Sandra Derry begins her helpful two-part explanation of how to finish different styles of neckline.
It’s all about the neckline
Apart from the everyday curved style necklines, there are so many more to choose from. Scalloped, sweetheart, Bardot, square and cowl are just a few. These are more intricate to make but are well worth the effort. Some of these I will explain in more detail next month but for now we will start with a simple curved shape.
The curved neckline is the most versatile for everyday wear. It can be cut deep/scooped or high, and is a perfect neckline for the beginner as it can be crafted out of any fabric.
Finished edges of a neckline can be bound, biased, faced, or even left raw if you prefer. The biased and bound necklines both use bias tape. Biased trim is needed to allow the curved edge to lay flat when bound. Ordinary woven tape would not be flexible enough.
If you feel the normal cotton bias can be a bit rough or looks a little dull, try using the satin bias. It looks more luxurious on evening wear and leaves a softer finish around the neck edge.
When my son was small he complained that the seams on his jeans chafed his legs. I stitched satin bias over the seams and, hey presto, one happy son.
If you would like to make your own bias, instructions for this are in the October 2015 issue.
To make a biased edge at the neck, stitch up the shoulder seams. Pin, tack and stitch the bias to the front of the neck edge with the right sides together.
Make V snips (notches) through both the bias and fabric about 1cm apart. Pic 1
With all layers pressed flat the same way, make a row of stitches along the inside neck edge. This will reduce roll back. Press the bias down to the inside. Pic 2
Tuck under the ends, and tack and stitch the bias in place along the bias edge. Pic 3
For a bound neckline, join the shoulder seams. Pin, tack and stitch the bias to the back of the neck edge with right side of the bias and the wrong side of the fabric together. Pic 4
Snip the notches as before and turn in any ends. Fold the bias over to the front, placing the creased bias edges together. Tack and stitch all the way round close to the edge. Pic 5
If you are making a garment without a button or zip opening, use only knitted fabric. I used the same fabric to make the bias as it will have the same amount of stretch. Make sure you allow for this when purchasing your fabric.
To finish a closed edge neckline stitch together one shoulder seam and leave the other open. Attach the bias in the same way as for the biased edge. Stitch together the other shoulder along the seam and bias. Pic 6
Fold the bias over to the back. Turn under and stitch down. Pic 7
Any eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that the stitches look a bit different to normal. This is because I used a stitch for knitted fabric on the machine. If your machine does not have this function you can use a shallow zig-zag instead.
Try the boatneck
Another version of a curved neckline is the boatneck. I find this very feminine and flattering. It sits across the chest and curves at the shoulders. The neckline can be finished as above or with a faced edge.
If you have made your own or recut a design, here are instructions on how to make the facing:
Using your garment pieces as a pattern, place tissue or dressmaking paper under the neck and sleeve area. Secure with a few pins. Draw around all neckline areas and along the shoulder edges. Unpin the fabric. Pic 8.
From the drawn neckline make pencil marks 7cm away from this edge on all pieces. Draw a line joining up the dots. You may also find it helpful to mark out any seam or turn areas and write on which piece it is. Pic 9
Use these pattern pieces to cut the fabric facings and interfacings.
Cut the interfacing 5mm shorter all the way round and attach to the facings.
Join the shoulder seams on both the facing and garment.
Stitch on the facing in the same way as for the biased edge with the right sides of fabric together. To tidy the edge of the facing turn under 5mm and stitch down. Pic 10
If you would like more tips and insights into haberdashery, Sandy Derry’s book Know Before You Sew is available from sjoyderry@ live.co.uk, priced £7.99 including post and packaging.