Adding Rib Bands with Cut and Sew - Part 2

Part 1 -  Making the Rib Band (Steps 1 - 6) can be found here.

Part 2 - Attaching the Rib Band to the Garment

Step 7. Zigzag baste the raw edges of the rib band together.
Start at the seam and carefully match rib for rib as you sew. I use about a 4 mm width and a 4 mm length on the sewing machine. (I once thought that I could skip this step, but I make a mess if I do.) When the basting is finished, it's a good time to make sure the rib band fits comfortably over your hand (or your head or your hips depending on where it needs to go). 

Step 8. Mark the quarter points along the raw edges of the rib band and garment.
Old fashioned tailor's chalk is my current favorite marking tool. First I make a mark at the inside seam of the rib band and from there determine the halfway point and then the quarter points. Repeat on the raw edge of the garment.

Step 9. Pin the raw edges of rib band and the garment together.
I found it easiest to turn the garment inside out and slip the rib band inside the garment. I then match the quarter marks of  the rib band with quarter marks of the garment, right sides together. I prefer using binder clips,

...but ball point pins or t-pins are fine.

Step 10. Serge the raw edges. 
With the ribbing on top, stitch through all layers. You'll probably need to set your Differential Feed to about a "2" for a sweater knit. (Janome users, I actually set mine a click or 2 above "2", depending on the stretch of the fabric.) Use the zigzag to guide your stitching. Stitch just to the left of the zigzag. The clips are so big, it's impossible to forget to remove them. But if you're using pins, don't forget to remove them before you reach the knife!

Step 11. Steam well. 
Steam the seam allowance in the direction toward the sleeve (or other main garment piece).

(Optional) Top stitch the garment close to the ribbing seam (not pictured).
If you decide to top stitch, it will look like the second and third pics in my Further Notes on the Providence Sweater post.

Finished! Yes, there are a lot of steps, but they're quick and not difficult at all. Pros add rib bands without any basting -- I'm nowhere near that point!

There are other ways to finish an edge of a sweater knit fabric. This one's probably the quickest and easiest, if you're want a "traditional" look. I'm thinking that some of the techniques used for a lighter weight knits (such as these from can be adapted for sweater knit fabrics, but I'm very eager to try something very unconventional soon. We'll see....

If you've ever used this technique, please let me know in the comments what variations you used. Also what's your favorite finishing technique with knits?

Part 1 -  Making the Rib Band (Steps 1 - 6) can be found here.


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