Changing the neckline shape is a very common clothing alteration. We get to make it every now and then. In a previous post, I’ve shown how to do it with the use of a binding tape. What way you are going to chose to alter the neck, depends largely on the garment you are dealing with. In this sewing tutorial, I am going to show you a different way to turn a turtleneck into a crew neck.
We’ve worked on a client’s dress. The turtleneck here is an extension of the front and the back bodice. There is no separate collar piece or binding to remove. Here is how I’ve lowered the neckline to a crew neck.
Here is the video:
Remove the turtleneck
First, we took measure on the client how low we would like the neckline to go (image 1). And we’ve used a pin as a mark. Another thing we often do is to use chalk and kind of ”draw” the neckline if it has to have some specific shape. But in this example, we just want to lower the neck, so I didn’t have to draw it.
I removed the top buttons that would stand in my way (image 2). Then, we are going to remove the turtleneck. I want to cut it out so it doesn’t interrupt the shaping of the neckline. First I cut it out high, just to get it out of the way. I would do the same if there is a separate turtleneck piece. l am going to give the actual shape of the neckline later. I fold the dress in half so that the shape I am going to get is even (image 3).
What I have to do is just cut it out, starting at the end of the shoulder seam. If the turtleneck is sewn with a separate piece, cut out the piece. In our case, we don’t have a seam so we can draw a neckline before we cut, or even use another pattern so it is less intimidating.
I start cutting where the end of the shoulder would be and make a natural curve (image 4). I don’t want to make the shoulders too narrow, so I watch out for that.
Shape the new neckline
Once we’ve removed the turtleneck (image 5), we need to cut out the actual shape of the neckline. What I like to do is
Pin together to prevent twisting
One-half of the neck opening should mirror the other precisely. So before we cut, we are going to secure and pin both sides together everywhere around the neck.
So, I start at the shoulder seams and pin them together. Then, I pin at the center back and at the center front (image 6). I am going to put a second pin at the front to make sure it doesn’t twist. Then, I’m going to pin together at the beginning of the side seams, right under the armhole (image 7). I’ve put a second pin a bit lower to make sure everything stays in place.
I‘ve pinned all the way along the shoulder seam (image 8) so let’s do it and double check if everything stays together before we cut.
Cut out the screw neck
Let’s cut. I lay the dress on the table as it is pinned by half and cut out the new neckline.
You can use a chalk to draw the new neckline (image 9). I prefer a sliver of soup because it vanishes really easy with the iron steam. I keep in mind that I need to leave some seam allowance. So, according to the type of hemming you prefer, leave the appropriate hem allowance. I left ¾ of an inch for a coverstitch hem, so it is now safe to remove the marking pin and cut (image 10).
Always finish at the end of the shoulder seam, so you don’t cut out of the shoulder width (image 11). I am going to remove all other pins and see what I’ve made (image 12).
It looks good. It’s even on both sides. I am happy with the result and the last thing left for me to do is make the hem.
Hem the neckline
I make the hem on the coverstitch machine. You can make it as you prefer, just make sure that the seam tolerates the intensive stretching of the neck opening.
That’s the result I got – a nice, even neckline.
If you have any questions or want to share or add something to this tutorial, drop me a line below.