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Do any of you have problems sewing a neat neckband? Well I sure do, I’ve always had problems when putting together a t-shirt neckband. This is the reason why I always stood clear away form them. They seem to always end having some sort of a  pucker or stretched out look, which is not flattering. I just had to have these instructions at my fingertips, because I really love working with jersey and knits. I came across this tutorial on CraftStylish by Cal Patch

Cal Patch book Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified is on my wish list. I hope this helps with your sewing, I’ll be trying it out after NSD (National Scrapbook Day).

Please Note: This tutorial originally came from CraftStylish. Please visit CraftStlish for more helpful sewing tips and tutorial.

This lovely neckband is easy to sew!

The unfinished neckline as you begin...

Carefully measure the circumference with a tape measure.

This lovely neckband is easy to sew! This lovely neckband is easy to sew!
Photo: Cal Patch

If you’ve ever made a T-shirt, you may have been stumped when the time came to finish the neck. A regular double-turned hem, like we do on most edges, just doesn’t work on a curved knit neckline. Here’s how to make a classic T-shirt neckband using your trusty home sewing machine.

Factory-made tees have neckbands (or sometimes bindings) made from dyed-to-match fine rib. Since it is near impossible to find matching rib in the retail fabric market, we are going to use the same jersey the shirt is made from. This technique works best if the jersey has some spandex in it, but it will work on all-cotton as well. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Here we have the unfinished neckline of a knit top.

The unfinished neckline as you begin.

Take your tape measure and determine the circumference of the neckline. Mine is 17 inches around.

Carefully measure the circumference with a tape measure.

Now, we need to make the neckband a little shorter than the full neckline, so that it will lie flat, so we’re going to reduce the measurement by 15%. Multiply the circumference by .15, (for me that came to about 2.5 inches) and subtract this number from the original neckline. That gave me 14.5 inches, and I’m going to add another .5 inch for seam allowance (that’s .25 inch on each end). So 15 inches is the length I’m cutting for my neckband piece. To determine the width, I need 2x[desired neckband width]+.5 inch for seam allowance. I want a .75-inch band, so that comes to 2 inches. Now that you’ve figured out the length and the width, you can cut out your neckband piece.

Step 2: Take your neckband and, with right sides together, seam the two short ends together. You can use a plain old straight stitch for this.

Seam the short ends of the band together.

Step 3: Now your neckband is a loop. With wrong sides together, fold it lengthwise along the center of the band.

Fold the band in half lengthwise.

Pin and stitch the edges together using a narrow zigzag (I used 2mm by 2mm).

Stitch the raw edges together with an over-edge zigzag.

This step is optional, but it makes the following step much easier, so I definitely recommend doing it for your first time or two.

Step 4: Next, we can pin the neckband to the shirt in preparation for sewing. But first we need to mark some key points to match up. Begin by placing a pin at the seam of the neckband; this will match up with one of your shoulder seams. Find the other shoulder point of your neckband by looking at the shirt neckline, then mimic the shape with your band.

Mimic the shape of your neckline with the band to determine the second shoulder point. (The first is at the seam.)

We have to guesstimate a bit here because the front neckline is longer than the back. Place a pin at the folded point that you determined to be the opposite shoulder, and don’t stress about it too much! Then find the center front and center back by folding the band in half, matching the shoulder points. This will give you the centers of the front and back sections of the band, and you can mark these with pins, too. Also mark the center front and center back on the shirt neckline, with a disappearing-ink marker or pins.

On the band, mark the two shoulder points and CF and CB with pins. On the shirt, mark CF and CB with a disappearing marker.

Then you can go ahead and pin the band to the shirt, matching them up at the four marked points. You’ll be pinning the band to the right side of the shirt, with the raw (zigzagged) edges together. Place at least one more pin between each of the original four, stretching the band as you pin.

Pin the band to the shirt, matching the four marked points, then filling in with pins in between.

Don’t worry if the band seems quite a bit smaller than the shirt, causing it to pucker; this is actually what you want! You’ll see…

Step 5: Ready for the big finish? Head to your machine and stitch around the neckline, using either a straight stretch stitch (say that five times fast!) or a wider-but-short (I used 5mm by 2mm) zigzag. You’ll need to stretch the band as you sew so that it fits the shirt smoothly.

Stretch the band as you seam it onto the shirt.
This is the neck seam before you flip the band up.

Take it one section at a time, and keep checking that the shirt is not pleating underneath the band as you sew. If you use the straight stretch stitch, you might want to zigzag the layers together after, to keep them flat. If you have a serger, you can do this all in one step. Once the band is sewn in place, give it a quick press with your iron. There may be a little puckering when it’s lying flat, but when you try it on, you won’t believe how professional it looks!

Here it is finished. It looks even better on a body!



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