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Message Board > Pattern Modifications, Design Changes & Pattern Drafting > creating a flattering neckline

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creating a flattering neckline
any tips?
meleliza
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meleliza  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/13/12 4:42 PM

Lately I haven't been completely satisfied with necklines right out of the packet, especially a scoop or boat neck. I find things don't always look the same on me as they do the models, which makes sense, really, as I'm sure there's a lot of variation in shoulder width, neck shape, collarbones, etc. I often lower a V or round out a square, but I think some really spectacular garments get the neck just right. I feel like I'm missing the key element to drafting a flattering shape. Does anyone have a good resource or tip?

------
Melanie

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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Date: 8/13/12 5:48 PM

I don't know that I have a good tip, but I share your dissatisfaction with scoop neck or boat neck neckline - for me, at any rate. V-necks work well for me, or a rounded or scooped neckline that is not too wide at the shoulders.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but for years (decades, even!) I did not really understand that I have narrow shoulders - narrow as compared to the "standard" body measurements used for pattern development and RTW. Years ago, when I was young and slim, I was convinced that my rib cage must be unusually large, and that was why garments that fit in the shoulders did not fit well around my bust line. HA! (Yes, I can hear you all laughing.)

Now I know to pay close attention to how much fabric there is on the length of the shoulder seam, from the shoulder point to the edge of the neckline. I look at some of the models and wonder "Where does she put her bra strap, fer-cryin-out-loud? There's only 2-inches of coverage at the shoulder."

In Fantastic Fit for Every Body Gale Hazen talks about this phenomena where a woman becomes obsessed with a particular body flaw that does not even exist for her. Ms. Hazen said she saw this phenomena repeated many times amongst her clients. An example she gave in the book was a woman whose mother and sister had always chided/teased her about her large "tush". So the woman ruthlessly altered everything she sewed to account for this figure flaw -- and nothing fit correctly. Ms. Hazen finally convinced her that, no, that part of her anatomy was NOT unusually large at all.

It took me YEARS to understand that my shoulders were the problem I should be addressing. (Duh! Smacks self on forehead.)

CMC

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild  Friend of PR
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In reply to meleliza <<
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Date: 8/13/12 7:38 PM

It might be that you aren't meant for a scoop or boatneck. It took me many years to realize I'm not a "boatneck sort of gal". For one thing, my shoulders roll too far forward and I look really strange in them. However, a scoop neck is good for me because of the rolled shoulders and a hollow chest; although scoops don't always look good on some people. It might even be that a scoop would look good on you if it were raised a little; like maybe 1" higher. I look horrible in a sweetheart neckline because my girls are low, and I have a ski slope leading to them.

The variations on the models is intentional; a model with a shoulder spanse like mine wouldn't look good if she were wearing a boatneck; pattern companies know this.

Finally, as to missing a key element to draft a flattering shape, sometimes raising or lowering the neckline changes everything. It isn't that your choice is poor; it's because you don't know yet. It would be worth experimenting with different cutouts for you. For example, cut out a scoop neck, a jewel neck, a round neck, a square neck, a sweetheart neck, a V neck and a boat neck out of muslin or even tracing paper and hold each up to your body while facing a mirror until you can get an idea as to which suits you best.

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"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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simplystitches
simplystitches
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Date: 8/13/12 9:31 PM

I agree with Miss Fairchild in that you need to experiment to find the necklines shapes and depths that are right for you.

Again the same as Miss Fairchild I know that I look better in scoops and vee's and even further there is a limit as to how high those can sit. A regular t shirt or jewel neckline is horrid on me!

This post on Inside Out Style blog uses a scientific approach to finding the ideal high and low necklines based on your measurements. I'm happy to say after using her measurements I was spot on with my necklines.

Debbie

marymary86
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Date: 8/13/12 10:11 PM

Another source that has helped me is Jan Larkey's book "Flatter Your Figure".

If I let my hair wave and wear a Peter Pan collar, I look just like Aunt Bea from Mayberry. But if I blow my hair straight and wear a button down shirt (collar with points) I look modern (and I thinner too I swear!)

Her book has lots of tips about necklines and collars (not just tips for making your body look better but tips to flatter your face too). It's OOP I think but I found a copy on the web.

Also - go snoop shopping. If you find a neckline you like, measure it!! And snap a picture while you're in the dressing room (or heck - just buy it so you can rub it off!)

------
Mary


meleliza
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meleliza  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/14/12 9:42 AM

Yes, I definitely need to experiement and shop around. I frequently lower necklines. I need lower ones to open up my face and break up The vast expanse of chest. I plan to start looking at the ones that flatter and copying them. However, I think the problem is that often the necklines in patterns simply aren't that nicely done. I certainly can wear a scoop neck. I'm not totally sure about boat. I feel like there are probably some secrets about ratio of shoulder and skin showing, degree of scoop, relationship to the collar bone that good designers know. Kwim?

Don't know when I'll have a chance to go shopping for myself, but I will go through my closet looking for some nice necklines. Maybe I'll get the sitter one afternoon to head downtown to check out my favorite places.

------
Melanie

simplystitches
simplystitches
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In reply to meleliza <<
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Date: 8/14/12 12:35 PM

Go back and check out the link I put in. She SHOWS you how to measure to figure out the correct necklines based on your body. it's really quite simple to do.

Debbie

meleliza
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meleliza  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/14/12 11:07 PM

Yes! That is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to find. Of course portrait art would know these things. I should have been able to come up with that myself really, but thank you so much for sharing. Now I can figure out where to end that neckline next time.

So if you know where the neckline should hit, can you use that to figure out how to draw the perfect v or scoop or boat? I'm sure there's a dressmaker trick for that somewhere too.

------
Melanie

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