Back to Sewing Basics with Baby Lock: Neckline Finishes

This post is sponsored by Baby Lock and all opinions are my own.

Hi everyone! As a Baby Lock Ambassador, I have another ‘Back to Sewing Basics’ post for you today. We will be talking all about neckline finishes! I will also walk you through of few of my most used neckline finishes for both woven and knit garments. In this post I am sewing with my Baby Lock Brilliant sewing machine, and Baby Lock Celebrate serger.

Why do we need to finish a neckline you ask? Finishing a neckline gives your garment a polished and finished look, it also keeps the neckline from fraying or stretching out as the garment is worn and cared for through out it’s life.

Woven Garment Neckline Finishes:

There are many ways to finish a woven neckline. A few of the most used methods are neckline facing, bias binding finish, collars, or top stitched facing. Today I will be specifically walking you through two of my most used woven neckline finishes using a neckline facing and bias binding. Bias binding neckline finishes are my preferred method but if I want a clean finish without any stitching around the neckline, I will use a neckline facing. I will walk you through how I do both:

Neckline Facings:

The first method we will discuss in this post is why and how to sew in a neckline facing. A neckline facing is a great choice for a nicer garment, especially if you would prefer to have a smooth, seamless and stitch-less (yes I just made that word up!) neckline. The only complaint I have with this method is that sometimes it can be a pain to keep the facing flat against the inside of the neckline, and it can flip up (even with under-stitching!). I would say it greatly depends on the weight of the fabric you are using- lighter weight fabrics tend to not behave as well. Okay, let’s jump into how to prepare and sew a neckline facing!

  1. You will need your front and back facing pieces, matching fusible interfacing pieces, and a raw neckline edge. Press the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the facing pieces.

2. Pin the two interfacing pieces right sides together at the shoulder seams, and sew using the specified seam allowance for your project.

3. Press the shoulder seams open and finish the raw edges of the two shoulder seams. (I used my Baby Lock Celebrate serger, but if you don’t have a serger you could also use a zig zag stitch to finish the edges using a regular sewing machine).

4. Now, we need to finish the outside edge of the facing by using a serger (or zig zag stitch) around the whole outside edge of the facing.

5. Next, we will attach the facing to the neckline of the garment. Pin the facing to the neckline edge, right sides together. Make sure to match the seams at the shoulder seams of both the neckline and the facing.

6. Using a sewing machine, sew along the neckline edge at the required seam allowance for the particular project you are working on.

7. Trim the neckline seam allowance to 1/4″.

8. Now we need to under-stitch the seam allowance to the facing. This will help prevent the facing from popping up around the neckline while it is being worn. Sew right along the seam line, attaching the seam allowance to the facing.

9. Turn the garment right sides out, and press the facing into the inside of the garment. Make sure to roll the under-stitching slightly more to the inside so you won’t see it on the front side when being worn.

10. The last thing I would recommend doing is tacking the shoulder seams of the facing and neckline together to help prevent the facing from flipping out as well. Pin the facing to the shoulder seam, and stitch in the ditch on the right side of the shoulder seam.

That’s it! Now we have a clean and beautifully finished neckline!

Bias Binding:

Bias binding is my most used and most preferred neckline finish on any given woven garment. Some people like to make their own bias binding to match the inside of their garment, or give it a special pop. Personally, (and maybe I’m just lazy) I like to buy pre-made single fold bias from my local craft store in a similar or matching color to the garment I am sewing. This saves me some time, and makes finishing a neckline super quick. I have a nice stash of different bias binding colors that always come in handy.

This is how you do it:

  1. You will need a raw neckline, of course. Here’s one I was recently working on.

2. Open up the folded bias binding and align/pin one raw edge to the front side of the garment neckline. Attach all the way around the neckline, leaving about 1/4″ hanging off of the edge.

3. Sew a straight stitch right along the first fold of the bias binding. Don’t forget to backstitch at both ends.

4. Using an iron, press the folded bias binding to the inside of the neckline, making sure to press the binding about 1/8th or just past the neckline fabric so a tiny bit peaks out along the pressed neckline edge. This way you won’t see the bias binding on the right side of the garment. Pin in place.

5. Using foot R, and moving the needle over to the left at 1.5mm, align the bar of the foot right along the edge of the bias binding. Sew all the way around, backstitching at both ends.

6. Give the neckline a good finishing press, and you are all finished!

Knit Garment Neckline Finishes:

Neck Band:

One of the most common ways to finish a knit garment neckline is with a neckband. It’s not difficult but can take some practice to get it laying just right. You can use a ribbed knit fabric or the same fabric as your knit garment. I have a couple of tricks I like to use to prevent having to unpick the neckband (which often times can ruin and stretch out the neckline beyond repair). Here we go!

  1. First up, make sure your shoulder seams are sewn right sides together, and finish using your preferred method. I used a Baby Lock Celebrate serger which I can’t say enough good things about!

2. Now we will insert the neckband. I decided to use the same fabric as the rest of my garment for this particular dress. Grab the neck band piece and pin the two edges right sides together, creating a circle. Sew and press. Fold the band in half, wrong sides together and press.

3. Now, using sewing pins, divide your band and neckline into 4ths. This will help us evenly distribute the neckband into the neckline. The neck band is slightly smaller than the neckline, which will help pull the neckline in to fit nice a snug, as well as lay flat.

4. Now, pin the raw edges of the neck band into the neckline, right sides together, matching the quartered pins. Match the seam of the neckband with the center back pin on the bodice.

5. Pin the rest of the neckband to the neckline, easing it in. You will have to stretch out the band slightly to fit into the neckline- this means it’s fitting nicely and will pull the neckline in. If you don’t need to ease the neckband in too much, the neckband piece may be too long.

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6. Next, we will need a sewing machine. I ALWAYS baste my neckline in first to make sure it fits in nicely. This saves me both time and a potentially ruined neckline if I need to unpick it. Before we begin sewing, set the stitch length to 4.0. Then, using a straight stitch, baste the neckband to the neck edge at about 1/4″ seam allowance.

7. My next tip is to try on the bodice!! I always try on my knit project at this point to see how the band lays. If it lays flat you are good to go, but if it seems kind of loose and wonky- then your neckband piece is too long. Unpick the neckband, trim off a little bit of length, and try again if needed.

8. Once you are happy with the fit of the neckline, serge the neckband to the neckline. Press.

That’s all there is to it! As you practice sewing in neckbands, you will start to understand when a neckband might be too loose or just right as your are pinning it into the garment. At this point you can also topstitch around the front side of the neckline right along the edge, securing the seam allowance. I personally prefer to skip this step.

There you have it! Now remember, practice makes perfect! Don’t beat yourself up if it take a few tries! (Quite often I have to unpick and re-try too!!). Don’t let the negative stigma of the needing to use the seam ripper get you down- it’s your best friend!!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and found it helpful when it comes to finishing both knit and woven garment necklines. Happy sewing everyone!

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