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Seaming


Once you’ve finished off the last strand of every piece of your garment, there’s one thing left to do in order to make those pieces into something you can wear: sewing them together. In knitting, this process is generally called “seaming,” and is accomplished with a yarn needle and the same yarn you used to make your project.

There are many ways to sew together knitted fabric, and each version serves a different purpose. For example, you use one kind of seaming to join adjacent lengths of stockinette stitch and another to connect vertical and horizontal pieces of the same fabric.

Before you pick up that needle and thread and start joining little stitches at the hip, you have to make sure you line them up correctly. To start, find the cast-on stitches on both sides. Pin them together with a straight pin or safety pin. Now count up ten rows on each side and pin the corresponding stitches together. Continue in this manner until you get to the top of the two pieces. With a project like a hat, which is worked all in one piece, the rows should line up exactly. If you end up with extra rows on one side at the top, go back and see where they might have sneaked in on the opposite side. When seaming two separate pieces, you may have to ease in extra rows if one piece happens to be slightly longer than the other.

how to begin seaming

seamingIf you have left a long tail from your cast-on row, you can use this strand to begin sewing. To make a neat join at the lower edge with no gap, use the technique shown here.

Thread the strand into a yarn needle. With the right sides of both pieces facing you, insert the yarn needle from back to front into the corner stitch of the piece without the tail. Making a figure eight with the yarn, insert the needle from back to front into the stitch with the cast-on tail. Tighten to close the gap.

vertical seam on stockinette stitch

The invisible vertical seam is worked from the right side and is used to join two edges row by row. It hides the uneven selvage stitches at the edge of a row and creates an invisible seam, making it appear that the knitting is continuous.

vertical seam on St st vertical seam on St st  

The finished vertical seam on stockinette stitch.

Insert the yarn needle under the horizontal bar between the first and second stitches. Insert the needle into the corresponding bar on the other piece. Continue alternating from side to side.  
vertical seam on ribbing
vertical seam on ribbing vertical seam on ribbing vertical seam on ribbing

Purl to Purl
When joining ribbing with a purl stitch at each edge, insert the yarn needle under the horizontal bar in the center of a knit stitch on each side in order to keep the pattern continuous.

Knit to Knit
When joining ribbing with a knit stitch at each edge, use the bottom loop of the purl stitch on one side and the top loop of the corresponding purl stitch on the other side.
Purl to Knit
When joining purl and knit stitch edges, skip the knit stitch and join two purl stitches as at left.
vertical seam on garter stitch

This invisible seam joins two edges row by row like vertical seaming on stockinette stitch. The alternating pattern of catching top and bottom loops of the stitches makes it so that only you can tell there's a join.

vertical seam on garter st    

Insert the yarn needle into the top loop on one side, then in the bottom loop of the corresponding stitch on the other side. Continue to alternate in this way.

   
horizontal seam on stockinette stitch

This seam is used to join two bound-off edges, such as shoulder seams, and is worked stitch by stitch. You must have the same number of stitches on each piece. Pull the yarn tight enough to hide the bound-off edges. The finished seam resembles a row of knit stitches.

horiz seam on St st horiz seam on St st  

The finished horizontal seam on stockinette stitch.

With the bound-off edges together, lined up stitch for stitch, insert the yarn needle under a stitch inside the bound-off edge of one side and then under the corresponding stitch on the other side.  
vertical to horizontal seam

This seam is used to join bound-off stitches to rows, as in sewing the top of a sleeve to an armhole edge. Since there are usually more rows per inch (2.5cm) than stitches, occasionally pick up two horizontal bars on the piece with rows for every stitch on the bound-off piece.

vertical to horizontal seam vertical to horizontal seam  

The finished vertical to horizontal seam on stockinette stitch.

Insert the yarn needle under a stitch inside the bound-off edge of the vertical piece. Insert the needle under one or two horizontal bars between the first and second stitches of the horizontal piece.  
slip stitch crochet seam

This method creates a visible, though very strong, seam. Use it when you don't mind a bulky join or are looking for an especially sturdy connection.

slip st crochet seam    

With the right sides together, insert the crochet hook through both thicknesses. Catch the yarn and draw a loop through. *Insert the hook again. Draw a loop through both thicknesses and the loop on the hook. Repeat from the *, keeping the stitches straight and even.

   
backstitch

This is a strong seam that is worked from the wrong side and creates a seam allowance. Because it is not worked at the edge of the fabric, it can be used to take in fullness. The seam allowance should not exceed 3/8"/1cm.

backstitch seam backstitch seam backstitch seam

The finished backstitch on stockinette stitch.

1. With the right sides of the pieces facing each other, secure the seam by taking the needle twice around the edges from back to front. Bring the needle up about ¼"/.5cm from where the yarn last emerged, as shown. 2. In one motion, insert the needle into the point where the yarn emerged from the previous stitch and back up approximately ¼"/.5cm ahead of the emerging yarn. Pull the yarn through. Repeat this step, keeping the stitches straight and even.

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