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 Sewing the seams
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Seriously Hooked

772 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2006 :  6:14:22 PM  Show Profile Send donnawatk a Private Message
Hi I read on the forums that you are not suppose to put the right sides together like you do when you sew. What or How do you get smooth seams. I'm making a baby sweather and would like it to have smooth seams. Thank You


Permanent Resident

2176 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2006 :  6:34:38 PM  Show Profile Send COgirl a Private Message
You use a mattress stitch to sew the seams. This is done by putting the right side next to each other and then stitching away. Here's a link to show you how to do it.

It makes a beautiful seam.
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Diva Ree
Gabber Extraordinaire

537 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2006 :  7:35:03 PM  Show Profile Send Diva Ree a Private Message
If you don't have a book on "how to knit" handy, sometimes pattern books and most magazines have a section towards the back that explains how to do a few seaming techniques.
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Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2006 :  3:16:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message
I am kind of embarrassed to add my piece here as I have been knitting for what seems like forever. But I must admit that I have never used mattress stitch on seams. I taught myself to sew seams in quite a different way, but the end result is usually pretty good.

I have tried to use the mattress stitch many times but could never work out how to actually hold the knitting or keep it together while carrying out the stitching. Diagrams do not help at all here! Could someone please give a link to photos of someone using the mattress stitch or perhaps give instructions on how they hold the work?


Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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Permanent Resident

6331 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2006 :  4:37:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message
If you have access to the first Stitch n beach book there is a section on seaming and it explains the mattress stitch in such a way that you will be able to follow it. It talks you right through it and the sketches are excellent. You will even be able to attach the sleeves professionally.

I always did a backstitch on seams. Once I got this book I figured out mattress stitch and now my seams are flat and beautifu! I also recommend this book for kitchener stitch.

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The Irish Ewe
Permanent Resident

1052 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  08:39:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit The Irish Ewe's Homepage Send The Irish Ewe a Private Message
As with casting on, binding off, and everything else in knitting, there are at least 16 gazillon ways to seam.

Well, maybe a few less, but you can whip, mattress, or backstitch. You can also seam by cathing two of the horizontal bars on the right side of each piece you are seaming. Makes an invisable seam, but does leave a large selvage on the wrong side.

You best bet is to make up a whole boat load of swatches, and practice each seaming method until you find what works for each section.

The Irish Ewe
Norway, Maine
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Gabber Extraordinaire

373 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  5:35:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit alliwenk's Homepage Send alliwenk a Private Message
Mattress stitch, while not the only way to seam, is simply the best for nearly all side seams. It is nearly invisible on any pattern, leaves almost no bulk, and it has a bit of stretch unlike backstitching or overcasting.

To answer KathyR, I pin my pieces wrong sides facing together every few inches while seaming. Mattress basically matches up stitch for stitch so it is difficult to screw it up :). Also, I seam from the extremities (bottom side or wrist) toward the underarm so that if I am off a stitch or two I can fudge where it can't be seen.

I highly recommend Janet Szabo's "The 'I Hate to Finish Sweaters" Guide to Sweater Finishing," or, for the more visual learners, Leslye Solomon's "Sweater Finishing" vhs tape. I bought both from patternworks and they were reasonably priced. Janet Szabo's booklet is full of wonderful info and diagrams.
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Chatty Knitter

189 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2006 :  5:48:13 PM  Show Profile Send Erinplus3 a Private Message
I bought "The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques" last year and it has changed the way my sweaters look. Much improved, and they looked pretty good before that. I will never part with this book. I never understood how important it was to have a good reference on finishing, but after buying this book, I get it now.
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