I recently discovered a love for knit bindings, spurred after admiring a lovely dress made by Kay the Sewing Lawyer. It’s great when you want a simple, narrow finish on knit garments but don’t need a lot of stretch. I had a hard time finding any tutorials for binding a v-neck, but worked it out after emailing with Amy about it (one of my favourite people to nerd out about sewing esoterica with).
In yesterday’s post on hacking the Sallie jumpsuit into a romper, I explained the changes you must make to the pattern in order to remove the lining. The lining is convenient because it encloses all of your raw seams; if you’re going to forgo it, you’ll need to use a neckline binding instead. In this tutorial, I am using the kimono tee as an example, but it can also be used on the tank variation. In that case, sew the front and back V first. The side bindings should be extra long so they can become the shoulder straps. You can see what I mean by checking out Amy’s version here.
First step: sew and stablilize your shoulder seams with some clear elastic or stay tape. Press the seams to the back.
For reinforcement, sew a short line of stitches around the pointed V seam allowance . Clip at the V without cutting your stitches.
Measure your complete neck opening to get your binding length (plus seam allowance x 2). The width of the binding will be your seam allowance x 4. In the case of the Sallie, the total width of the binding will be 1 1/2″ (37mm).
Starting at the back shoulder, pin the binding to the neckline, right sides together.
Start sewing the band to the neckline along the seam allowance. Use a walking foot if you have one, and don’t stretch the fabric as you sew. When you get to the V, straighten out the fabric so that the V notch lines up with the binding. As you get to the clipped portion, ensure you are catching the bodice fabric as you sew the binding.
Continue sewing all the way around, repeating the above step when you get to the front V. When you come back to where you started, you may fold over one of the seam allowances to enclose the raw edge, but to reduce bulk I just left the seam flat since knit doesn’t unravel. Your neckline will look something like this:
Fold the binding over the seam you just sewed and press it flat all the way around.
Fold the binding over again so that it neatly encloses your seam, and press flat all the way around. Try to keep the width of the binding consistent.
Pin the binding into place. I am leaving the inside edge raw because knits don’t unravel, but feel free to serge it if it bugs you.
To sew the binding into place, stitch in the ditch along the entire neckline on the right side of the garment, making sure are catching the raw edge of the binding beneath. Stitching in the ditch means you are sewing right in between the binding and the bodice; it’s almost invisible when done carefully.
The binding is now sewn to the bodice all the way around. You’ll notice that the V neckline is now curved instead of mitered.
In order to create a nice crisp V, fold the bodice in half (right sides together). The binding will be sticking out a little bit. Sew a short straight line along that little triangle, backstitching on either end of the stitch line.
Press the neckline flat. You now have a lovely binded V neckline! Your shoulder straps will now have to be sewn on rather than sewn in between the bodice and lining. Sew two short lines along the binding to precent the straps from flipping out.
Obviously this technique can be used on any knit pattern – try it in lieu of a knit band on your Nettie bodysuit!