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Tips & Techniques > Snug Up a Gaping Neckline

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Posted by: Auntie Susan

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Posted on: 6/9/10 11:29 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 16 people   
Sometimes, despite careful planning, you may find yourself with a gaping neckline or armhole upon completing a garment. Of course, prior to cutting into your fabric, you should always at minimum tissue-fit the pattern to your body or dress form. At this stage you can pinch out any gaping areas (neckline, front or back armhole on sleeveless garments, etc.) I find that on a C-cup or larger, I always end up pinching about a half inch of tissue on deep v-necks, and a quarter inch on the front and back armhole. This can be done on the tissue, or fitting muslin if you are going this extra step.

The next stage of defense against stretching and gaping is to stay-stitch the neckline (or armhole), or even sew in stay-tape in these areas. Measure the length of stay-tape needed from the stitching line on the pattern piece, pin it to the garment, easing the fabric to the stay-tape, if necessary, and stitch just inside the seam line. Fusible stay-tape can also be used. On armholes, I find if I hold my finger in back of the pressure foot while staystitching, this helps ease in the curved areas a bit, and they will hug the body better. Staystitch just inside the seam line, from the shoulder to the underarm seam.

However, if the neckline or armholes still do not lay quite flat against the body, here is a trick I came across while making a deep v-neck evening gown. I noticed while beading the edge of the neckline, the stitching was also shortening the length of the seam line, therefore snugging it up a bit and making it lay flatter against the chest. I discovered that a simple line of running stitches, just on the inside of the lining, caused the same effect. To try this method, start with a double strand of thread. Secure the stitching with a few small backstitches at the point of the V, and sew small running stitches close to the edge of the seam line, just beside the understitching on the lining or facing. Continue up towards the shoulder, stopping before the shoulder seam. Pull the thread until the seam line is the correct length and secure with a few backstitches. Using a presscloth, press the neckline on the right side over a ham until the seam lies flat. A shot of steam with the iron held about an inch above the fabric, and then patting the fabric flat may also work. The same technique could also work on gaping armholes.

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Kathy in NM said... (6/10/10 8:37 PM) Reply
This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing!
Catbird said... (6/10/10 9:32 AM) Reply
This is an excellent tip -- thank you!
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