My son's tweedy jacket is seamed and almost ready to go! All I have to do is embroider the pocket and sew it on. The collar was finished last weekend, and was sewn onto the jacket using free-loop backstitch. I bet you're thinking, "but for heaven's sake, why would you do a fool thing like sew on a collar when you can just pick up stitches and knit on the collar in the round?"
When I first learned to knit, most of my garments were finished using backstitch because that's the way I was instructed to do it by the patterns I was using. I later saw the technique described in Katharina Buss' Big Book of Knitting
(pages 70-71), but I had taught myself how to do it just by following the dinky little illustration that comes in all Phildar catalogs. Now that I've attached neckbands, buttonbands and other facings onto garments using various methods - including knitting-on, grafting and backstitch - I've discovered that sewing on neckbands using backstitch is good for several things:
1) When you want the edge of the neckband to match perfectly with the cast-on rows of sleeves and hems. For example, did you do a tubular cast-on for double rib, but don't know how to bind it off using kitchener stitch for double rib? You can make the edge of your collar match with the hem of your sweater by doing the same cast-on for the collar, leaving a row of open stitches after you've worked the double rib, and then sewing these open stitches onto the garment using backstitch.
2) Stretchy collars! Collars are usually stretchier when sewn on this way because the edge of the neckband is the cast-on edge, not the binding-off edge, and this is good for children's sweaters. That's why I still sew on all the collars to my son's sweaters using backstitch. (You can take a look, if you like. Many of them are featured in the gallery of this site.)
3) Did your neckline edge come out like crap? Sewing on a collar covers it up, and we all know that knit-on collars don't usually do this.
4) When you don't have an appropriately-sized circular needle to knit on a collar in the round. The bulky sweater I did last fall
on size 5mm's has a turtleneck collar that was sewn on using backstitch because I didn't have a circular needle short enough to knit on a collar.
Most of all, it's a neat thing to do! Here are some snapshots of me sewing the collar (with its row of open stitches) onto my son's tweedy jacket using backstitch
. Doesn't that look like fun?