There are a couple of ways to sew a V-neck neckband; today, I’m going to show you how to use what I call the overlap method. Instead of having a seam at center front, which can be harder to get perfect, you just overlap the binding at center front. It’s a little bit easier to get a neat finish and you don’t have to think about the angles too much (which is great if you’re drafting your own neckline!).
In the photos, I’m sewing a Panama Tee, but this tutorial is applicable to any V-neck. To start, I have lowered the neckline by 3 inches at center front, cut at a 45* angle for a couple of inches, then softly curved up to the existing shoulder placement. This gives me a perfect right angle at center front without needing to alter the width of the neck or the back bodice.
First, sew your shoulder seams. Don’t attach the sleeves yet, even if the pattern you are using says to. It’s a lot simpler to sew the neckband right before attaching the sleeves!
Mark the stitching line for an inch or two on each side of the V. For the Panama Tee, this is 3/8″ seam allowance.
Using a longer stitch length, sew a basting stitch along this line. This will prevent the V from distorting, and help keep things lined up as you attach the band. Clip into the fabric of the V; I like to stay about 1/16″ away from the basted stitches. Be careful here–if you cut too far, you could end up with a hole in the fabric at the base of your V.
Set your shirt front aside and grab your neckband. For the overlap method, make the short ends straight, rather than pointed. Fold the band in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
[As a reminder, to calculate the length of the neckband, you’ll need to measure the length of the stitching line all the way around your neckline. Multiple that amount by 90% and then add seam allowances to each end. For this method, you’ll want the seam allowances you add to match the neckline’s seam allowance. For the Panama Tee Dress, the band should be 1.5″ wide. (For more info, see step 4 of this tutorial.)]
Overlap the ends of the band, matching the angle of the V on your shirt. Mine is cut at a right angle, so I’m overlapping the band at a right angle. Pin together.
Make sure that the band is not twisted.
Mark the stitching line on the band and run a basting stitch along this line to attach the ends.
With right sides together, place a pin through the V of each stitching line.
Line up the raw edges of the shirt and the band and pin. You’ll want to pay attention to the corners of the V, making sure that they stay aligned.
Baste together for an inch or two on each side of the V.
Flip the band out to check placement and to make sure that you caught the shirt fabric at the base of the V so that there is not a hole. This looks good, so I will proceed. (We’ll remove those visible basting stitches later.)
Fold the shirt in half, matching the shoulder seams. Place a pin in the center back of the shirt and the neckband.
Raw edges and right sides together, match the pins. Check to make sure that the neckband is not twisted.
Pin the band to the shirt at center back, then gently stretch the neckband to match the neckline, pinning together every few inches.
Starting at one side of the V, sew the shirt and band together all the way around the neckline. I’m using my serger to attach, but you may also do this on a sewing machine. If you are newer to sewing knits and bands and bindings, I highly recommend using a sewing machine here first–it’s much easier to remove than serger stitches if you need to re-do something.
Flip the neckband up–this is what it will look like from the inside before pressing.
Press the neckband well, using lots of steam. Remove any visible basting stitches at the V. If you want to secure the seam allowances, you can topstitch around the neckline, 1/8″ away from the band. I like the clean look of no topstitching, so I tend to skip this. It’s all a matter of personal preference! You may now proceed with attaching sleeves and sewing side seams.
You’ll spend a few minutes getting the V set up just right, but once it’s in, everything else goes very quickly. As long as you can keep a steady seam allowance, this method is pretty fool-proof!
Want to request a tutorial? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email!