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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Lynda writes: “I’m awful. Last August/Sept. I knit myself a LowTech Hoodie and then could not make myself seam it up. Finally, after it has gotten too warm to wear it in Oklahoma, I started seaming it. When I got to the point where I was ready to seam the Raglan sleeves to the body I just stopped. I have Fear of Finishing. Please let me know what you beleive to be the best method for seaming this area which will be noticeable.”

OH Boy oh Boy OH BOY!

B-Marie’s Quick Start Picture Guide to Sleeve Seaming

Mattress stitch the side seams of your garment and the sleeve seam. Steam flat (if fiber content allows) for a minimal, low bulk seam.

With sweater and sleeve turned inside out, pin sleeve to body of sweater, matching underarm seams. (The right side of the sleeve faces the right side of the body.) I use big stainless steel T-pins.

ENTER the Mystery Guest – FINALLY – a use for superwash wool! Although I often use the sweater’s yarn to seam, I aim for low-bulk and like to use a yarn that is much smaller in gauge to seam my sweaters. In this case, the cotton yarn I knit the sweater with would’ve made a very thick seam so I opted for Sportweight SuperWash wool in a matching color. This works especially well for sleeves, where you really want to make a small flexible seam. Even though the body fabric is cotton, using stretchy superwash wool that won’t shrink is a plus…

Now, I join the sleeve to the body of the sweater using a slip-stitch crochet stitch. I find this to produce a flexible and easy way to join. It makes a very strong seam.

Here is a CU of the stitch being made.

This is how the completed sleeve seam looks. It is a chain just like at the top of a bag of dog food. You all know how to *un-zip* that type of join, so be sure to fasten the end of your seam securely so no accidental zippage occurs :)

VOILA! Here is the completed Raglan Sleeve Seam – very strong and very lean…

26 responses to “Wednesday, May 4, 2005”

  1. Jenny says:

    Beautiful!!! Thank you so much. This has always been a problem for me and the pictorial was extremely helpful. You rock!

  2. anna says:

    beautiful! can you use the crochet join for set-in sleeves too, or is it just for raglans?

  3. Alison says:

    Thank you. So illuminating.

  4. Leslie says:

    I never thought of using a slip stitch to join seams – thanks for the detailed instructions!


  5. Bonne Marie says:

    I like to use this slip-stitch seam for all types of sleeves…

  6. Michelle says:

    You are my hero.

    Thank you, that is all. :)

  7. Rachele says:

    Ah yes, the crochet seam. I’m a HUGE fan; every seam that I create is crocheted. I used to matress st everything, which is great, but weakens my yarn and can be tedious. You always have great pictures and are a source of knitting/photography inspiration!

  8. Bets says:

    I’m with Lynda – F.O.F.! Thank you Bonne, I feel much better now – I can do this, I can do this…

  9. Jackie says:

    What a cool idea! Thanks so much for sharing it! :)

  10. Annie says:

    Great tips! I’m hoping this entry is going into your “tech tips” section so I can refer to it often. I’m wondering if you’ve tried to join the sleeve to the body *before* sewing up the side seams?

  11. Teresa says:

    It’s geeky I know but I get a little rush reading technical knitting stuff and you always have the best stuff!

  12. ~Jo~ says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you for posting this today, I think there just might be hope for several of my UFO’s. You have no idea how happy this makes me! :) Now off to learn crochet…

  13. Toby Wollin says:

    This definitely qualifies as a Knitting PSA (Public Service Announcement).

  14. rachelkates says:

    That seam is nothing short of beautiful. I’m so glad I stopped by Chez Burns today.

  15. Risa says:

    What a fabulous tip! Thanks so much for it and the handy dandy pictures! I’ll definitely be making use of this. You are indeed my hero!

  16. Debi says:

    Wow, Bonne Marie, that is the most perfect seam EVER!! Thanks for sharing once again!

