When choosing a seam, it is important to consider how it will function in a garment, not just how easy it is to work; for example, shoulder, armhole and pocket seams must be strong enough to stand up to a great deal of stress. Some seaming techniques consume stitches at the sides of a garment
When choosing a seam, it is important to consider how it will function in a garment, not just how easy it is to work; for example, shoulder, armhole and pocket seams must be strong enough to stand up to a great deal of stress. Some seaming techniques consume stitches at the sides of a garment which can possibly affect how it will fit while other techniques make it easy to match stripes and pattern repeats on the right side of the work. There are also seams attractive enough to be used as a design feature while others must be hidden on the wrong side of the work. Here’s a list of the most popular seams and how to use them in your projects:
The easiest seam to work is undoubtedly the overcasting or whip stitch method. This seam is very sturdy and is perfect for beginners, but it isn’t attractive, so it is always worked on the wrong side. Because of this, it can be more difficult to match elements on the right side. Also, overcasting should be avoided on lace or other projects where the unattractive seam could show through the fabric.
This more advanced technique is always worked with the right side of the work facing which makes it easy to match pattern repeats, stripes or other design elements accurately. This type of seam is usually worked one stitch in from the edge of the piece, leaving a row of selvedge stitches on the wrong side. If sacrificing these stitches to the selvedge will adversely affect overall fit of a garment, it may be necessary to knit the pieces with an extra stitch added to each edge. This is my favorite type of seam because it is completely invisible on the right side.
Crochet Slip Stitch
Slip stitch worked with a crochet hook creates an attractive seam which is strong enough to support armholes and shoulders. It has a tendency to be tight, but you can prevent this problem by working a chain between each slip stitch. This technique is similar to seams used on many commercially manufactured sweaters. Though usually worked on the wrong side, it can be used as a design element on the right side. It is also the easiest seam to remove if you make a mistake.
The back stitch is a great workhorse seam. Always worked on the wrong side, it is easy to execute and creates a strong join that is especially good for armholes and hoods. Grafting is a sewing technique that mimics a row of knitting. This is an advanced skill which requires practice, but when done correctly it is completely invisible to the eye. Lastly, the three needle bind off will enable you to join two pieces of knitting without seaming at all.
Angelia Robinson is a knit and crochet designer residing in Los Angeles whose playful yet elegant designs explore the interplay of shape, texture, and style. Do you have a knitting question for Angelia? Write us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include “Ask a Knitter” in the subject line.