This is post that I have been itching to share with you. As an avid watcher of sewing You-Tube videos (and by "avid watcher" I mean addict), I have noticed many people discussing the woes of an over-stretched, saggy neckband.
Thankfully, there is a way to avoid the neckline problem. Its does involve a little bit of maths but I promise you, it is all worth it!
Follow these steps to achieve the perfect neckband:
Step 1- Measure the % stretch of your fabric
Work out the percentage stretch of your fabric. If you are not sure how to do this, I have created this fabric stretch chart to help you. Print it out and keep it accessible so that you can quickly refer to it everytime!
Step 2- Measure the length of your neckline
Measure the total length of you neckline where you will be inserting you neckband.
Do this by folding your garment along the centre front and centre back. Align side seams. Measure using a flexible tape measure. Make sure you measure along the stitching line and NOT the edge of the seam allowance. This measures HALF the neckline (half the front neck and half the back neck).
To get your TOTAL neckline length, double the number you measured above.
Step 3 - Do the maths!
This is the formula. I have used an example with measurements for clarity.
Step 1: Percentage stretch of fabric: 25%
Step 2: Total Length of neckline: 66cm
**therefore according to the rules on the fabric stretch chart, we must shorten the neckband by 5-10%. We will use 10% for this example.
Step 3: 10% of 66cm is 6cm (rounded down to the nearest whole number)
Therefore 66cm - 6cm = 60cm.
Add 1cm seam allowance to each end of the band as you will be stitching the ends of the neckband together.
60cm + 2cm = 62cm.
Step 5 - Cut your neckband
Adjust the neckband pattern piece that comes with your pattern to the length you have calculated above. Cut out your neckband out and assemble.
Step 6 - Check your neckband is perfect
Before you finish the seams and top-stitch your neckline, be sure to try the garment on to ensure the neckband has worked out.
Step 7 - Press and top-stitch
One you are happy with the band, give it a good press. You can choose to overlocker the seam allowances if you wish.
Topstitch around the neckline using a twin needle or zig-zag stitch. This helps the neckline sit really flat.
Troubleshooting your neckband
If your neckband is loose or sitting up on your neck, you need to reduce the length of your neckband.
If your neckline has a gathered appearance, you need to lengthen your neckband.