  17. Stacie says:

    Thank you so much for posting this tutorial. You make seaming look so easy :)

  18. Shelby says:

    oooh, I like it! I haven’t tried this seaming method as of yet, but will on the sweater that I’m working on now! Thank you for sharing such great information!!!

  19. Jane B. says:

    Thank you so much for the pictures and the excellent instructions. This post was particularly helpful to me, since my sleeve joins always look icky.

    But, I also have anna’s question, too. Can this method be used for set in sleeves, too?

  20. carolyn says:

    i use the slip stitch crochet on rounded, set in sleeves. but i use mattress stitch on raglans. since raglans have allthe descreases, i do those two stitches in. so you have the first stitches for seaming and the decreases draw your eye away from the seams anyway.

  21. Bonne Marie says:

    I like this better than mattress stitch because it’s tighter! :)

    When I try to use mattress stitch on a raglan, the looser nature of the seam spreads out when wearing.

    This one stays put – no spread…

  22. Karen says:

    To the person who asked about sewing the sleeves first: I’ve tried sewing the raglan seams first, then the body side seams, and the sleeve seams last…I guess that is unorthodox but when I did it I didn’t know better. The logic at the time was that I thought it would be easier to lay out the pieces flat for the raglan seaming. It seems to work just fine! And to Bonne Marie, thanks for the great tip, I will look forward to trying the slip st crochet method on the RIBBY CARDI that I have nearly finished! (well, as much as one can ‘look forward’ to seaming anyway.)

  23. Lynda says:

    Thanks for the TEKtalk on seaming sleeves. I really do appreciate your taking the time to answer my question. And with the pictures I believe I can do it now.

  24. Bonne Marie says:

    Seaming before or after side seams are sewn? The reason you want to join the body seams before the actual sleeve is set in is because it makes a better moving sleeve. The *circular* seam follows the arm movement better than one that runs from wrist to waist. That long seam tends to want to pull in a line instead of following the body/shoulder/arm which is more circular. A set-in sleeve also just hangs better.

    How did I find this out? I apprenticed with an Italian tailor when I was a young woman and learned how to make suits, etc. the Euro way. This is how I was taught to fit a sleeve for best range of movement.

    I use this slip-stitch seam for all types of sleeve seams – it works great! :)

  25. Karin says:

    Thanks for sharing this tip — I will try it on a cardigan that I have left laying in my knitting basket that needs to be sewn up!

  26. pam says:

    Can you recommend a good steamer ( I see you are using one,) for me?
    I have wanted one for some time now, and I Do have a steam iron but I feel a steamer would be far far better,,
    the reason I ask is that there are so many out there and I want it primarily for my knitting, tho I do know it will be used for many other things,,,
    got any ideas?
    thanks, been looking for one for about a year now
    I would even steam my socks, everything,,,,to get a really nice finished piece!
    Since I sew I do know the value of finishing any fabric properly and ( gasp!) have one knitting instructor that told me that this is a totally unecessary thing to do to finish off your garment, ( think she never worked with fabrics before and saw how they behave before and after,)
    I kindly smiled, realizing I felt differently and didnt want to further the discussion in classs,,,but,,, DID NOTtake her advice! (hey, I have been knitting for less than 3 years but been sewing a lifetime and knit fabric is STILL fabric) , at least that is the way I view it,,,am I wrong?? If so I dont mind being corrected in my thinking, I simply want to learn and improve.

    also been told when I tried to use the slip stitch to sew my seams that it created too heavy of a seam,,,in Jean Frost Jackets she claims she does this all the time
    I can do the mattress stitch as easily as the slip sitch, again,,any input on this?
    The more I learn the more comfortable I will be seaming! I also reinforce the top of the garment with a seried of chain stitches( very lightly )if I am not doing a 3 needle bind off,for reasons of sagging and helping the finished garment not to stretch ( esp COTTON!!))
    ,am I wrong here also? I dont want to view knitting the same as sewing but there are similarites in the constructions/finishing process that ( I think) crossover,,,
    please someone correct me if it is needed!!
    Happy knitting ,,,,

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