Friday, March 02, 2007

Raising a Neckline

Alright, Poppets, I promised you a tutorial, and here you go! This is a fast and dirty one, hence the reason it's living here on this blog and not at The Sewing Divas. But it works, and here's the how.

If you ever run into a problem where the neckline of your bodice is too low, you can raise it without too much difficulty. Let's take for example the Cosmopolitan Dress that I just finished. The mock-wrap neckline is rather low for some tastes, and if you have any kind of scar on your chest, it will bare it for all to see.

Raising this neckline to a more modest height is not terribly difficult. First, let's have a look at the original pattern piece:

You can see that it scoops along the bustline, crossing at the Center Front. Let's take a look at it on the dress form:

I want to raise it about 2 inches, so you see less of the sternum. Once I determine how much I want to raise it, I go back to the cutting table and get out the tracing paper. I trace off the original pattern piece onto a large sheet of tracing paper. I then mark the Center Front, in this case with a green Sharpie. I have a gridded cutting mat, so I line up my CF on this and mark a spot two inches above the original cutting line:

Using my curved ruler, I draw a new neckline (in Orange) to the marking at the CF. I then taper from the center front to the original side cutting line. You may want to experiment with the curvature of the new neckline from the CF to the side seam, to see where you prefer the wrap to hit on your body.

Here's a picture of the new bodice piece, side-by-side with the original. The tracing paper I have curls up at the edges, so the side seams look different, but they are exactly the same length.

Once you have the bodice adjusted, you need to make the exact same adjustments to the facings. In the interest of time, I didn't do that here, but make a note that it will be necessary in faced neckline applications.

Sew the garment together now, just as you normally would. Because you have a change of slope in the CF of your bodice, you will need to clip the neckline or facings at the CF to get it to lie smoothly:

Once your bodice is done, try it on to see that it is high enough for your tastes. You can see here the finished muslin.

As you see, it's showing significantly less skin than the original, Depending on your fabric, you may also want to tack the CFs together at the neckline.

There, that wasn't too hard, was it?
Happy sewing!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ann. The tip on clipping the neckline at the CF was something I wouldn't have thought of, but makes perfect sense now that you mention it.


Judy Williment said...

Great tutorial (as expected, naturally), but I'm left with one question - who's Michelle?

Gorgeous Things said...

Ah, I wondered when someone would ask that question, Judy! "Shelley" came to me well used and loved. She was a student's form. I was longingly looking for a Wolf form, but didn't want to pay the $700 for a new one. Then Terri Tipps of PACC got a bunch of used ones. So I jumped on it and bought Shelley. She's a size 6; I'm a size 10, but I pad her when I need to, and I use her for design and draping. And I use her for motivation - I want to not have to pad her some day! :)

candyo said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Robin said...

Thank you for the tutorial!!! This is a problem I've run into a few times and your tutorial is very helpful.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm 56 and small busted and those low cut tops just aren't making it. Can you also reduce some of the fullness that way? I've had problems with this in knits with a lot of pleating or gathering on top.