Fixing a Neckline that is too big & gapes : 8 Solutions

I hate this. I really do. Most of the time it happens to a top that fits me properly. The neckline gapes! With a neckline that gapes,you have a dud of a dress in your hands. You know how important a neckline is in a dress.

A neckline that gapes is a sewist’s nightmare. When you think you have done everything perfect for the dress – all that time and effort to make it and then the neckline decides to gape!

Neckline which does not fit cannot be seen in isolation. The reason for this may be because of fitting problems somewhere else. It may be a problem with the fabric.It may be your carelessness in handling.

How to fix a too wide neckline

First, you should make sure that you do not give the neckline a chance to stay away from you. Yes, by following the old adage “Prevention is better than cure”.

Preventing the gaping of necklines

Select appropriate clothes

You see a model wearing a beautiful blouse on an online shop and order it then and there. And when you wear it, the neckline gapes. Result of buying clothes seen on a model who is 5 feet 11″ tall when you are 5 feet nothing.

When you are petite sized the probability of neckline gaping increases.So if there is a slight look of a wide neck on the clothing seen on a too tall model, stay away. If you are on the shorter side, the neckline will be wider on you

Prewashing

If you are sewing, Prewash fabrics before sewing to ensure that the fabric would not sag on you when you wash it after it is made into a garment.

Stay stitching

Most often when I have just finished binding the neckline of a dress, the neckline will do all it could to stay away.All that effort and time wasted , for want of a fitting neckline.

This is because the neckline has stretched after it is cut. This happens all too often when sewing with knits or thin weight fabric,which almost always stretches.I have had this happen on thin cotton fabrics as well. The way the neckline is cut crosswise is sure to make even the closely woven cloth go awry.

The solution is to make a line of stay stitching ( simply stitching close to the cut edge to stabilize the  edge) as soon as the neckline is cut. This ensures that neckline do not stretch with handling. 

Careful washing drying and pressing

Most knit fabrics stretch. I love its stretchiness. But this also causes it to stretch beyond shape sometimes.

You should do your best to prevent this stretching. In the washing machine the clothes undergo a lot of agitation and they twist with other clothes resulting in the necklines stretching beyond fit.

Don’t crowd the machine with too much clothes. Don’t hang the garment full of water by the neck of the garment.If possible hand wash these types of clothes or use the delicate cycle in the machine. Try not to use the full-on dryer.

Do not leave clothes tangled in the machine after washing. Take out as soon as the wash is over. If you see a stretching of the neckline, arrange it carefully and lay flat to dry.

Sewing a facing to finish the neckline

Use a facing to finish the neckline; the facing should be interfaced with a fusible web for more stability at the neckline.Binding a neckline is easy but when I do it at times it ends up making the neckline gape, which is why I prefer facing.

How to fix a neckline that is too big

What do you do if you have this garment you have bought from a shop or one you have made yourself – which has stretched by the neck.

Solution 1 Take in at the shoulder seam

You may have to loosen the seams at the shoulders and re-stitch the shoulder seams with the extra taken up there. If you have a collared shirt you will have to remove the collar and then restitch the shoulder seam

If the neckline gapes on the front and the back, take in from both sides. If only the front gapes, taken in only the front shoulder seam.

If the clothing you want to fix the neckline has a complicated construction at the neckline with facing, piping etc this solution maynot be easy to do.

Solution  2 Make the neckline smaller with gathering

This is a beautiful method which I have tried and found to be really neat

You can make the neckline smaller with a drawstring or elastic gathering.

Make a small casing a small distance down from the top edge of the neckline.

If it is a tshirt you can try to use the binding used on the neckline as this casing. Just make a hole on the binding to thread elastic. Insert a drawstring or a piece of very narrow(1/4inch) elastic through this casing. Gather by pulling the elastic or drawstring to whatever tightness you want and stitch the elastic together 

Solution 3 Stitch a stay tape for the neckline

This is used for neckline which is not too big. The stay tape refers to a rigid piece of fabric strip – it could be anything which doesnot stretch – you can use an interfacing piece .

You can also buy  fusible stabilizing tape which works really well for this.Never use bias cut fabric pieces

Make gathering running stitches along the neckline and gather the running stitches to the correct size of neckline you want. Now pin or baste stitch the stay tape to this and then finally stitch or fuse in place.The stay tape will fix the neckline in the position you want.

Solution 4 Add a fabric piece

This is a solution to fix a very deep V neckline. Add a small piece of extra fabric on the neckline.You can add lace for added charm. 

Solution 5 Cut a center seam on the back

For t-shirts or tops you can try this sewing hack – Cut a center seam and try to bring in the extra into the new seamline. You can add an inverted pleat  

Solution 6 Sew in Darts / pleats /tucks

Take out the facing / binding altogether. Make small darts on the neckline, taking in the extra. You may want to re-bind the neckline, especially if the binding has stretched beyond repair.

Solution 7 Try to shrink neckline

Fabric manipulation is an old trick done by many professional tailors to get the fabric to behave the way that want it to. Some fabric can be shrunk with adequate heat applied to it.Try on a similar fabric or an inconspicuous place to know the correct temperature settings.

No guarantee this would work – most times it wouldnot . But one should try, right?

Solution 8 Alter it into an off-shoulder style

offshoulder neckline

If nothing works and you donot want to discard the clothing, change the neckline to an off-shoulder style. Check out the different types of off-shoulder tops you can make.

offshoulder top

Comments 1

  1. Hi friend, thanks for everything fashion.Learnt this in school but it’s been a reminder/revision again.Grateful

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