Welcome to Day 6 of the Ali Sweatshirt Sewalong! Today we are going to finish the neck opening by attaching binding. To finish the neckline, we'll stitch a folded loop of fabric to the opening so that the folded edge becomes the edge of the neckline. This can sometimes be a little tricky to get just right but it's not hard at all. And we will baste everything first so no worries about messing up your garment. For the Lou Box Dress Sewalong I did a post on two ways to finish a knit neckline – in the round and flat. When using sweatshirt fabric, I find that it's easiest to attach the neck binding in the round so that’s what we’ll be covering here today.
Let's get started! First, take the neck binding and stitch the short ends with right sides together. You now have a loop/circle of fabric. Fold with wrong sides together, matching the raw edges.
Divide the neck binding into fourths and mark with pins. Fold the neckline in half with the folds at the center front and center back. Mark the centers with pins. Fold in half again and mark the quarter points with pins (or chalk).
Pin the binding to the right side of the neckline, matching the pins. I like to place the seam binding at the center back so that the seam allowance in the neck binding is going the opposite direction from the seam allowance at the center back of the yoke.
Set up your conventional machine to a single needle and a long basting stitch. Using a 3/8 inch seam allowance, slowly baste all the way around the neckline, stretching the binding to fit. Next head over to your iron and gently press the seam allowance towards the body. Ideally, the center of the neckline (the folded edge of the binding) lays flat and is smaller than the neckline opening. If it curves out even after pressing, then the binding is too big and we need to make it a little smaller. Remove the basting stitches and the binding. Stitch the short ends again, making the loop smaller by about 1/2 inch. Mark the quarter sections and baste to the neckline again. Hopefully, second time is the charm and it perfectly fits but if not, just make it smaller and go for a third try. If the neckline of your garment gets a little wonky, a steamy iron should set it right again.
Once you have the binding at just the right length, it's time to stitch it down. I do this step with the serger but you can also use a narrow zig zag or lightning stitch on a conventional machine.
After stitching, give the neckline another good press. The last step, which is optional, is to topstitch the seam allowance in place. Day 4 of the Sewalong has a bunch of tips for topstitching knits and whatever method you used there will work here too. Below you can see the final topstitched neckline.
And that’s it for today. Not so bad right? If you haven’t picked up your copy of the pattern, you can find it in the shop here. Tomorrow we will be finishing the sweatshirt. Woohoo! Full schedule below.
DAY 6 Neckline Binding – Tuesday, Sept 25
DAY 7 Sewing the under arm seams, cuffs and hem band – Wednesday, Sept 26