San­dra Derry be­gins her help­ful two-part ex­pla­na­tion of how to fin­ish dif­fer­ent styles of neck­line.

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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@, priced £7.99 in­clud­ing post and pack­ag­ing.








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