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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Cold Shoulder Top – Binding Technique

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Finally – I made time to stitch up my first ‘Cold Shoulder’ Top.  My first reaction in wearing it is that it feels like my bra straps are falling down.  Though I do think I like the ‘look’especially if one controls their bra straps.  The answer is LINGERIE STRAPS.  Check out the difference in the appearance….

with lingerie strap control

WITH lingerie strap control.

without braw lingerie straps

WithOUT lingerie strap control.

To accentuate the shoulder line, I decided on a bound finish using a dark purple knit fabric.  Believe it or not, both of these fabrics, I found at Jo-Ann’s.  It is a rayon/poly jersey knit.  The dark purple is a metallic knit, which, surprisingly doesn’t itch – but believe me, I tested it.


There is absolutely NO reason to purchase a new pattern to achieve this look!  It’s not even hard enough to ‘sell’ to you as a PDF either.  It’s this simple…. see the pattern below.  The main thing I learned in this cold shoulder look, is that if it is too big, too baggy, it looks silly.  Of the knit, I wanted it to hug my arm, and for the armscye to be cut back somewhat to expose the shoulder’s top curve – not just be a ‘hole’ in the shoulder.  As I covered in my initial Blog Post about Cold Shoulders HERE, this look can be achieved with either a set-in or a raglan sleeve.  For this top, I made use of my Terrific T Pattern (limited stock on sale right NOW for just $10) which features a set-in sleeve.  As you work with defining this for YOUR arm, just remember – you can cut out MORE, just not less!  Knowing I would be finishing it with a bound finish made this simple, as my cut line would be equal to the exact finished top edge of the sleeve.

pattern alteration

Finish with a Knit Binding

1.  Cut a crossgrain strip of the contrast fabric 2″ wide.  This was wider than I knew I would need, but I wanted to have plenty.  I stretched it a bit as I stitched it on, right sides together with a 3/8″ seam.

2. Trim to 1/4″ VERY CAREFULLY. Press binding UP, away from the sleeve.

3. Press binding down, around the upper edge. Stitch.  Due to the contrast band I found that stitching with a dark purple thread ON the binding, instead of trying to land white thread exactly in the ‘ditch’ – which, for some reason, I found difficult to do on this project.   The photo below shows stitching in the ditch, but it didn’t look good, so I ripped it out and changed to stitching right on the purple side of the seam.

4. CAREFULLY, trim excess binding close to stitching from the inside.

I finished the rounded V neckline in the exact same manner.

Stitch binding in place.


The next step is to insert the lower portion of the sleeve as usual.  When setting in the 2nd sleeve, be sure to compare and measure to make TRIPLE sure that your bound upper sleeve edge is placed exactly on the 2nd sleeve in the same position as it is on the first sleeve.

FIT to determine final ‘finish line’ of the upper armhole portion.  I felt that just finishing by turning under the amount of the seam allowance looked – not good.  So, I clipped into the shoulder seam, allowing me to turn it back substantially more at teh shoulder line to create a more ‘cold’, exposed shoulder look.  With dressmaker ham in hand I steamed in my final line on each shoulder and trimmed the excess down to the seam allowance depth.

Turning Under more at shoulder


This edge then ALSO needs to hug the body, therefore, I used my ‘clean finish’ using Lastin Clear Elastic.  See photos below.  HOWEVER, I didn’t get the elastic pulled tight enough (still ever so slight), so I’ll be ‘fixing’ that yet on this top so this edge hugs my shoulder even a tad more.  The edge of the Lastin is so nice and ‘hard’, that it is then easy to turn this edge in and the seam allowance under the arm towards the sleeve and zig zag topstitch all around. I did serge around the entire edge of the sleeve before zigzag stitching it down entirely.  I chose to zig zag this fabric since that is the edge ‘finish’ I’d used on the lowermost hemline. Complete directions on this Clean Finish Technique are found in my DVD:  Stretching Your Knit Sewing Know-How, also ON SALE right now.  


Add Lingerie Snaps

How do these work?  Simple.  Just unsnap – slip under and around your bra strap and re-snap.  I bought mine at Banash’s.

lingerie strap

Watch for (after vacation)

Curious about the hemline on my top?  You’ll have to wait for a NEW PDF publication with directions for the Twisted Hemline as shown on this garment.

Speaking of VACATION – it’s TIME!  PLUS that Granddaughter’s first birthday, so blogging will be on the ‘back burner’ for a couple of weeks!  I always appreciate your comments and sharing.


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