Ahhh, the last bit of work to finish my tunic sweater is here — sewing the side seams, underarm, and sleeve seams, then weaving in ends — finishing! Some people dread finishing. I am kind of one of those people. I am not nearly as good at it as I am at knitting, and if it is done poorly, I think the whole sweater looks bad. It is really the seaming that is hard for me; weaving in ends is not too bad, especially if they fall at the edges where there is a little waste area to sew them into. It’s trickier to disguise them right in the middle of the fabric, so I always try to change yarns at the edges. Anything to make life simpler.
Seaming or joining is getting a little simpler because I have learned and am practicing the mattress stitch. Before, I just sewed my pieces together any which way, and it looked like it. Not smooth, not pretty, amateur. Now with the mattress stitch my sweaters look a lot better.
In a nutshell, you put the pieces to be seamed right side up, edges butted together. Working from the bottom up, you pick up under a bar of a stitch from side to side, going back and forth. This makes a kind of zigzag stitch that when pulled snug is almost a straight length of yarn along the seam. You can adjust the fabric of the sweater along this length of yarn, so the seam doesn’t end up too tight. The really awesome thing though is if you do it right it is almost invisible from the right side. The trick is where you pick up the little bars on the edges; if you pick up in a straight line on both sides, when you snug up the sewing yarn the two sides magically pull together to look like one knitted stitch right next to another knitted stitch. And there is a little bit of selvedge on the wrong side to weave ends into. Where I need more practice is in being able to ‘see’ the bars so I pick up in a straight line. Knitting reference books describe this stitch, and you can find descriptions with a Google search, and I can’t say it enough, YouTube is amazingly helpful.
Seaming and weaving can easily be a whole day’s work, so take your time, don’t rush it, and your seams will be beautiful.