitch, there are a number of excellent videos on YouTube that show how to do it.  More than most stitches, I feel a visual demonstration is particularly helpful.

I have also used this stitch on lightweight linen, but you may need to fold the fabric manually as you create the stitches.  Linen will not roll easily on its own when you pull the thread.  I found either of the other rolled hem stitches shown below are easier to use on linen.

 

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Whip Stitched Rolled Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenWhip Stitched Rolled Hem

Ideal for lightweight, but slightly stiff fabrics like linen and cotton, hand roll the edge of the fabric and then wrap it with a whip stitch.  This can be done in thicker or contrasting thread for a decorative effect.

 

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Blanket Stitched Rolled Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenBlanket Stitched Rolled Hem

Ideal for lightweight, but slightly stiff fabrics like linen and cotton, hand roll the edge of the fabric and then stitch around it with a blanket stitch.  The illustration shows arranging the loops of the stitches so that they snuggle the rolled over edge, but they can also be stitched to the outer side (needle goes over the rolled edge instead of under it), or so that they fall along the edge (needle goes towards the outside of the fabric rather than the inside).  This can be done in a thicker or contrasting thread for decorative effect.

 

Bound Hems

How to Hand Sew Hems and Edges, Bound Running Stitch Hem Illustration, by Sidney EileenRunning Stitch Bound Hem

This is specifically found on an Icelandic garment where the neckline has been bound with a narrow piece of material.  It is not bias cut, nor are any other examples of bound edges that I am aware of in Europe.  From what I understand there is some evidence of bias cut bound hems in Persia during the middle ages.  Bias cutting is extremely wasteful of material, so bear that in mind when cutting on the bias.

This is extremely similar to the two running stitches hem, with the first row of stitches used to secure the binding to the garment, and the second used to make it lay flat.  This is particularly helpful around curved hems like a neckline, because the outer line of stitches can be gathered slightly to make the straight cut binding lay flat along the curve.