Faced with the pieces of a knitted jumper, knitters sometimes falter at the final hurdle -- sewing it all together. Finishing your jumper may take three or four hours, but patience and care will be rewarded with an appearance matching the image on the knitting pattern. Dampening and shaping, or blocking, each piece is an essential step before sewing, as this corrects small discrepancies in size and shape. Follow with sewing that matches the lines of each piece to the other, to produce a garment worthy of your efforts.
Place a towel on a flat surface and cover it with a clean sheet. Lay out the individual pieces of your jumper on the sheet. Starting at the corners, pin each piece to the sheet and towel. Measure them with a tape measure and shape them gently so that they match the measurements specified in your knitting pattern.
Spray the pinned pieces of your sweater with water, or hold a steam iron just above the pieces. Make sure each piece gets damp. Spray angora, mohair, cotton and linen yarn. Steam or spray wool, wool blends, cashmere, alpaca and camel hair.
Leave the blocked pieces until entirely dry. This may take 24 hours or more. Remove pins.
Sew loosely, or baste, then sew a final seam on each area of your jumper before moving onto the next. Start at the shoulder seams, then set the arms into the shoulders. Keep the sweater inside out and sew the side seams. Finish off by sewing the sleeve seams.
Baste the pieces of your jumper together before finishing them with a final seam. Thread a darning needle with a length of yarn about 46 cm (18 inches) long. Holding two seams together, sew loose stitches between 1 and 2.5 cms (1/2 and 1 inch) long along the length of each seam, joining each seam to the other. Baste seams about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pieces.
Use the same yarn as you used to knit the jumper to sew the final seams. For horizontal seams, push the needle under the two bars of a knitted stitch at the edge of one piece, and draw the yarn through. Match the bars of the corresponding knitted stitch on the edge of the other piece, as if matching wallpaper. Push the needle under then draw the yarn through. Join vertical pieces of sweater by matching the knots in each column and sewing together the yarn between each knot. Pull until firm but not tight. Sewing tension should feel the same as the knitted tension.
For jumpers with points on the hems, pin each point out when blocking. For areas that will be turned back when the jumper is worn, such as the cuffs or neck, sew seams on the outside.
Keep hands away from steam to avoid scalding. Don't use pins with plastic heads when blocking as heat from an iron can melt them. Don't press a hot iron down on knitted material. This flattens it and distorts its shape.
Tips and warnings
- For jumpers with points on the hems, pin each point out when blocking.
- For areas that will be turned back when the jumper is worn, such as the cuffs or neck, sew seams on the outside.
- Keep hands away from steam to avoid scalding.
- Don't use pins with plastic heads when blocking as heat from an iron can melt them.
- Don't press a hot iron down on knitted material. This flattens it and distorts its shape.