Neat Shoulder Seams: How to Knit the Three Needle Bind-Off

Controversial as it might be, I love seaming flat garments!

In fact, when I discovered that many knitters hate seaming, I was actually very surprised. There is so much to love about seamed garments: they have more structure, so they hang better, and they stay in good condition for longer.

The only thing that I used to dread when seaming garments was the shoulders. Whether I used mattress stitch or back stitch, they always looked lumpy and messy!

That was until I discovered the three needle bind-off.

The Three Needle Bind-Off for Neat Shoulder Seams

When combined with short row shoulders, this special bind-off makes exquisite shoulder seams. The seam is strong, but it's not remotely bulky. Even on very heavy sweaters, it will not stretch out. The best thing is, it's incredibly simple and much faster than the traditional method.

Three Needle Bind-Off Tutorial

Written Instructions on How to Work the Three Needle Bind-Off

  1. Knit the two pieces of fabric you want to seam together as directed, leaving all stitches live on the needle. You should have the same number of stitches on each needle.

  2. Put each needle holding the live stitches one in front of the other with the right sides of the knitted fabrics together.

  3. With a third needle, knit into the front of the first stitch on each needle and knit them together at the same time.

  4. Do the same on the next stitches. You should now have two stitches on your right-hand needle.

  5. Slip the first stitch on the right-hand needle over the second stitch, as you would if you were binding off normally.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to the end until you only have one stitch remaining.

  7. Break the yarn and pull the end through the final stitch.

Try it on Your Next Sweater Project

As I mentioned in the video, this is now the only technique I ever use for seaming shoulders. Even when the pattern doesn't suggest it, I convert my stepped shoulders into short row shoulders and bind them off using the three needle bind-off. It never fails me!

I use this technique in my much-anticipated Fragment T-Shirt pattern which will be launched on October 3rd 2017. If you would like a chance to try it out, this will be a great opportunity to do so!

What other techniques do you need help with?

I love to teach you clever techniques to upgrade your knitting! If there's something that you've been struggling with, let me know in the comments section below and if I can help you with it, I will make you a tutorial.