N couture Knittinq Techniques are translated from dressmaking The result more professionally finishe

think through all aspects of the garment before beginning and plan the edges accordingly. Various selvages should be swatched with the main stitch pattern and their behavior analyzed. Above all, the selvage must not interfere with the main stitch pattern.

A selvage must clearly distinguish itself from the main stitch pattern.

Gauge is as crucial to the choice of selvage as the main stitch pattern. The selvage must match the main stitch pattern in row gauge, otherwise it will distort the edge.

Selvages should measure 1-1.25cm when used for seaming and may be lightly steamed open on the inside.

To reinforce points of stress, use at least a %7l.25cm selvage and tack down inside.

Selvage stitches must be added to pattern stitches, and stitch counts for cast-on and bind-off rows need to be adjusted.

All shaping should be executed within the main stitch pattern, not the selvage.

Selvages arc not included in schematics or garment measurements.

Additional selvage stitches need nor he added to stitch patterns that already incorporate an edge stitch. Here, the edge stitch itself may be treated as a selvage and additional pattern stitches added to compensate for lost width. If the edge stitch creates too much bulk when turned to the inside for seaming or stitch pick-up, a multiple-stitch selvage that lies flat may be preferred.


  • To produce a firm edge that can be used to stabilize stitch patterns and set gauge.
  • To provide a clear line for seaming and stitch pick-up.
  • Rows are readily identifiable and countable, and an accurate rows-to-stitches-picked-up ratio is easily achieved.
  • Yarn and color changes can be worked at the outer edge of the selvage rather than at the edge of the garment piece.
  • Selvages clearly delineate the garment piece, making precise measurements possible.
  • Garment pieces may be blocked using wires or pins in the selvages without distorting the edges of the main stitch pattern.
  • To reinforce points of stress.
  • For knitters whose gauge tends to vary at the edges of their knitting, selvages provide the stitches needed to maintain gauge across the pattern stitch.

Understanding the structure and inherent characteristics of a selvage is essential to its successful use. When swatching, look at how different selvage stitches behave with respect to the main stitch pattern and choose the one that exhibits the characteristics Reeded for its particular role.

One-stitch selvages:

Even It a garment is to be worked without full selvages, it is advisable to add a single stitc h along the non-horizontal edges of garment pieces—not only to facilitate construction, but to ensure no actual width is lost when seaming. When working garter, seed or moss stitch, a single-stitch selvage is often sufficient. A version of a slip-stitch selvage works especially well with these stitches. If a single-stitch selvage is to be used with a complex stitch pattern, a simple stockinette selvage is a good match, while a seed-stitch selvage pairs well with slip-stitch, mosaic, and knit-in-the-row-below patterns.

Two-stitch selvages:

These are well suited to vertical seaming in mattress stitch and using the running threads between the first or last pattern stitch and the selvage stitch next to it. This selvage is usually achieved by working the selvage stitches next to the main pattern as knit stitches, creating a column of seed stitch, while the outer stitches are worked in one of several ways, depending upon how flat the selvage needs to he. Three-stitch selvages:

When the selvage must lie flat under the adjacent garment piece, adding a column of purl stitches between the main stitch pattern and a flat 2-stitch selvage will force the selvage to turn out along the edge of the garment piece rather than fold back under it. This is crucial when the selvage is to be used tor stitch pick-up rather than seaming.

The stitches below are excellent starting points, btit do not hesitate to experiment beyond these suggestions.

Twisted Slip Stitch (g<x>d for stockinette):

  • RS): wyif, si selvage st at beg of row as if to p tbl; *work across main st pat*; k selvage st at end of row
  • WS): wyib, si selvage st at beg of row as if to k, **; p selvage st at end of row Slip Seed Stitch:
  • RS): wyib, si st as if to k tbl;**; kl tbl (WS): same as RS

Penultimate Chain Selvage

  • excellent for vertical seaming at a fine gauge or when bulk is not consequential): (RS): wyib, si st as if to k, pi; **; pi, kl
  • WS): wyib, si st as if to k tbl, k2; **; k3 Slipped Double Garter
  • excellent for vertical seaming).
  • RS): with yib, si st as if to k tbl, kl; **; k2
  • WS): same as RS

Purl Double Garter

(excellent for stitch pick-up to work adjacent garment piece) (RS): vvyib, si st as if the ktbl, kl, pi;**; pi, k2 (WS): wyib, si st as if the ktbl, k2;**; k3 A note about selvages and ribs

Ribs, when used as borders and cuffs, do not do well with selvages. If a rib border is to be seamed, work on a number of stitches that is one more than the required count, making sure that the two end stitches match (both knits or both purls). Use mattress stitch to seam and work in the loops (rather than the running threads) of the two end stitches. The result is an invisible seam with no break in the continuity of the ribbing. —

Slipped Double Garter

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