Sunday, January 6, 2013

A self-rolling edge finish for knits

This is a sweet and pretty finish to apply to the edges of casual knit garments... and a more neatly-finished-on-the-inside edging, if slightly more involved, than a similar one I wrote previously.  This is the edging technique used for this dress.
Firstly; the fabric has to be that sort that when left alone; rolls up at the edges all by itself.  Generally, this will only be a reasonably lightweight, single knitted jersey.
Cut a cross-grain strip (that is, with the stretch running along the long edge of the strip) that is as long as the aperture being edged, minus 10% and rounded to the nearest full or half centimetre, for ease of working.  
So, for example, if your neckline is 32cm, cut a strip that is 32cm - 3.2cm = 30cm.  Or if your armhole is 125cm, cut a strip to be 125cm - 12.5cm = 113cm
The width of my strip here is 4cm (or 1 1/2")
Stitch together the short sides of the strip right sides together, in a 1cm seam.  Then pin the right side of the strip to the wrong side of the garment.  Your strip is now a bit more than 10% shorter than the armhole/neckline; apply the most stretch when attaching it to the most curved sections of the garment edge, such as the sharpest points of the underarm curve, and the centre front of the neckline.
Stitch in a 1cm (3/8") seam.  If the area is not expected to cope with any stretch during wear then a straight stitch is fine; otherwise use a shallow zig-zag, a stretch stitch, or double-stitch with a twin needle.
Trim the seam allowances just a bit, by about 3mm.  
Why do we do this, and not just stitch the seam with a narrower seam allowance in the first place? because stitching a narrow seam allowance on a fine flimsy knit is not easy even on the best of sewing machines.  Most domestic sewing machines will tend to chew up the edges of a lightweight fabric if you try sewing very close to the edge, meaning you'll end up with an uneven ugly line of stitching.  Stitching in a wider seam allowance just means the fabric glides through machine more easily, and stitches up far more smoothly, and then you can trim away the excess width afterwards.

Turn the strip up, and press up...

... then flip the strip over and onto the right side of the garment, encasing the seam allowances and press it in place.  Don't worry if you are pressing some of the curl out of the fabric at this point, it will come back!
From the wrong side, pin the strip in place.
With the wrong side of the garment facing up, stitch in the ditch of the seamline between garment and strip.  Again, if you are stitching a garment in which has to cope with a bit of stretching then it is probably wise to use a stretch stitch, or a double stitch with a twin needle here....
Give your garment a dunk in a bucket of water and if necessary, if it isn't curling up on its own; ease that curl back into place... it will stay there as it dries, and forever after that.  Just don't iron it down!
Voila! cute curly seam, that looks a bit like piping  :)



Oh, and that strip joint...? (hehe, strip joint, (smirk)) .... be sure to situate that in an unobtrusive place, like the underarm seam, or just behind the underarm seam if bulk is an issue.  (sorry; I forgot to take a picture of this "during")  Here the strip seam is about 1cm to the left of the side seam, with the strip seam allowances both pressed to the left and trimmed on the diagonal close to the stitching just prior to the final stitching-in-the-ditch step.

37 comments:

  1. Thanks Carolyn. I'll be using this method if I ever sew stretch again !

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  2. Thankyou! It looks so easy to do and I really like the effect of the finished neckline!

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  3. I had this finish on a t-shirt once. I never could figure out how to iron it, so I didn't... Strip joint, hmmm.

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  4. Thank you! I'm heading to the machine now to try that out. One of my goals is to sew more knits this year & this finish will certainly feature. Thanks again!

    P.S. I'd love to know what your top tips for better sewing would be for those of us striving to improve our skills?

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  5. It is a tad more involved, but doubly well worth it for this fantastic finish. Definitely trying this way next time...and will remember to keep the 'strip joint' hidden from view....J

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  6. That's so helpful thanks! Sam xox

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  7. Thanks for sharing Carolyn. It´s so helpful and the effect is sooo cute!

