A quick guide to sweater seaming


End-to-end seams

End-to-end seams for when there is a sloping bind off.  These are best for patterns with a lot of textures, cables and some (but not always all) lace stitches

Grafting: creates a practically seamless join in the knitting that is flexible and nearly invisible. Its is not sturdy enough for a shoulder seam but is an excellent way to join knitting pieces end to end, like for neck bands.

3 Needle BO: This is really just the knitted BO but with 2 pieces of knitting worked together, it plays well with short row shaping, often the best choice for joining shoulders.

 Setting in Sleeves

 Start at the top and work down to the underarm: start with a perpendicular seam, then switch to mattress stitch

“Ease into place”: it means Stretching the cap, not the shoulder. This is an art not a science                

What if it still doesn’t fit? Add or subtract rows to cap shaping, usually after the initial decreases

 Side and arm seams

Mattress stitch is your best friend, its so easy and its practically invisible.


Mattress stitch on the RS

Slip stitch on WS

Google any one of these techniques and you’ll find more examples and tutorials then you’ll ever need but sometimes a good reference book is all you need. June Hemmons Hiatt’s  The Principles of Knitting is the ultimate, but for a quick referenceMonste Stanley’s book the Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook is my all time favorite, for all things related to seams, buttonholes, cast-ons and bind-offs… There are so many good references though if you have a favorite please share!

Seaming things together is one of those things that seems really intimidating when you’re new to it but once you ‘get’ it, its incredible how satisfying and EASY it really is.


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2 Responses to A quick guide to sweater seaming

  1. Terhi says:

    Thank you for posting about seaming! I have been trying to avoid seaming, and I think it is indeed because I feel like I don’t know how to do it, and in the past I’ve done some really bad work in seaming. Just enrolled to a Craftsy class about seaming knitwear (I think it’s a new class), watched the first lesson yesterday and so far I think it’s really really helpful. For me it’s really good to see how it’s done, and it looks so easy!

  2. Mary Anne says:

    If anyone has Sally Melville’s book “Knitting Experience: The Purl Stitch” on their shelf, I have found her pictures and directions for seaming very valuable. I just about always have it beside me when I am finishing a garment.