I have published several patterns that utilize sewn bind off around the neckline. While probably best known for it’s use in binding off sock cuffs, this bind off method is also a very handy one to know for baby sweaters. Babies, of course, have gigantic heads in comparison to the size of their necks, which presents some unique design challenges. While most baby sweater designs (both in the hand knitting world as well as in manufactured baby clothes) handle this fact by way of simply being cardigans or utilizing buttons or other fasteners on the shoulder, raglan edge, or back. Another way to handle it is to simply have a slightly wider neckline that is also nice and stretchy.

This is a nice way to work around the big head situation because in the long run it makes baby easier to dress (no buttons to fuss with), cuts down on any worry one might have of choking hazards, and makes for sweaters that don’t fall back on the traditional “button on the shoulder” design. Not to mention it means you don’t have to fuss with knitting button holes. All in all, a pretty good way to go.

It’s a really easy technique to learn and memorize, so if you haven’t tried it out before here are the simple step by step instructions.

Sewn Bind Off Tutorial

Step One:

Cut your yarn tail 3x longer than the knitting to be bound off, + a little extra


Step Two:

Insert your yarn needle into the next two stitches purlwise


And pull the yarn tail through until it is snug, but not too tight.


Step Three:

Insert your yarn needle into the next stitch knitwise…


And pop it off the knitting needle.


Repeat from Step Two

until all but the last stitch have been bound off. Then simply pop this last stitch off knitwise.


You’ll have a nice, stretchy bound off edge. PS: You don’t have to work this on a ribbed edge. It works great on stockinette, garter, whatever. It’s important to tug your yarn snug on each “purl through” for a consistent, non lumpy edge.

Sewn bind off tutorial.

And that’s it! A mantra to remember the steps is, “Purl through two, knit off one.” If you can remember that, you can remember this bind off.

I probably won’t totally be turning my back on button closures because, lets face it: they’re super cute. But using sewn bind off to create nice stretchy necks does open up a lot of great baby design possibilities. (Not to mention it’s a super useful technique to have in your pocket.)