Perfect finishing techniques – part 7

In part seven of our masterclass series from Judy Furlong, we will look at the seventh stage of giving your knitting project a professional finish: Final Make Up.

Professional finish stage 7 pic2

Previously we looked at stages one to six of giving your knitting projects a perfect finish: 

1. Preparation

2. Tidy up 

3. Block 

4. Interim making up – false grafting version 1

5. Interim making up – false grafting version 2

6. Three-needle cast-off.


This normally involves setting in the sleeves and sewing the side and sleeve seams, with the order usually dictated by the pattern, or your own preference. Mattress stitch is likely to be the method of choice as it gives a very smooth, neat finish and because you are working from the RS, it is easy to match up those marker points we talked of earlier as well as details in the stitch pattern such as stripes – essential for getting a professional finish.

There are two versions of mattress stitch - the first is worked one full stitch in from the edge, while the second is worked through the centre of the edge stitch.

Mattress stitch step 1Mattress stitch – version 1

Step 1. Align pieces side by side and with needle threaded with yarn tail from cast-on, insert needle just above the cast-on edge of the other piece between the first two sts.

Step 2. As shown in the main image of this post, pick up the two bars formed between the edge st and the rest of the knitting on the first piece.

Mattress stitch step3Step 3. Insert needle back into the same place on the second piece and lift two bars.

Mattress stitch step4Step 4. Insert needle back into the same place on the first piece and lift two bars as before. Next insert needle back into the same place on the second piece and lift two bars (as before).

After a few sts, draw up yarn to pull seam together. Repeat the whole procedure (steps 1 to 4), going from side to side until the seam is complete.

The final post in this masterclass series will be stage 8 of perfect finishing techniques: Check, Neaten and Press.

Knitting expert Judy FurlongAbout our expert

Judy Furlong is a widely respected knitwear designer, known for the tailored finishing on her garments and her fine eye for detail. She regularly writes masterclasses and patterns for The Knitter.