So during my conversations with the beginners of TheQEffectz Sew Community on Whatsapp on Beginner Q n A day , I realized a lot of us still have problems getting our clothing necklines correctly(please click here to learn how to cut the perfect necklines) and then when it comes to finishing these necklines, we really don’t know the right methods to apply to get a neat and professional finish.
Sometimes the necklines end up draping or gaping at either the front or at the back when the intention was never a draping neckline, but a perfect scoop or “V-shaped” neckline.
Image source: TheQEffectz Sew community
So how do we remedy this?
Well, I’ll say by first understanding that the various methods of neckline finishing are applied based on the type of fabric. In other words, not the same type of neckline finishing used for a non-stretch fabric can be applied to finish the neckline of a stretch fabric; the result will not be the same. Therefore it is important to understand your fabric when applying these methods.
But I’ll start by first explaining what the various methods of neckline finishings are, how to apply them and when to apply them.
METHODS OF NECKLINE FINISHING
There are several elaborate types of neckline finishing but they are universally divided into three
- Bias piece & Binding
- and the use of Collars.
BIAS PIECE & BINDING
True bias which is otherwise called as cross piece falls on a diagonal line at 45 degree to the lengthwise and crosswise grains. It has the maximum elasticity or in other word, it stretches more than any other direction on cloth. True bias is used to finish raw edges. It is useful especially for finishing curved edges such as neckline, sleeveless armholes and scallops. A straight piece of material attached to a curve will look bulky and untidy. The elasticity of bias permits it to stretch or contract and thus takes the shape of any curved edge giving it a flat smooth finish. Bias strips can be applied as facings and bindings.
A bias piece can either be made by self or bought as a tape from fabric shops. However, it is essential to note the texture of the bias tapes bought from fabrics shop before using them to finish the neckline of your fabric. Bought bias tend to be stiff. This is not a problem if you are using a medium-weighted fabric like Ankara. But when working with a light-weighted fabric, like cotton, chiffon or laces, it is advisable to use light-weighted bias(which are very rare by the way) or make your own bias. Making a bias tape from the texture of your fabric tend to give a finer result.
How and when to use a bias tape/strip
As earlier mentioned, a bias tape can be used to either bind or pipe the neckline of an outfit. It can also be used as a band on the neckline of your outfit.
Binding is used to finish and strengthen raw edges and to add a decorative trim to a garment. It shows both on the right and wrong side. It is used to finish necklines, armholes, sleeve edges, front closings, collars, cuffs and seams. It can be adapted equally well to straight, curved gathered and irregular edges (like scallops).
There are two types of Bias binding: Single bias binding and French bias binding, otherwise known as Piping. By piping we mean adding a decorative cord to the bias around the neckline to make the neckline more firm or attractive. See a more elaborate explanation here.
Also as earlier mentioned, it is essential that you understand the texture of your fabric before choosing between bought bias tape or self-made bias tape.
- For non-stretch fabric, bought bias piece can be used to “turn” the neckline of your outfit; to create a clean binding finish.
See procedures by Parikpa Patterns
Step 1: Place the double bias wrong side up on the right side of your fabric and pin one side around the neckline, starting from the mid point of your neckline.
Leave about 1.5 inch from the middle point and 1 inch after the mid point and stitch around.
Step 2: When you get to the end where the bias meets, place the ends together and stitch them close as shown in the photos below
Then place them back on the fabric and finish up your stitches.
Step 3: Press the tail of your bias tape
Step 4: Then understitch the seam as shown below
Step 5:Then turn your bias to the wrong side of your neckline and pin the tail around the neckline as shown. Use as many pins as you have to keep it neatly secured.
Step 6: Then take your work to the sewing machine and stitch around
When done, your neckline will look like this
Press iron for a smoother finish.
- For a Stretch fabric though like knit fabrics, it is important to use the same texture of your fabric as your “strip” rather than buying bias tape, to either create a clean binding finish or a band around the neckline.
The term “Strip” is in quote because unlike non-stretch fabric, the strip used isn’t a bias piece. It is called a “Cross strain strip” because it doesn’t conform to the 45 degree/ diagonal cut that bias conform to. It is more like a straight cut across the grain of the fabric with more emphasis on the direction of the fabric elasticity.
Meaning, it is lengthwise of where the fabric stretches more that should be cut.
See how to make your own bias strip from your fabric, here.
Procedures of how to create a band around the neckline for stretch fabric as explained by Made by Rae are:
Step 1: Measure your neckline and cut a “cross-grain” strip of your fabric of the same length with a seam allowance of 0.25 inch. The width of the strip should however be 1.75 inches wide. Then join the ends of the strip right side together and pin one side of the strip around the neckline.
Step 2: Stitch around the neckline
Step 3. Press iron the tail of the strips 0.5 inch to the wrong side as shown.
Step 4: Fold the folded tail over the seam and stitch
When done, your neckline will look like this
To see the various methods of binding the neckline of a stretch fabric, please click here
Another interesting way to finish off necklines for stretch fabric is to simply overlock the neckline edges and fold them over to the wrong side and stitch shut with a zig-zag stitch or double stitches from a cover-stitch machine.. But for this to be neatly done so that the stitches of your neckline doesn’t bugger off or gap later in the future, you will need what is known as a “Knit Stay tape”.
A Knit Stay Tape is a fusible tape used to stabilize the elasticity of stretch fabrics to prevent bulkiness at the neckline or armhole or even edges.
Here is a video tutorial from “So sew easy” on how Knit Stay Tape work
These are pieces of fabric used to provide a neat finish to the raw edges in a garment and to support the shape of neck line, armholes, collars, etc. When the edge to be faced is a straight line, the facing may be cut in one piece with the garment section. If the shape of the neckline is a curved one, a bias piece can be used. Usually, facing are applied separately. The color of the facing piece must co-ordinate with the color of the garment fabric.
Facing can appear on the right side of the garment or at the wrong side. The right side of the facing must be matched to the wrong side of the garment to ensure that it will be right side out when finished. If this is to be applied to the neck line, shoulder seam of the garment, it should be reverse just inside the outer finished edge of the facing. This is to prevent raw edges of shoulder seam from showing at the neck line. Decorative facing are usually made with scallops, points or other designs along the outer edge. Particular care should be taken to see that the right and left halves are symmetrical in design and shape
As regards the texture of your fabrics, facings are used more frequently on non-stretch fabric than stretch fabric.
- Here is however a video from Professor Pinchusion on how to attach facing to the neckline of a stretch fabric like knit.
- For non-stretch fabric, simply follow the procedures here in how to make an A-shaped gown to learn how to apply facing to the neckline of non-stretch fabrics.
USE OF COLLARS
Collars are without any doubt used to finish off necklines. They can be used in basically any garment to add support to the neck and to create a professional finish.
See here to learn how to draft a shirt collar and collar stand.
So that’s it darling. I hope I have been able to help on how to properly finish off a neckline, keeping in mind the type of fabric used.
Feel free to leave any questions you have about this on the comment box and I’ll respond to them as soon as I see them.
Thank you so much for hanging with me and see you next time on more sewing ideas
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”- Galatians 6:2
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