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How to Raise, Lower, or Change the Neckline on a Pattern

Have you ever found a pattern you love, but you're just not into the neckline? Change it! This class will give you all the tools to draft your dream neckline.

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Crew Necks

When you are working from a lower neckline to a higher neckline, you need to reverse engineer the shaping. This is because a pattern maker has built in shaping into that lower neckline. Something with a lower neckline will typically have a flatter shoulder slope, and something with a higher neckline will have more of a sloped shoulder line. This was drafted to account for the delta between you high point shoulder and your shoulder point.

To transform a low neckline into a crew neck, we’ll essentially work backward. It is safe to assume that when drafting a scoop neckline, a patternmaker has accounted for the hollows of the shoulder slope. This is true for the Orlando T-shirt that I am using as an example. So here is how you create a crew neckline working with the assumption that your hollows are already considered.

Step 01: Remove the seam allowance at the shoulder seam and neckline on both the front and back pieces.

Step 02: Then, determine the desired width and depth of your neckline. The easiest way to do this is to hold the cut pattern piece against your body. Align the center front of the pattern piece with the centerline of your body and align the shoulder seams along your shoulders. Use a ruler to measure how far you would like to extend the center front shoulder at the neckline.

Here, I am extending the center front by 5” and the shoulder by 1 1/2”.

Step 03: Lay your pattern piece on your working surface and tape a piece of pattern paper underneath the existing neckline.

Use a ruler to extend the shoulder and neckline to the desired point, which is 5” at the center front and 1 1/2” at the shoulder.

Extend the neckline at the shoulder by 1/4”, then redraw the shoulder seam.

To avoid creating an unintentional V-neck, you’ll want to square off the center front neckline. To do this, use a clear ruler to make the centermost portion of your neckline perpendicular to the center front fold line. About 1/2” should do the trick. Then, redraw the neckline with a French curve.

Step 04: Add seam allowance to the front neckline and shoulder seam then cut your pattern piece.

Step 05: Now let’s draft the back neckline. Tape some pattern paper below the neckline of the back piece then extend the shoulder seam by the same increment as the front.

Use a french curve to draw the back neckline, making sure to square off the center back neckline.

Again, extend the neckline by 1/4” to account for the higher neckline, then redraw the shoulder seam.

Step 06: Add seam allowance then cut it all out.

If you need any help, be sure to share in the Community.

How to Raise, Lower, or Change the Neckline on a Pattern

In addition to your regular sewing kit, here’s what you’ll need for this class:


  • Rulers: A clear ruler and curved rulers of your choice

  • Flexible tape measure

  • Pattern paper (a roll or large sheets)

  • A sharp pencil and an eraser

  • Clear tape

Have questions? Ask over in the Community.

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