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I used to have real problems with how to finish neckline bands. When sewing knits I had issues with how to make a neckline stay flat, be even and not be baggy. But then I found a method that really works! One of the trickiest parts of sewing knit fabric is fitting a neckline. So today I am going to talk about how to join knitted pieces, how to sew a neckline or sew a neck band into a stretch garment.
- How To Sew A Neck Band Into A Stretch Garment
- Knit Neckband Tutorial – How To Make A Neckband Using Rib Knit versus Using The Same Fabric To Make A Neck Band
- How Long to Cut Your Neck Band Piece? How To Measure For A Knit Neckband
- Quartering The Neck Band Before Sewing
- Pinning On The Neck Band
- How To Attach A Neckband – Sewing On The Neckband
How To Sew A Neck Band Into A Stretch Garment
There are a few ways of how to sew knit fabric necklines, and many different neckline finishes for knits.
You can use rib fabric to make a rib knit neckband, or use the same fabric as the rest of the garment as your top or t-shirt neckband material.
It may be that you only have basic sewing tools, so you want to use just a regular sewing machine. Or you may have a serger or overlocker.
You may wish to sew a knit neckband (which adds a band of fabric) or to bind the neckline (which keeps the neckband the same size).
I will be talking today about adding a neck band, as I find this the easiest.
Knit Neckband Tutorial – How To Make A Neckband Using Rib Knit versus Using The Same Fabric To Make A Neck Band
Using a rib knitted fabric is probably the easiest method to make a neck band. But sometimes your sewing projects may call for you to use the same fabric as the rest of the garment. And there are a few things to remember.
Rib knitted fabric is woven slightly different to other knitted fabrics. So you can cut it on the straight grain of the fabric and it will still lie flat. This is all down to the way that the ribbed fabric moves when it is stretched.
However, if you wish to use the same fabric as the rest of the garment, then it is better to cut the neckline sewing pattern pattern piece on the bias (diagonally across the fabric). As then the piece will stretch in a way that ensures the neckline lies flatter.
You can cut the neckline on the straight grain (and a lot of patterns and tutorials tell you to do this) but I just find that cutting on the bias is better!
How Long to Cut Your Neck Band Piece? How To Measure For A Knit Neckband
Most sewing patterns give you a template of how long to cut your neck band piece. But should you wish to modify your neckline, or the pattern doesn’t have a neckband template, then this is a great way to find yourself how long a piece to cut.
First, lay out your garment flat, and use a fabric tape measure to measure around the neckline opening.
Then, take that measurement and multiply the length by 0.85. This gives you a length that is 85% the length of the neck opening. What you want is to stretch your neckband slightly when adding it to the garment, as this means that it will lay flat.
So for example, if you find that the neck opening measures 48cm, if you multiply this by 0.85 you get 40.8. So you cut your neckband material to a length of 40.8cm.
Quartering The Neck Band Before Sewing
Once you have your neck band piece cut, sew or serge the short ends right sides together to make a band.
Using the seam, fold the band in half so that the seam is at one end, and put a mark, pin or notch in the other end of the band. The band is thus marked halfway.
Then, put the seam and the marked part of the band together, and fold the neckband so that it is flat again. At each end, pin, mark or notch. Thus the neck band is now marked at quarter intervals.
On the neckline of your garment, fold the shoulder or raglan seams together and mark, pin or notch the front and back midlines of the neckline.
Then put these two marks/notches together and fold the neckline flat. At the folds again pin mark or notch the fold line. Again, this ensures that you have quartered the neckline.
(please note, on my garment it is a raglan sleeve, so the notch will not fall on the shoulder seams. Some tutorials I have seen place the quarter notch on the shoulder seam, but this doesn’t always work for me!)
Pinning On The Neck Band
I like to start with the back, as I put the seam of the neckband to the back notch of the garment. Fold the band in half with the seam inside the neckband (wrong sides together), and pin both layers to the right side of the back notch.
Then work around the neckline, pinning the four notches on the neck band to the notches on the neck opening of the garment. You will notice that there seems to be more material on the garment in-between the notches than is on the neckband, and this means that you need to stretch the neckband slightly as you sew.
How To Attach A Neckband – Sewing On The Neckband
You CAN just serge/overlock the neckband on now it is pinned. But I found this to be tricky. You need about 8 hands free, and I tended to find that I missed bits out or didn’t quite catch all 3 layers of the fabric in places. So I advise that you sew the neckband on first, especially if you are just beginning to learn how to sew knits together. If you don’t have an overlocker/serger this is how you would be attaching the neckband anyway.
Starting just in front of one of the pins, use a stretch stitch or zigzag stitch to sew all three layers (2 neckband and 1 garment) together. You will need to pull the neckband taut to match the garment as you go. Which is where quartering and pinning really helps, as it makes sure that you do this more evenly. Go slowly, ensuring all 3 layers are sewn together.
And You Are Done! (Nearly)
Once this is one, you can see that the neckband sits great. You could leave it like this, but the seam allowance tends to ride up a little.
You may want to overlock where you have sewn the neckband to the garment. To trim seam allowances and neaten the edges.
But either way I find that the best way to get it all to sit flat is by using a twin needle. This adds a row of stitching to fix it all into place.
Not used a twin needle? See my post here on why it is such a great addition to your skill set!
So there you have it. That is how to sew a neck band into a stretch garment. I hope that you have found this tutorial helpful. Have I missed anything? Want to show me your makes? Then do get in touch on social media, or write in the comments.
I used a Brindille and Twig Raglan dress pattern.
Why not pin this post for later?