Sewing a decorative neckline band on knit tops

February 14, 2017 22 Comments

Sewing a decorative neckline band on knit tops

February 14, 2017 22 Comments

Twill tape neckline tutorial

For this knit top ribbon neckline sewing tutorial you’ll need:

  • A narrow decorative ribbon. It should be slightly wider then the seam allowance (I recommend a 1 cm width (3/8 inches). Twill tape, grosgrain ribbon or any type of stable woven decorative ribbon will work fine. I used a woven rustic ribbon with a pretty yarn embroidery.
  • Needle and thread for basting
  • Your regular sewing machine and presser foot


1. Determine the length of the band

To make the sewing as easy as possible I recommend that the band runs from the edges of the shoulder seam allowance, i.e don’t sew over the seam allowance as this is a bulky situation that might not yield the prettiest results. The tape should be the length of the back neckline seam allowance plus 1 cm width (3/8 inches) extra to fold in on each side. You don’t need to baste like I did to measure.

Twill tape neckline tutorial Twill tape neckline tutorial

2. Fold and press in the edges of the ribbon

I pressed the edges with an iron to make sure the edges would lie flat

Twill tape neckline tutorial

3. Baste the ribbon to the seam allowance

This is my special little trick to ensure a nice seam finishing. With this method you will only have one visible seam on the outside of the garment, hence minimizing the risk for uneven or even ugly stitching.

Twill tape neckline tutorial

Twill tape neckline tutorial

4. Stitch the ribbon to the seam allowance

I used white thread here to match the white stitching on the ribbon and blue thread in the bobbin for no other reason than laziness. The bobbin colour won’t matter here as it will be hidden.

Twill tape neckline tutorial

5. Attach the ribbon to the neckline by sewing along the lower edge of the ribbon

Here you’ll need to have a thread in the bobbin that matches the colour of the garment. I also used the same colour thread in the needle, since I wanted to make sure it looked nice on the outside too (sometimes the needle thread can show through a tiny bit if the settings are a bit off).  Use a straight stitch and sew carefully with the edges of the band as your guide. If you did a good job with step 4, getting an even seam here will be a breeze!

Twill tape neckline tutorial Twill tape neckline tutorial

6. In the corners, turn and sew over the edges of the band

Twill tape neckline tutorial

7. The finished covered neckline on the inside

This being my first time using this particular method, I’m more than happy with the result. And if I’d do it again, I’m sure I could make the edges look even better.

Twill tape neckline tutorial

On the outside. As you can see with this method you’ll get a neat result without much prior practise which is a very gratifying experience!

Twill tape neckline tutorial

So this was my tutorial on how to add a decorative tape or ribbon to a neckline on a cardigan, t-shirt or any type of knit top that isn’t super duper stretchy.

If you want to see an alternative way to attach twill tape to a t-shirt neckline using two rows of topstitching instead, check out  the Baste and Gathers tutorial.

Attaching twill tape to a t-shirt or cardigan neckline: A sewing tutorial for knits on how to  cover the seam allowance on knit tops.

Johanna Lundström

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  • Karen February 14, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    This is great and such clear instructions. Thank you. Things like this make such a difference K xXx

    • Johanna February 15, 2017 at 7:56 am

      You’re welcome! Happy to hear you found helpful

  • Jane M February 14, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Clever, great detail. I have a stash load of ribbons so thanks for another great way to use them.

    • Johanna February 15, 2017 at 7:58 am

      I love collecting decorative ribbons too! So it’s nice to discover more uses for them

  • Esther February 14, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Toppen! Snart börjar jag sy en sweatshirt, saa det blir mycket användbart. Tack!

    • Johanna February 15, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Tror den här tekniken är perfekt för sweatshirts då de tygerna ofta är lite mer stabila och dä är den här tekniken ännu enklare att få till snyggt!

  • sonja February 15, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Great idea to make a beautiful finish.

    • Johanna February 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Yes it really is, adding these little details is one of the things I love about sewing!

  • Summerflies February 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Great tutorial, I love the cute ribbon. Your tip to get only one line of stitching is very clever.

    • Johanna February 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Yes was so happy when I figured out that I only needed one, I’ve tried two rows before and struggled getting the neat finish I want.

  • Patricia February 24, 2017 at 5:33 am

    What is wrong with your serger stitching? It should not be all loopy like that. I love the technique as it is so secret and playful.

    • Johanna February 24, 2017 at 6:31 am

      It’s a different serger seam called stretch overlock on my Pfaff where the looper thread covers both sides, hence the loops. Not available on all sergers I think. That said my old Pfaff was producing less stellar seams in general lately so I just upgraded to a Babylock

  • Hachi March 15, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I always added the twill tape using a cover stitch machine (and just hoped for the best). Never even imagined attaching the tape to the seam allowance first. That’s really a neat finish. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Johanna March 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      That is one of the ways I’ve tried too before, but I need to practice more to get that working. I found this way give me much more control and less room for errors. The idea just came to me, don’t think it is a standard. But what works, works 🙂

  • Anita March 16, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Hy finaly I found a block, wich is really helpful. All your tutorials are simply what I needed to accomplish my knowledge. Thank you very much indeed. Anita from Austria

    • Johanna March 16, 2018 at 10:36 am

      You are welcome Anita, it makes me very happy to hear that you found my tutorials useful!

  • Rukodelka March 24, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Lovely tutorial, thanks fór sharing! I was reading with my mouth open.

  • Diane March 24, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Nicely done! Thank you for the clear instructions. It looks easy the way you’ve shown it.

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  • Bibi June 6, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Johanna, this is just genius. So simple, yet so genius! Thank you!

    • Johanna June 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

      😊That makes me very happy to hear, it truly is really simple and elevates the look of the garment!

  • Janice Kleier September 5, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Like Bibi said: genius. Thanks so much!

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