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  8. What a clever idea and it looks great... thanks for sharing... and thank you for dropping by my new blog too. Here's hoping the cooler Perth weather returns soon for you :)

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  9. This is a terrific idea. One I've not used but love the look of.

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  10. Another great tip! Thanks Caroline!

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  11. He-he?????? Grow up

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  12. Thanks for the tutorial! It's always good to have another option for edge-finishing knits, and I like that this one works with the natural tendency of the fabric.

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  13. That's an awesome finishing technique.

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  14. Thanks for such a clear tutorial Carolyn - I look forward to trying it!

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  15. Someday, Carolyn, I'm going to break out my sewing machine and dust of my very rusty skills. I don't think its like riding a bike...where you just get back on and it all comes back. I'll sit in front of your blog and re-learn everything!

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  16. Ooh, I like this finish! I always struggle with those super curly knits. Great idea to use the curl to your advantage.

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  17. Thanks for this - I like the finish & will use it.
    Happy New Year!

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  18. i'm always looking for new ways to finish my knits. i spied something similar on a rtw top i have, but the curled edge came up and out from the inside (i.e. right side of binding stitched to the right side of the shirt, then turned to the inside and top stitched from the front.) anyhow, i haven't tried it out yet, but i love your version also. it's such a clever way to take advantage of the otherwise annoying curl!

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  19. Thanks so much, Carolyn, for this wonderful tutorial!

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  20. I must admit to not ever thinking of finishing a garment this way. Mental note to self....store this one away . It is a great little finish for a casual garment.

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  21. great tutorial and I'll put it to good use next time I use a knit like this.

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  22. What a great technique. I am going to mentally file this away to use at some stage.

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  23. That is such a good idea! Thank you for sharing it. And please don't grow up like someone had suggested - it's predictable and boring. Maintaining a level of silliness it's far more fun :-)

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  24. Great finish Carolyn. I will be putting that to use as soon as I can.
    Don't change your style of blogging - it is clearly very popular. And if anyone wanted to make a serious comment they could at least put their own name to it. Also, thanks Craig!

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  25. This is such a fabulous finish! It looks super cute and will add some lovely detail! I'm going to be trying sewing in some block colours this year *cry* so I'm hunting down lovely finishing methods to sass them up. This is totes being bookmarked!

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  26. When I first read this post my comment was only going to be: Thanks for a great tutorial. I have only just finished my first successful neckband and tutorials like this give such great options and the opportunity to learn so much.

    Now after reading the troll's comment I want to add - please don't change anything about the way you blog - the information you put in - please don't let a*holes like this make you start to self edit. Your blog is a true treasure and appreciated by so many people. I second Craig's comments that this is a really inspirational blog.

    Maybe eliminating the ability to post anonymously will stop cowards like this person commenting without putting a name to it.

    Truly - this d*head obviously has serious mental issues.

    Sorry for the strong language - I am wound up on your behalf.

    I love your retrospectives and your styling of your pictures is what attracted my attention in the first place. Beautiful.

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  27. Thanks for sharing this technique, will use it once I get my serger here in KL. how I miss my overlooker back home in India, more so after this post ...

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  28. Love this finish! Since I don't have an overlocker, it's always nice to see finishes that look great with just the sewing machine.

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  29. This is such a lovely finish, I have some knit tops that I want to make so I'll have to remember to give this a shot!

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  30. Thanks for the tutorial! I would really like to try this.

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  31. I like this finish - cute and casual, will definitely try it out.. Thank you!

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  32. Thank you again for a great tutorial. I wouldn't have thought of dunking the fabric again to stop it from rolling.
    I've also see a similar RTW top with the rolled edge on the right side of the fabric.

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  33. Another tutorial of yours I've bookmarked, and again one I haven't seen anywhere else. Thanks for the effort and time you put into these.

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  34. Thank you! I really love this. Definitely bookmarking for future t-shirt.

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