Montlake Neckline Alternative

The neckline binding on my Greenwood pattern is still one of my favourite finishes for knit, I use it any chance I get.  I love how clean it looks and definitely has the RTW look that many sewists want out of their handmade garments.  As I was putting together the paper pattern for my Montlake pattern I realized I needed to add a couple pages so that I wasn’t forced to have blank pages within the pattern booklet.  So not only are the people who buy the paper pattern going to get this information but I also wanted to show all of you a Montlake neckline alternative.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to sew up my favourite tee with my favourite neckline finish.

Montlake Neckline Alternative by Straight Stitch Designs

Before I jump into this post I have to tell you a story about this fabric because it deserves to be told to the world, I still laugh to the point of tears every time I tell it.  So about 4 years ago my younger sister and I decided we wanted to make rag rugs for our houses.  Not like bathmat size we are talking full size rugs, because really how hard can it be to hook a rag rug.  We got our mats and hook tool and I picked up like 2 yards of yellow jersey thinking that should be more than enough.

After cutting the entire 2 yards into 4″x1.5″ rectangles I started hooking my rag rug.  I blew through that 2 yards really really fast and it only covered a tiny square of my rug.  After a bit of back and forth with my younger sister we figured out the math for how much fabric we would both need to finish the rugs.  Now mind you at this point we are maybe $25 into this project, so no real investment, but we had our hearts set on rag rugs so we couldn’t just walk away.

With the math done we calculated we would both need about 32 yards of fabric to finish the rugs.  So we did the logical thing and each bought 32 yards of jersey!  I got yellow and my sister got black, while my yellow is great I think she got the more versatile fabric.  Now picture me 7 or 8 months pregnant lugging two rolls of fabric and a toddler into the apartment we were living at the time.  It was a comedy show.

My sister was out the gate from the start and cut up like 4 or 5 yards of the fabric into little rectangles, I was busy you know having a baby and such.  Very quickly we realized we might have misjudged just how much time this rug was going to take, no one has time for a project like that.  So here we are 4 years later and I am still trying to use up my yellow jersey, I think I have probably 20 yards left!  It is great fabric but you can only have so many pieces of clothing out of the same fabric!  So don’t be surprised if 5 years from now I am still sewing clothes out of this fabric.

Montlake Neckline Alternative by Straight Stitch Designs

Okay, back to the post, try not to laugh too hard and my silly mistake.

The binding method I used takes some getting used to, but once you do it a few times it makes total sense.  I also have a video here of me actually demonstrating the method.

I will give you the run through here of the steps to achieve this look.

  1.  Before cutting your neckband piece make sure to increase the width of the neckband from the 1 1/2″ it is currently to 2 1/4″.
  2. Follow the steps in the pattern for creating your neckband tube.
  3. Sew your binding onto the WRONG side of the shirt at the neckline, with raw edges matching.  Sew this seam with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  4. Press your seam allowance towards the band.
  5. Fold your binding from the wrong side of the tee over the neckline, encasing your seam allowance.  Make sure you don’t fold the seam allowance towards the shirt.
  6. Topstitch the binding in place.

And there you have a Montlake neckline alternative that can actually be used on any knit tee or tank pattern by following the step above.

Montlake Neckline Alternative by Straight Stitch Designs



  1. grammymurry says:

    It does look like a perfect binding – will have to try it . Love that shade of yellow – looks lovely on you!! Great story!! Coming to Seattle this weekend – hope it stops raining for a couple of days – at least it beats snow!!!

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