There are so many different methods for finishing your neck and arm openings! Shown above (top to bottom) is Single Fold Binding, normal Neckband, Double Fold Binding, and Invisible Binding (aka French Binding). We’ll talk about how to do each of these methods step-by-step, so if you’ve ever struggled with neckbands or binding then you’re in the right place! And don’t worry, when I first started sewing with knits it took me a little while to get the hang of neckbands. It gets easier, I promise.
The first step to any of these methods is marking the center point at the front and back of the shirt.
So, let’s start with the most popular finishing method in the PDF pattern world: traditional neckbands. You’ll begin by taking your band piece and serging/sewing the short ends with right sides together.
Then, you’ll fold your band in half lengthwise with the WRONG sides together. I also pin/clip a few extra spots to keep my band together and flat. (Now, if you’re struggling at all with written instructions, I have prepared a video alternative here that will show you start to finish how to apply a traditional neckband: https://youtu.be/5_CX_5re1Ys.).
Line up the seam with your back center clip on your shirt and the find the front center of the band to line up with the front center clip (remember to keep the right side of your band against the right side of the shirt). I start by clipping these two points first. Then with these two points in either hand, you’ll stretch the band and shirt together just until they lay nice and flat together. Pin additional points. If you’re a beginner, I recommend using lots of clips!
Now, serge around the opening. Be sure that you catch all three layers: both layers of the band and the shirt. And voila!! You can chose to top stitch if you’d like with either a single needle on your regular machine, a double needle, or on a coverstitch machine.
Single Fold Binding Method:
Now, let’s talk about the Single Fold Binding method. You’ll stretch and pin your neck band piece to fit the opening BUT you’re not folding it in half first. You are only pinning a single layer (right sides together with your shirt). Serge all the way around to attach the band.
From the wrong side of the shirt, push your seam allowance up toward the band. It may help to press with an iron.
Fold the neck band down over the seam allowance. Use pins or clips all around to hold it in place with your seam allowance sandwiched up inside.
Now topstitch with either a regular machine (single or double needle) or coverstich machine. You will have excess fabric, no to worry, this is taken care of next.
Very carefully, use a pair of sharp scissors to trim the excess fabric away. Be careful not to cut any of your stitching or the shirt itself.
And you’re done!
Double Fold Binding:
The next finishing method is the Double Fold Binding. You’ll begin similar to the Single Fold method by serging/sewing one layer of the band piece to the shirt, but this time you will have the right side of the band against the wrong side of the shirt.
Now press the seam allowance up toward the band.
Fold the top of the band down to meet the top of your seam allowance.
Then, fold it down over the seam allowance.
Use lots of clips to keep all your layers in place as you work around the neckband.
Finally, sew around the band with your machine (single or double needle) or coverstitch from the right side of the shirt (I used a single needle on my regular machine here). And you’re done!
Invisible Binding/French Binding:
Finally, this is the Invisible binding or French Binding method. You’ll stretch and pin your neck band piece to fit the opening BUT you’re not folding it in half first. You'll sew a single layer of the neckband piece to the shirt with right sides together.
Flip your seam allowance up toward the band (it helps to press it) and sew a straight stitch as close as you can to the seam.
Next, fold the band down over the seam allowance.
Then, fold it over again. Use lots of pins or clips to keep it in place as you go around the entire opening.
Use a straight stitch to go around the entire opening sewing the bottom folded edge of the band down. I find it’s helpful to work from the wrong side of the shirt to be sure I’m catching all the layers. And you’re done!