Sewing V-neckbands can be a bit of a challenge, but what if you also have to re-draft the neckline? Sometimes the neck-hole is too low, or too high. Then what? That perfectly drafted neckband is going to need some adjustments.
Here is my recently completed V-Neck T-shirt. I’ll leave a few details at the end if you want to check it out!
Luckily, there is a step-by-step process for re-drafting that v-neckline and I’m going to show you how. You will need your pattern, a measuring tape, pencil or pen and a calculator (I usually use google):
How to Re-Draft a V-Neckline
STEP 1: Find your bodice front pattern. Decide how you want to alter the neckline. I recommend keeping the same v-shape at the point, and just move it up or down. (Remember, when you sew the neckband in, you will lose the height of your seam allowance, but your will gain the height of your neckband.) If you’re using a multi-size pattern, you may be able to simply choose a different size at center front.
STEP 2: Smooth your new line at center front, into the existing neckline. This involves the least amount of work. To make it easy on yourself, do not change the line at or above the shoulder. If the shoulder line is untouched, you won’t have to alter the back neckline.
STEP 3: Go back to your new neckline front and draw in your seam line at the neckline (I marked 3/8″ in from the edge because that is my pattern’s seam allowance). Now, using a measuring tape, you will measure from the shoulder seam line, to center front at the neckline seam line. This is length ‘F’.
STEP 4: Do the same thing on your back pattern piece at the neckline. Measure from the center back, to the shoulder seam. This is length ‘B’.
STEP 5: Add F and B together:
F+B = 1/2 of the neck-hole circumference, or ‘C’.
STEP 6: Now, go to your v-neckband pattern piece. If your pattern piece tells you to put the neckband piece on the fold, you can move to step 7. If your pattern piece tells you to cut 1 piece NOT on the fold, you need to multiply ‘C’ by 2. This will give you the entire neckline circumference. Skip step 7 and move to step 8.
STEP 7: It’s time to calculate the v-neckband length. We want it to be 90% of the v-neckline circumference: ‘C’ x 0.9 = N
STEP 8: If your v-neckband pattern piece is not on the fold, you will calculate the neckband: 2C x 0.9 = N
STEP 9: The last step is to add your seam allowance to the v-neck point on your neckband. N + (seam allowance x 2) = total neckband length including seam allowance
Let’s say your neckband pattern piece is on the fold, and your total (‘N’) in Step 9 was 11 inches. Using the V-shape of your original pattern piece, draw a new neckband that measures 11 inches from the inside point of the pattern, to the fold line.
Follow your instructions to construct the neckband and insert it into the neckhole. Need some help? Here’s a very helpful video tutorial on inserting a v-neckband, by Hey June: Click Here.
Other V-Neck Things to Consider:
*The reason v-neckbands have a longer length than scoop necks or crew necks (which usually are calculated at 80-85% of the neckhole circumference) is that they don’t have to stretch as much to go over the head. After I sew the ‘V’ part of the neckband, I stretch the rest of the neckband and pin to fit the neck-hole. I usually pull the neckband tighter at the back neck, and pull a little less in the front of the bodice. This will help the neckband lay flat in the front and curve (and not gape) around the back neck.
When choosing a fabric for your neckband, make sure it has at least 40% stretch. Your bodice fabric could have less stretch, depending on your pattern requirements.
My Arenal Top V-Neck
Here is my latest V-Neck T-shirt, made with the Arenal Top pattern by Itch to Stitch. I wanted a simple workout top and this poly/lycra athletic jersey from The Fabric Fairy did not disappoint! (The Razzberry Marl is out of stock but here are the other colors.)
- I cut out a size 4 and made petite changes to the pattern.
- I made short sleeves and drafted a curved hemline.
- I did a narrow shoulder adjustment. I’m thinking next time I’ll leave the shoulders as-is. I needed the adjustment with a modal spandex but this poly spandex sure is snappy!
- I re-drafted the neckline on the v-neckband and I’m really pleased with it!
The fabric was a bit more slippery than swimsuit tricot. I’d recommend using a walking foot, but I was able to get by sewing the neckline without it. (I used a serger and coverstitch for the rest.)
I’ve got a new workout top / casual top to add to my spring wardrobe!
Wishing you happy sewing and a happy spring!