The V-neckline is a focal point of a garment and should be done well because inaccuracy is glaring. This band overlaps at the point, a feature that gracefully enhances the neckline and can be successfully accomplished on various angles with equal ease. Use this technique when you want a clean, simple method to finish and highlight a V-neckline and don’t want to get involved with the more complicated and tedious process of making a band that mitres at the point of the V. The fabric for the band may be the same colour as the garment or a contrast.
Stabilize the neckline
1. Interface the neckline
Cut a piece of fusible interfacing the shape of the neckline for each garment piece, making it the width of the seam allowance plus 1cm (3⁄8″). Fuse each strip to the wrong side of its piece, positioning it so it covers the seam allowance. This will stabilize the area and facilitate smoother topstitching.
• It is of the utmost importance to have the point of the V perfectly situated and not offset to the left or right. For this reason, it is helpful to mark the V area with a ruler and a fine chalk line before staystitching.
2. Stitch along the seamline
Staystitch the entire neckline directly on the seamline using a stitch length of 2.5mm (10 stitches per inch). Near the point of the V, shorten the stitch length to 1 or .75mm (24 stitches per inch). This tiny stitch eliminates the need for backstitching and further reinforces the point.
Prepare the band
3. Cut the neckband strip
Sew and press the shoulder seams. Measure the length of the entire neckline and add 10cm (4″); this is the length to cut the band. Decide how wide you want the band to be and add the width of your seam allowance; double this dimension to find the width to cut the band. Cut the band in your determined dimensions on the crossways grain of the knit fabric – so that the stretch runs the length of the band. This makes it easier to apply the band to the back neckline curve.
4. Fold and press the strip
Fold the neckband strip in half lengthways, right side out, and press. You may overlock the long cut edge for a professional look.
Attach the band
5. Position and stitch in place
Place the garment right side up. Align the cut edges of the band with those of the garment, leaving a tail about 5cm (2″) long extending past the point of the V as shown; pin at the V and a short way up the neckline but not around the back of the neck. Once the band has been correctly positioned, it is easier to stitch from the wrong side, where the staystitching is visible. Starting exactly at the point, stitch directly on top of the staystitching. Use a tiny stitch setting, .75 to 1mm (24 stitches per inch), near the point and don’t backstitch; backstitching will cause unnecessary thread build-up and adds bulk.
6. Continue stitching
Continue around the neck, gently coaxing the band to lie flat around the back neckline curve. Stop stitching about 2.5cm (1″) before you reach the V point (or at least as far as the band width); this creates a space for the band end to overlap.
• For those of you who are wondering which way the overlap will form, the side of the band stitched first will be on top.
7. Press and trim the neckline
Press the work as sewn to embed the stitches, then very carefully (using sharp scissors) clip only the garment fabric to-but-not-through the staystitching at the V. Grade the seam allowances (the allowance closest to the body should be the narrowest) and press them all towards the garment. The band will now fill in the V-neckline and the allowances will support it.
8. Finish attaching the band
With the garment wrong side up, slide the unattached end of the band over the secure end and pin it in place.
• Now is the time to check and make sure your band is an even width all the way around the neckline.
9. Trim the band tails
Check from the right side to see that the overlap is flat and neat. Continue stitching the band to the remainder of the neckline; stop exactly at the point. Pivot your work and stitch the end of the underlap to the overlap at the V and trim away the excess band tails.
10. Topstitch the neckline
Topstitch from the right side through all thicknesses. You may use a twin needle or contrasting thread for added panache.
• The band finish is a great way to showcase the V-neckline on this T-shirt.