Welcome to week 3 of the Linden Sew Along. If you’ve already cut your fabric and sewn the sleeve edges and the side seams, you are just a few simple steps from the finish line, friends! Today we’re discussing bands: neckbands, sleeve bands and hem bands. Let’s get started!
Rather than go through the neckband step by step, I’ll cover the basic process and share my notes. First things first: do not fear the neckband! It was a major source of stress when I first started when knits, but now I kind of like them. The basic are this: join the neckband short ends, right sides together, and fold the neckband in half with wrong sides together. Quarter-mark the neckband and the neck hole with pins. Pin the neckband to the neck hole at the quarter marks, with right sides together. Stitch in place, stretching the neckband between the pins to it attaches smoothly to the neck hole. Turn the neckband in and topstitch in place. Simple as that! And if that doesn’t sound simple, I have tips!
Knit Neckband Tips
>Do not stitch the neckband short ends together. Fold the neckband in half, wrong sides together, and starting at the center front, pin the neckband in place around the neck hole, gauging the amount of stretch you need as you go and positioning the bulk of the stretch to the back of the neck hole. Leave the start and end of the neckband unpinned. Once you’ve pinned around the neck hole, stitch the neckband short ends together. Then pin and stitch the neckband in place, as above. This feels a bit more like binding to me, and less stressful than quarter marking.
>On the neckband (and all the other bands!), once you’ve joined the short ends, clip the seam allowance in the middle, up to but not through the stitching. Press open the seams and fold the band wrong sides together. The clip keeps the fold sharp and flat, reducing bulk.
>For a thinner neckband, consider joining the neckband to the neck hole unfolded, then simply fold the unstitched edge to the inside and topstitch in place.
>Practice! Each fabric’s make-up and stretchability will play a roll in neckband installation. Stable knits may require extra length, and while making a nice, clean finish, won’t likely pull in as much on the fabric, meaning a larger neck hole that doesn’t stretch much. Super stretchy fabrics, especially lighter weights, may not be strong enough to pull the neckline in to the body. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been surprised by a neckband that’s suddenly off the shoulder? Stretchy fabrics with good recovery such as ribbing, which is perfect for neck and sleeve bands, will pull in a good bit on the neck hole, keeping it snug against the body, but will also expand the needed amount when putting the garment on.
For this make, I drafted my own neckband (see tips for this in week 2!) because the frenchterry I’m using for the sleeves and the neckband aren’t very stretchy. I’ve lengthened the pattern piece a bit (also giving myself a slightly larger neck hole). I also widened the sleeves at the base, because I’d like to layer this top over a button up this fall and winter. I redrafted the sleeve bands to match the new sleeve opening and made them thinner, for a less sporty look. I also skipped the hem band, again, hoping to avoid a super sporty feel – this is my fancy sweatshirt, folks! Instead, I folded up 2″ at the hem and stitched – for a chunky hem that has some weight, a little bit of shaping, and a nice, clean finish. I’ve probably done all the hem treatments at this point: high-low, curved/shirttail, bands, peplum and more, including a good number of raw hems, which is a fine pick for french terry, sweatshirt fabric and a variety of heavier knits. And here it is, in all its glory!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this sew along! We’ve still got some copies of the Linden Sweatshirt in shopsewitall.com and we’ll leave these posts up as a resource for you, whenever you decide to make one…or 7. Do share your makes with us – use the #lindensweatshirt and tag us @SewNews on Instagram!