6

Pattern of the month: Peony

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Our Pattern of the Month for April is Peony!

Peony is one of our all-time best selling patterns. It has a sweet, classic shape with a bateau neckline and removable cummerbund belt.

Through the end of April, you can get Peony for 20% off when you use code PEONYMONTH at checkout.

We’ll also be sharing a pattern hack next week to transform Peony into a very different style, using some of the methods Devon has recently covered in Seamwork.

Like what you read here? Subscribe to our blog via email so you don’t skip a stitch! And sign up for our weekly Snippets email for even more sewing tips and tricks.

172

Wardrobe Architect April: What’s your biggest wardrobe challenge?

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This month, we thought we’d take a brief pause in our Wardrobe Architect process to ask you: What challenges have you faced so far in planning your wardrobe?

I’m sure that each of us has our own particular challenges and hang ups around clothing. Maybe it’s a tendency to buy things you don’t need because they’re on sale. Maybe it’s being drawn to shapes that you don’t actually like wearing. Maybe you have undergone a life change and your wardrobe hasn’t kept up.

Because many of us undoubtedly have dealt with the same issues, I think it might be interesting to use this as an opportunity to help each other out.

Here is what I propose:

In the comments, let us all know if there is a particular difficulty or challenge you’ve faced with your wardrobe, if you want to share.

And then:

Read through some of the other comments and see if you have a similar experience you would like to share. You can reply directly to someone else’s comment and share your own experience.

You don’t have to give advice (unless you want to). But I think there’s something powerful in just talking about our own difficulties and how they interrelate.

Next month, Kris will be back to continue the Wardrobe Architect journey. The next thing we’ll be discussing is color, which is perfect, since that’s the theme for the next issue of Seamwork as well!

What is your biggest wardrobe challenge?

Image used in header via Maegan Tintari, cc license

35

The Floral Issue + Meet Astoria and Bristol

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The April issue of Seamwork is up and ready for you to read!

In this issue:

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feedsacks

coming-to-peace

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Some favorite quotes from this issue:

"But if you measure your waist, and it’s 40”; you just make a 40” skirt. It’s a straightforward equation, and there’s really no point in pretending you’re a different size or judging the number." – Jenny Rushmore, Coming to Peace

"As women’s roles have developed and the moods and values of society have shifted, we see feminine florals morph in fashion." – Piper Springs, A Century of American Florals

"We miss quality. We want to feel creative and connected, and to avoid wearing clothing made in dangerous and exploitative sweatshops. We are a movement, and the fabric industry is catching up to us, slowly but surely." -Heather Lewenza, Good Silk Hunting

And here are the two new quick-to-sew patterns in this issue:

astoria-pattern

The Astoria pullover is a cropped little sweater inspired by the ultra-flattering knitwear styles of the 40s and 50s, but adapted for a more modern and casual look. It features a wide waistband, simple crew neck, and fitted shape. Make it up in a casual French terry or double gauze knit like we did, or go for a sweater knit to give it a dressier look. Astoria is a wonderfully comfortable transition piece for spring or fall and looks especially nice with a full skirt.


bristol-pattern

The Bristol skirt is a versatile semi-full gathered skirt with easy pull-on elastic waist and a single front pocket hidden in the center panel. This skirt is easy to make, might teach you a new sort of pocket construction, and can be made in a huge range of fabrics, from Liberty tana lawns to chambray to rayon challis. I think it looks especially lovely with a fitted top that ends near the waist (like Astoria above), or a white button down tied at the waistline a la Audrey Hepburn.

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You can visit Seamworkmag.com to read the issue, download it from the current issue page, or subscribe to get the patterns.

10

New pattern hack: The cross-back Moneta

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I’ve been listening to the Psychedelic Furs a whole lot lately. I sometimes wish blog posts could have soundtracks, because I’d give this one Pretty in Pink, which is what was playing in my head when I took these pictures of Kristen.

Kristen bought this pink cotton jersey a while back but never got around to making a Moneta with it, so I offered to sew her this one on the condition that she’d model it for us. I just love the girly color and feminine back of this dress with her tomboy haircut.

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The cross-back Moneta has a striking back view but looks almost identical from the front.

moneta-hack-front

To make your own cross-back Moneta, get the instructions below. You will need to scoop out the back (you can adjust to make sure your bra is covered), then create two straps to criss-cross along the opening.

