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Back to Page 1How To Change the Necklines of Knit Tops

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Be sure to use a ballpoint needle for knit fabrics.

I use bobbin thread to match the shirt.

For the top thread I use polyester embroidery thread. You can use regular sewing thread, or cotton thread. Just be sure it is a durable thread. It can be a matching, contrasting, or varigated colors - it’s your choice.

Choose a stitch that is stretchy. Below are some examples of stretchy stitches. My favorite one is the loopy stitch at the top.It is very stretchy.


On some scrap knit fabric, try some samples of stitches available on your sewing machine. Experiment with different stitch widths and stitch lengths. Stretch them and see how they will hold up with repeated stretching.

II prefer to use a stitch width 4.5mm regardless of which stitch I select. My favorite is #35 at 4.5mm length and 4.5mm width.

Once you have decided which stitch and thread to use, try it out on the scrap that you cut off. Keep in mind that it won’t sew as well as the top because it wasn’t starched. I like to see the thread sewn on the fabric before sewing the top.


If it looks okay then you are ready to sew the top.

I like to start at the back neckline near the left shoulder seam.

I use my pressure foot edge as a guide to follow the edge of the fold of the fabric.








Once you get all the way around, over lap the stitching 1 repeat.

I like to leave thread tails long enough to pull the top thread to the back and tie them together. 




Once sewn, check the inside. There will probably be a few areas where the raw edge is uneven and curling. Trim these off closer to your stitching. Be careful not to clip your stiching. It doesn’t need to be that close.

Also, don’t worry if the neckline stretched out a little. If your top is 100% cotton it will shrink back into shape with a little steam or you can wait until it is washed and dried in the dryer.



This is a close up of the finished neckline.


Custom Neckline Variations

Contrasting Threads

Cover Hem Stitch Sewn with a Serger

Variegated Threads


I hope this lesson will help you add a more feminine look to your tops.

Laura Waterfield
Laura’s Sewing Studio
Copyright 2002

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