The Design Process – Finishing

Posted on | June 28, 2007 | 4 Comments

I felt so bad about my design process project sadly sitting on the couch, all hidden away. So I did something about it. I got out the tapestry needle and started sewing!

And now we enter into one of our last installments on the making of the garment. My next topics will briefly touch on the pattern writing process. I say briefly because a lot of it is the same as making up the first sample, just repeating it how ever many times for the total amount of sizes. Since this project has been put on hold for a few months, I’m so thankful that I wrote down everything I did here! It will make it much quicker to piece all of my info together. Anywho, let’s get to it!


When I put up my survey for neoknits a few months back, it was interesting to see that a lot of your “perfect patterns” would have more detailed finishing instructions. Finishing a sweater seems to be the other boogyman of the knitting world, right behind math. Yet, it’s the most important part of any project. You can knit the most beautiful thing in the world, ripping back for every mistake, but if you don’t take the time and care to seam it up properly, disaster can strike even the most unsuspecting garment! With the right tools, reference books, and a little bit of patience you’ll be on your way to finishing your sweaters without tears in no time.

When getting ready to seam up a project, after everything is blocked properly of course, I line up the two seams and secure them every 2″ or so with removable stitch holders. You could probably even use knitters safety pins. This makes it easier to handle the pieces and insures you won’t have 2″ extra on one of the seams.


From there I carefully mattress stitch the two seams together between the edge stitch and the next stitch. This is where edge stitches come in handy on garments with a special stitch design. Lace can be very hard to seam if you don’t leave 1 or more plain stitches at each edge. You’ll be cursing much less if you follow that simple rule when knitting up each section.

Can you find the seam?

Finishing encompasses so much more than just seaming though. It really includes cast on edges, bound off edge, button bands, pockets – anything that is added onto the garment after the main pieces are finished. Most of areas I covered in other previous installments. There is much more I can cover, but that would take hours! If you want to know more, you can pick up a good finishing book to help in your time of need.

I know there are several finishing books out now, but my personal favorite is The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman. It has very clear pictures and it also gives Pros and Cons for using each technique. If you struggle with finishing your sweaters and don’t like the results you are getting I would highly suggest buying a finishing book for your library. It just might be a sweater saver!

Now the sweater just needs some buttons and it will be all ready to go! Sorry to make you wait for finished pics, but we need to develop that patience for finishing your projects somehow! Every little bit helps ;)

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  • Angela

    Thanks for the link–I decided that book would make a good addition to my knitting library.

    Nice seam!

  • Leslie

    That’s one beautiful seam, and I love the lace pattern. One of my favorites.

  • Connie

    I can’t wait to see the finished product, Melissa! And you’re absolutely right, finishing can really make or break a sweater.

  • Melissa

    wow… I hope I can be as good as you at seaming (and knitting for that matter) as you are someday!!