This will make a really pretty summer dress. Just make sure to wear sunscreen.

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moneta-hack-side

We created this pattern hack in collaboration with our friend Lauren Dahl, who is an amazing lady. Download the pattern hack pack by clicking below to get access to the download link. You’ll get all the pattern hacks we’ve created this year, as well as new hacks as they’re added each month.

get-pattern-hack-pack

41

How to bind knit edges: the ultimate guide

how to bind knit edges

Binding has a special place in my heart. I find that binding is often the neatest, tidiest, most professional looking finish on openings like necklines and armholes. I’ll always swap a facing for a binding when I can.

Having grown up sewing almost entirely with wovens, it wasn’t until I really got into knits a few years back that I discovered the many binding options out there when working with these special fabrics. Now I use knit bindings all the time.

In honor of Moneta Month, I wanted to show you several methods you could use to substitute bound edges on your Moneta.

Straight out of the envelope, Moneta is finished with either a lining for the sleeveless version (we have a video to show you how), or a simple hemmed finish.

Both of these are great finishes that work well with the design, but binding gives you a few more options. You might prefer the look of binding, you might find it helps if your fabric is a little saggy, or you might want to use it to add a little contrasting color to your edges.

In this article, I will detail 4 different ways you can use strips of knit fabric to finish edges on knit garments, including 1 band method and 3 different binding methods.

Bands vs. Binding

how to bind knit edges

how to bind knit edges

First, let’s clear up a little terminology.

A band is a length of fabric that’s folded in half and stitched into an opening. The seam allowance is turned to the wrong side. If you look at any t-shirt you own, it will probably have a band around the neck. It is usually sewn in the round. The grey bodice above has a band.

A binding has a similar function, but looks more like the bias binding you’d find on a woven garment. All the seam allowances are tucked inside and hidden. In knitwear, it is usually not sewn in the round. Instead, one seam is left open (such as a shoulder seam), the binding is sewn to the edge, then the remaining seam and binding are closed at the same time. The brown bodice below has binding.

Both of these finishes serve the same purpose. They cover up the raw edge of a circular opening and give you a neat finish. We’re going to cover both of these methods, since they are usually interchangeable.

Bands

A knit band is a pretty common treatment. You’ll see it on almost any t-shirt neckline, but it can also be used on other types of garments or in armholes.

Because armhole curves tend to be deep curves, I like to keep bands in this area narrow, perhaps 3/8″ or less when finished. This will help to prevent gaping.

how to bind knit edges

Again, bands are sewn in the round. That means that the opening is already sewn into a complete circle, the band is also sewn in a circle, and then the band is sewn into the neckline in a continuous line of stitching.

The downside to this is that the band must be cut and constructed at a specific width before sewing it into the opening. It usually needs to be a little smaller than the opening to prevent gaping, but if it’s too small, you get puckering.

The challenging thing is that it’s hard to know exactly how much smaller to cut it because every knit fabric is a little different. My rules of thumb are these: (1) Cut the band about 10% smaller than the opening to start, and (2) pin it to the opening and check the fit before you sew.

The worst case scenario is that you have to take it out and sew it again.

Self Fabric Band

How to:

05-binding

1) Measure the opening, such as the neckline or armhole. Use the following formula to determine the length of your neckband piece: Length of neckband = length of opening x 0.9

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2) Decide on a finished width for your band. For tight curves or small bands, choose 3/8 inch. For wider neckbands, choose 1/2 or 5/8 inch. Use the following formula to calculate the size of the neckband piece you will cut. Neckband piece width = (finished width + 3/8″ seam allowance) x 2. Draw a rectangle using the two measurements you calculated above.

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4) Find the lengthwise center of this piece. Draw a point 3/8 inches from each widthwise edge along this line.

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5) Connect this point to the corners of your rectangle. This divet in the pattern piece will help the band conform to the shape of your neck a bit more. Cut this piece from your fabric.

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7) With right sides together, stitch the short ends of the band together.

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8) Fold the band in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together.

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9) With right sides together and raw edges aligned, pin the band to the opening, aligning the seam with a shoulder seam or center back seam. Check the fit of the band (see the troubleshooting section below) before stitching the band to the opening using an overlock.

