Sunday, August 29, 2010

neckline versions

Here I give an overview of some different neckline bindings on T-Shirts. The binding is one of the last things sewn when making a T-shirt, and also one of the most difficult things, so it can get disappointing.

In London (,7881.70.html) we talked about how our personalities are reflected in how we approach our sewing projects. Simplified, Ruthie is more of a getting-things-done person, who likes using tried-and-true-patterns to be able to add to her wardrobe quickly. Elizabeth likes to know how things work, likes to try new patterns and techniques, and may even leave things unfinished (with exceptions, e.g. pants).

I mainly go for quick satisfaction, but I found I may have some of both. For example one longsleeved shirt, Zoela from Farbenmix, I made about a dozen times, but recently tried out different versions to bind the neckline, just for the change and the challenge.
Although Karen is probably the most advanced and productive sewist of the four of us, she admired the neckline bindings on the T-shirts I wore, so I thought I’ll share how I did them.

The basic principle is always that you have a binding which is a bit shorter than the neckline (7-10% depending on stretchiness and recovery of the fabric). It has to be stretched while sewn to the neckline, and the most difficult part is to get it evenly distributed. I do not really give instructions here including pinning and basting, but only show different morphologies.

The first example is a variation on the instructions that came with the pattern from farbenmix. You sew the binding, right side to right side, to the opening, fold over and under. Topstitch from the right side with a wide zig-zag.
+ The zig-zag is decorative
- While topstitching it is important to stretch the same amount all the time, otherwise the zig-zag will be irregular
I used this on a blue cotton-jersey with a subtle ajours-pattern and on a merino-shirt (meant as underwear, so I was not so concerned about the perfect binding).

For the second example I followed instructions from New Look, and I think this is also what I saw on Karen’s Jalie-shirt. You sew the binding, folded double, to the right side, it will turn up, and then you iron the seam allowances down. You may, or may not, topstitch through the seam allowances. I did this with a narrow zig-zag so that it still stretches.
+ I think this is what you often see on purchased shirts, so it looks professional
- It is very important to stretch the same amount all the time, otherwise the binding becomes smaller and wider in different places
I used this on a dark green rayon knit with lycra.

The above was inspired by something I read from shams ( Sew the wrong side of the binding on the wrong side to the neckline. Turn over and stitch, and let the raw edge curl up.
+ Here you don’t see a stitching line, this was ideal with my previous machine, which made longer and shorter stitches depending on the sewing speed
- You are doing something “wrong” on purpose, so the overall look must show this was the intention and not a mistake
This was nice for a casual shirt striped in mud-colors, for a thin silk knit which was very “curly”, and for a jersey with two different sides.

I don’t know where I got the fourth method for this mottled shirt from, must have been stored somewhere in my subconscious (maybe from Jalie?). Sew the right side of the binding on the wrong side to the neckline. Turn over and under, topstitch.
+ One of my favorites, it is nicely flat and “clean”. If by mistake the binding was stretched irregularly while sewing the first seam, one can correct a little for the resulting varying width of the band by turning more and less under

This last one looks quite similar to the previous one. For the red shirt with pleats at the neckline I followed the instructions from Knipmode. The band is folded double and sewn to the inside, then turned outside, including the seam allowance, so that the stitching line is at the edge of the neckline. Topstitch.
- There are six fabric layers at the neckline, making it difficult to topstitch, especially if the seam allowances start to curl inside the tunnel
+ If done from the other side, and maybe starting with a single layer, this can give a nice sleek look like you would do with bias-binding on wovens
I cut the binding parallel to the grainline, because the neck is low and I did not need or want it to stretch more. For the same reason I used a straight stitch and not the narrow zig-zag.


RuthieK said...

Loads of options! The one I use isn't like any of those, but perhaps looks a bit more homemade because of it. Mine are like the second example, only I don't topstitch at all. I fold the band in half and sew right side together to the neckline with the normal sewing machine. I then serge all the layers together and press the serged seam down.

Linda T said...

Great examples, thanks!

Kathryn, aka fzxdoc said...

Very nice overview, Hen. Thanks so much for compiling the techniques. The illustrations are really good as well.

shams said...

It's great to have these in one spot! What great diagrams - the directions are so clear! And thanks for the shout out. :)

sdBev said...

WOW great! I'm printing this off and filing it with my TNT Tshirt pattern!

kbenco said...

Hen, thzt is so clear and beautifully explained, thank you. All of your finishes looked so professional, but you are right, I really admire your neckbinding! I look forward to trying all of these.

PattiB said...

I just stumbled across a link (on Stitcher's Guild) to your lovely posting about neckline finishes -- wonderful! Hope you don't mind that I share it with friends.