Lazy Tips for Fixing Knits: Turn the Neckbinding into a Facing


I’m back with another lazy tip! This works in two scenarios:

  1. You did a crappy job on the neckband, and it’s flappy and loose. (If this is often a problem for you, I’d suggest my tutorial on finding the right length of neckband. It works really well for me!)
  2. The neckband is fine, but the over garment looks frumpy.

In both cases, you can give the garment a more streamlined look by folding your finished neckband to the inside of the fabric, and top-stitching it down. It will no longer visible from the outside, and functions more like a bias binding facing on a woven garment. This hides your imperfect band insertion in the first scenario, and opens up the neckline visually to make it more sassy in the second!

Here’s an example:


On the left, the dress is finished with folded bands at the neck and arms. On the right, the bands have all been folded under and topstitched. I think it looks much more open and flattering! I wrote a whole post about how and why I changed this dress, actually!

I feel like I should write instructions, but it’s simple to the point of absurd: 

  1. Sew on a folded neck or arm band. 
  2. Fold it to the inside, and topstitch in place.

On the left, a regular knit band folded to the inside. On the right, a strip of fabric as a facing, as described below. Please forgive the pre-dawn cellphone pictures! 

Or, if you know in advance that you want a clean look with no visible bands, you can skip sewing on the folded band, and use a strip of fabric in the same way you would bias binding.

  1.  Cut a 1″ strip of fabric across the grain of your knit fabric. Sew it around the neck/arm opening, right sides together.
  2. Next, fold it to the inside, topstitch in place, and trim off any extra fabric.

Here are a few more garments where I’ve finished the whole thing, tried it on, then headed back to the machine to fold in the bands:


Left: Nettimisu, with neckband folded in. Centre: Appleton wrap dress with arm bands folded in for a more delicate, formal finish. Right: Red floral dress with neckband turned in.

Now, there are two circumstances where this won’t work. If the neckband is too tight, turning it in will make things worse. Best to give it a good press to see if you can wrangle it into submission, or cut it off and have another go. Likewise, if the neckline is already too low/wide, you won’t want to do this!

How do you fix neckbands when they go wrong? I know it is a really common problem, so it’s wise to have a few solutions up our sleeves!

13 thoughts on “Lazy Tips for Fixing Knits: Turn the Neckbinding into a Facing

  1. I have done this as well, but also just folded the binding in half to make a very narrow finish to the neckline if needed. Have you tried using a binding attachment with knits?


      1. I haven’t invested in one, I have read Dawn from Two on Two Off’s review of hers and wondered……..


  2. I don’t know you, but after consistently reading your posts, I love you. In the best possible non-stalker way. Thank you for sharing; you never fail to bring a smile to my heart.


  3. Thanks for the tip! Separately, under the photos of the neckband taken with your cellphone, “on the left is used to describe both photos instead of “on the left”… “on the right”. A small typo that might be confusing for some.


  4. I just did this on a top this evening! It works so well and can make a world of difference, even though it seems like such a small amount of fabric.


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