Tips & Tutorials: Phoney Seams
I was recently asked about Phoney Seams. I don't have a video. That would be too much techno stuff for me. But here is a blow by blow photo essay on this wonderful technique by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Check out her books, they are terrific.
A phoney seam gives you a fold at the side of your "in the round" garment. It also gives you some support for the sides of a garment. They are always optional but really fun to do.
Using a swatch I had around, here's how it goes: I'm assuming a garment knit in the round from the bottom up to the underarm. The seam involves dropping a stitch down your fabric and then hooking it back up again at the following prescribed rate.
First, work around to where the phoney seam should be (at the underarm). Drop the side seam stitch off your needle.

Photo 1

Drop the stitch down to just above the bottom border of ribbing (or whatever border treatment you did at the bottom - do not take it down to the cast on row).

Insert your crochet hook into the bottom loop.

Pull the first 2 ladders through the loop on the hook.

The 2 ladders form the loop on the hook now.

Pull 1 ladder through the loops on the hook. (Please ignore the wool that's there in the photo, it's not involved in the phoney seam.)

Continue in this fashion, pulling 2 ladders through, pulling 1 ladder through, right up to the top and then put the final loop (stitch) back onto the needle or safety pin it to the fabric if it is to be used for the underarm seam stitch of the sleeve.

Ta, da - a phoney seam. You will see that it is slightly raised and causes a fold. It's a cool technique and makes a garment look like it has seams when it doesn't. If you are hand washing your garment and laying out to dry it gives you the fold you need to lay it out. I just love it. Elizabeth Zimmermann was an amazing and imaginative knitter and if you haven't taken a look at her books you might want to. She was a genius of construction and thinking outside the box.


OK lesson over.
- Deb