Change a turtleneck into a crew neck – another way 2

Changing the neckline shape is a very common clothing alteration.

In a previous post, I’ve shown how to do it with the use of binding tape. How you are going 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.

A sewing alteration tutorial - how to turn a turtleneck into a crew neck.

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.


A sewing alteration tutorial - how to turn a turtleneck into a crew neck.

Cut out the crew 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).

A sewing alteration tutorial - how to turn a turtleneck into a crew neck.

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.

A sewing alteration tutorial - how to turn a turtleneck into a crew neck.

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Related posts:

  1. How to change a turtleneck into a crew neck
  2. How to make a neckline smaller (or bigger)
  3. How to sew an elastic waistband
  4. How To Take In The Waist Of Jeans For A Better Fit
  5. How to repair ripped jeans


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