How to Bind A Knit Neckline
Knit patterns are the new craze in the indie sewing world. Knits are generally comfier and more practical for everyday life than woven garments. They stretch, so sizing is less of an issue. But because of that stretch, they can be downright daunting to a newbie sewist. I’ve been there, I know that feeling. For a long time, sewing with knits was strictly off limits.
But sewing with knits doesn't have to be terrifying. Today I’m going to show you how to bind the neckline of your knit garments. This technique gives your knit clothing items a finished look and allows the fabric of the neckline to sit flat against the skin. This tutorial can be used for several patterns in the Indiesew shop, including the Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline, and the Summer Concert Tee and Ballet Dress by Dixie DIY. Just like using woven bias binding, once you get the hang of knit binding, you won’t be able to stop yourself from making knit everything.
This tutorial is meant for use with a serger, but can be adapted for use with a normal sewing machine. In every step where serging is required, simply use a zig-zag stitch (or other stretch stitch) on your sewing machine. When using a zig-zag stitch on knits, I make the stitch width narrower and the stitch length longer than the default zig-zag stitch settings. That being said, if you plan on sewing with knits frequently, investing in a serger might be a good idea simply for saving time. I serge with a Brother 1034D.
Okay let’s begin. Today I'm demonstrating this technique on Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress pattern. You’ll be seeing a summer version of that dress very soon!
1. Sew your dress bodice or shirt together as the pattern instructs. The neckline of your dress or shirt should be fully sewn into a circle for this tutorial.
2. Cut out the neckband piece that is included with your pattern. Pay close attention to the direction of maximum stretch for your fabric. If you cut the neckband piece off-grain, it may not stretch enough to fit around the neckline circumference.
3. Fold the neckband piece in half, with right sides together and short ends aligned. Pin the short edges and serge taking into account the seam allowances stated in your pattern.
4. Press the serged seam to one side and fold the neckband piece in half with long edges aligned and wrong sides together. Press the folded edge well.
5. Serge the long raw edges of your neckband. This will help these edges of your neckband stay flat when stretching it around the neckline.
6. With the neckband seam at one end, fold your neckband in half. Place a pin at the opposite end, thus marking where the center front point of the neckband lies. Lay out your dress bodice or shirt and align the two shoulder seams. With pins, mark where the center back and center front points of the neckline lie.
7. With right sides together and raw neckline/serged neckband edges aligned begin pinning your neckband to your neckline by aligning the center back pins of both the neckband and neckline. Do the same for the center front points.
7. Continue to pin the neckband to the neckline stretching the neckband fabric as you pin. Your neckband circumference should be considerably smaller than your neckline, but you should be able to stretch your neckband to lay flat around the entire neckline.
8. Using the seam allowances stated in your pattern, serge the neckband onto the neckline, stretching the neckband fabric as you sew. Serge slowly to ensure you don't sew any puckers into the seam. Also be careful not to catch extra fabric from the bodice under the blade of the serger.
9. Press the neck band away from the bodice and seam allowances towards the bodice.
10. Topstitch with a stretch stitch on your sewing machine (we use a narrow zig-zag with a long stitch length) about ⅛” towards the inside of the neckband stitch. You can also use a twin needle if you prefer.
11. Press your garment one final time and admire your handiwork!
Many more knit tutorials are on the way! Is there topic you'd like covered in our "How To" posts? Let us know! To get these posts straight to your inbox, sign up below!
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