Last weekend I learned a new-to-me sewing skill so I decided to put together a little tutorial that I can refer back in the future. If it helps you, great! If not, carry on.
I recently attended a sewing workshop that focused on sewing knits. Honestly, I’m useless when it comes to precision and making things look Ready to Wear, so this workshop was super valuable. The instructor showed me how to attach a neckband to a top that was designed to just have a narrow, folded edge. If you can do the perfect fold and precise topstitch on 5/8″ of slippery, fluid fabric then I am in awe of you, but this is not one of my skills. I can just imagine what May and Patrick from the Great British Sewing Bee would say about my top stitching.
For the class, I sewed McCall’s 7323 which is a short sleeved or sleeveless top. The fabric I used was a knit (an ITY) which has about the same weight and body as most of the travel knits you find in women’s wear stores. Super easy to sew, doesn’t crease, but it presses up nicely. Here’s a link to my review on PatternReview.com .
Instructions to attach neck band on a knit fabric:
1. Cut the pattern as usual.
2. Sew the pattern according to the instructions until you get to the point where you will sew a narrow hem on the neck band.
3. Cut a 2″ wide strip of fabric. Do not cut on the bias but instead cut side-to-side. In this photo, the selvage is at the bottom of the ruler.
4. Fold fabric binding strip in half and press.
Before you begin to attach your binding, review this excellent tutorial from Collette Patterns and use their method to finish the ends of the binding (join the ends together smoothly).
5. As Colette Patterns suggests leave a couple of inches at each end of the binding. Begin pinning the neck edge to the binding strip, right sides together. Stretch the binding strip slightly (maybe 1-2%), making sure to not stretch the neck edge piece. Pin frequently. (The slight stretch to the binding strip is what will keep the neck binding flat to your neck.)
6. Stitch with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Pam instructed me to use a short, narrow zigzag stitch (I used 1.0 mm x 1.0 mm). Pull the binding strip gently as you stitch so the fabric stays flat.
Finished zigzag stitch
7. Press seam allowance towards garment. Press again from the right side.
8. Time to top stitch! Set your machine to a straight stitch with a 3 mm length.
9. Topstitch on the right side of fabric 1/4″ from seam on the garment side, not the binding side. Take your time!
10. Trim off the excess fabric from the seam allowance. This particular fabric doesn’t fray so I was able to simply cut and not finish the seam allowances. If the fabric had a tendency to fray, I would serge or overcast before trimming.
To finish the arm edges on a sleeveless top, Pam suggested the following:
- Cut the strip of fabric 1 1/2″ wide
- Stitch exactly as noted above through step 6.
- Roll the binding around to the inside of the arm hole. Press.
- Topstitch, and trim
- With this method you do not see the binding around the arm opening, just the top stitching.