There are so many different types of knit fabrics out there. Not all of them have the exact same properties. Some are more stretchy, some are less stretchy. It is impossible to craft a pattern with a neck hole measurement that works perfectly for all of them. Because of this, I wanted to dive in a little deeper into how the neck binding is calculated and how you can make it work for your knits!
So the standard method for finishing knit neck holes and arm holes is to cut a binding piece smaller than the actual neck hole. The reason the binding is cut smaller, is so the neck line lays nicely and isn’t all baggy. This helps it lay against the body instead of hanging. The average calculation to get the binding length is the neck hole length times .85 or .9 (85-90%). This is a great calculation and works on most all of the knits. It can, however, give it a different fit, depending on the weight of the knit. If you are using a heavier knit, it will most likely give it a tighter fit, if it is a light weight or really stretchy knit, it will give it a slightly looser fit. However, there are some knits that it may not work on at all. Maybe you have a knit that isn’t very stretchy and it will create bunching on the neck band. Maybe your knit is so stretchy it leaves it wavy.
Below are two examples for you to see. When a neckband is stretched too tight, the seam line will be bunched. When it is not sewn tight enough, the seam line will look ok, but the edge of the binding will look wavy.
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