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10) Turn the seam allowance of the band to the inside.

Troubleshooting

Before you sew, always carefully pin the band into the neckline. Use plenty of pins to get the band seated in the neckline as much as possible.

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Does your neckband gape at the shoulders and seem to stand straight up? That means your band is too large. Trim it down and try again before sewing it in.

14b-binding

Is it making the garment pucker and pull towards the neck? That means it’s too small. Cut a new band that’s a little larger.

Binding

Binding is basically just like a bias tape binding on a woven garment, at least in terms of the various ways it can be applied.

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It can be sewn and turned to the inside like a facing (clean finish binding); turned to the outside (seam covering binding); or wrapped around the raw edge (wrapped binding).

18-binding

Binding is usually sewn into an opening before it’s fully closed. For example, if you’re sewing a neckline, leave one shoulder seam open, apply the binding, then close up the shoulder seam. The binding will be enclosed at the same time.

18a-binding

19-binding

Use a bar tack to hold the seam allowance of the binding down. This makes it less conspicuous from the outside.

The great thing about binding is that it doesn’t need to be cut to a specific size before you sew.

For each of these methods, we’ll create binding with a finished width of 3/8 inch and seam allowances of 3/8 inch.

Clean finish binding

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1) Cut a strip of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide. It should be longer than the opening you are sewing it to.

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2) Fold the binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

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3) With right sides together, stitch the binding to the edge.

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4) With right sides together, stitch the remaining seam closed, also closing the binding. Reinforce with a bar tack.

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5) Turn the binding to the inside of the garment, folding along the seamline.

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6) Edgestitch the band in place (see below for options).

Seam covering binding

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1) Cut a strip of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide. It should be longer than the opening you are sewing it to.

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2) Fold the binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

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3) With right side of the binding facing the wrong side of the garment, stitch the binding to the edge.

how to bind knit edges

4) Turn the binding to the right side of the garment, folding along the seamline. Press lightly.

how to bind knit edges

5) Edgestitch the binding in place (see below for options).

how to bind knit edges

6) With right sides together, stitch the remaining seam closed, also closing the binding. Reinforce with a bar tack.

Wrapped binding

how to bind knit edges

1) Cut a strip of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide. It should be longer than the opening you are sewing it to.

how to bind knit edges

2) Fold the binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press to form a crease.

how to bind knit edges

3) Fold the lengthwise edges toward the center and press to form two more creases. If you have sewn with bias tape, this should look familiar.

how to bind knit edges

4) Open up the binding. With the right side of the binding facing the wrong side of the garment, stitch the binding to the edge using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

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5) Wrap the binding along the raw edge, tucking the raw edge of the binding beneath.

how to bind knit edges

6) On the right side, edgestitch the remaining fold of the binding in place. Edgestitching on the right side of the garment means you do not have to worry about catching the edge perfectly on the underside. (see below for edgestitching options).

37a-binding

With right sides together, stitch the remaining seam closed, also closing the binding.

Edgestitching

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If you have a coverstitch machine, edgestitching is no big deal. You can just use the chainstitch feature to edgestitch your binding in place.

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If you don’t, try edgestitching with a twin needle. It will allow your binding to stretch and imiitates the look of a coverstitch.

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Or, use a single needle and stitch in place with a straight stitch (for openings that don’t require a lot of stretch) or a very narrow (0.2mm wide) zigzag stitch. If you like the look of a straight stitch but are worried about your thread breaking, try stretch thread, which has built in elasticity.

Discussion time!

So now we’ve covered 4 ways to finish: a band, a clean finish binding, a seam covering binding, and a wrapped binding. We’ve also talked about troubleshooting band necklines, and how to edgestitch your knits.

What’s your favorite way to finish knit edges? Do you like bindings, bands, linings, or another method?

You might also be interested in:

  • The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits: Written by our friend Alsyon Clair, our book on knits covers a wide range of techniques for sewing knit fabrics – with a serger or without.

  • Moneta pattern: Shown above is the bodice for Moneta, one of our all-time best-selling patterns.

  • Mabel pattern: Want something even simpler to try out knit techniques? Mabel is fast, simple, and fun.

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