Modify Necklines
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Modifying a neckline

Just real quick items here for now... eventually may get illustrations.

How you would modify a square neckline to a "V" neckline?

A number of the patterns we are suggesting have a square neck... here are some quick steps to help you modify the patterns.

Tape your two front pieces together just to the neckline (that's piece 1 & 2) - be careful because you're going to want to untape them for use! And overlap the seam allowances for this. Don't worry that they won't tape around the bust curve you don't need to worry about it that far.

Now very lightly with a pencil (but make sure you can see it), draw a straight line that runs from the shoulder of piece 2 to the midline of piece 1. You may need to tape a piece of paper behind both pieces to fill in the gap from the square to the V.

Once you've got this, carefully separate piece 1 & 2 (leave any pieces of filler paper attached to their respective pieces!). this is your new pattern. REMEMBER, you just drew the sewing line, NOT the cutting line! You may want to leave a little bit of excess paper to draw on your seam allowance cutting line.

Oh, about the overlapped seam allowances: when you lay it out to cut the fabric, just extend your revised cutting lines to follow whatever the shape for the seam allowance was - you just didn't want it to mess up the lay of the finished V when you drew it.

Not really difficult to do. Just pieces and a little fussy.  Oh, and you'll of course need to make the same changes to any neckline facings they call for.

After you make these change, cut a muslin out (of at least the bodice area).  You want to check and make sure that the neck does not gap out.  If it does, take in a little dart on your fabric pieces.  It shouldn't be an adjustment of more than a fraction of an inch, but will let  the neckline sit cleaner.  Flatten that our, and try that as your new fabric piece.  Just fiddle with


My neckline is baggy and too low.  How do I fix my muslin?

Put the dress on and grab a partner (or a mannequin that fits you and you're the hands.)

If the neckline is baggy.   Check the shoulders.  Are the shoulders and sleeves in the right place????  Sometimes you just want to adjust the shoulders up a little bit to get the whole dress to sit better on you.  If you're already fit the bust, there's not going to be shoulder adjustment.   (BTW, these instructions, assume that it's just a little bit of wrinkles, not enough that you have to rework the whole shoulder and sleeve area.

It's funky, neckline is one of the first or last things that get played with, sometimes both.

So... once you're sure the rest of the pattern is where you want it. Grab some extra muslin, or brown bag if you need a bit of stiffness... and masking tape for either.

Before you add anything... masking tape down the little wrinkles. Next just add fabric up above the neck... tape it in.  If it doesn't end up smooth... tape it.  You want a flat surface.  Once you've got a taped flat surface... all the way up to the neck... and maybe on the back side as well as the front.  Don't just stop at the shoulder if you're doing a big adjustment.  (Pretty doesn't count.  Flat does.

Next, take a marker and draw the  neckline all the way up.  Make sure that you extend your seam lines from the original dress.

Take it off and lay down the pattern.  The two sides will not be identical... true it up by averaging the two sides and smoothing the curve.  Check that the chest part of the pattern is laying flat, or mostly flat.

Recut another muslin.... at least a waist up one. ( remember to transfer marking so that you realign the pieces smoothly.

Check neckline, bust, shoulders and SLEEVES!!!!!! Very occasionally things need readjusting.  Most times the averaging and smoothing just makes a better dress.


Pattern Modification & Tips | Fabric Techniques | Fabric Embellishment | All About Armor | Leather Working | Vambraces to Gloves | Weapon Tips | Shoe Tips | Metalwork and Crowns | Working with Clay | Casting Belt Buckle | Casting Small Props | Pipe Making Tips

LOTR Home | Up | Make a Muslin | After the Muslin | Fabric Nap | Estimate Fabric | Modify Necklines | Sizing Up a Pattern | Pattern Fitting Issues | Rolled Collar Pattern | Modify Sleeves | Making a Doll Muslin

This page was last updated 04/22/08