The difference between band and binding

Karen writes:

Can you settle an argument? I looked at your posts on designing a t-shirt sewing cell (pt.2) but it wasn’t obvious. I have always understood that the neckline of a tee shirt is a band. The seam I’m referring to is serged with the allowances and thread showing on the wrong side . The person I disagree with says this is a binding. To my way of thinking, a binding is finished with all edges turned under and no raw edges showing. How would you describe this seam?

binding_sample_seamI would also describe a rib knit finish to a tee shirt neckline as a (neck) band. Binding typically describes encasing raw edges.  However, no matter how it is sewn, it is usually called a band even if the seam is bound. The problem lies in if you call it binding and intend to leave allowances showing on the underside because binding implies the seam is bound.

To be sure though, I looked it up in ASTM D5646 (lists home sewing seams) and ASTM D-6193 (industry standard). Both show binding (bound seams) enclosing raw edges leaving a clean finish.  The D6193 is more descriptive than the D5646  in that bound seams are a separate seam class with a BS prefix (BSa-BSs). [A non-gated resource is this pdf from American & Effird]. It is somewhat ironic that you ask because the D6193 was derived from the Fed Std 751a (DOD) which was established to eliminate disagreements like this. Establishing uniform terminology helps ensure that items produced under military contract can be constructed to precise specifications across myriad contractors.

As far as start ups are concerned, if you specify a neck binding when you mean a neck band, it could mean a lot of extra hassle and cost for you especially if you didn’t have illustrations or a sample for comparison. The reason is that the size of sewing factory inclined to do low minimums is not likely to have the kind of machine to do [what we call] binding in one pass. It would have to be done in a two step process and consequently, cost more. If you wanted what we commonly think of as a neckband, that is much easier to deal with and can be sewn in one pass (do refer to the sewing cell post if this isn’t clear).

Usually though, I think most providers are aware that laymen cum start ups aren’t precise with terminology and will interview to sort this out. The larger potential for disaster is with skilled laymen who speak with such self assurance and confidence that a provider doesn’t double check meanings. This is one reason I’m torn between working with people who sew well versus those who don’t sew at all. It is less common to have these sorts of miscommunications with people who don’t know anything. Building confidence between two parties by developing meta-cognition takes time.

Anyway, once this [what should have been a] minor detail were resolved, your “binding” pattern piece would be renamed as “neckband” on the pattern, pattern card and in the instructions to avoid confusing anyone downstream.

Personally? Bind vs band doesn’t chafe me as much as someone who describes a knit ribbing band as a “collar”. That said, the attachment some machines use to sew a band is commonly called a “binder”. Making matters still worse, the proper name for this attachment is called a “collarette”. Is there any wonder mass confusion reigns?

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One comment

  1. Andrew Schonbek says:

    Glad to hear that there are advantages to working with people who don’t know anything (since I fall into that category)…

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