How to change the shape of a neckline and draft a matching facing.

How to draft a shaped neckline with a matching facing.
Shirt pictured is from the Surf and Sun outfit
Do you have a thrifted dress that only needs a simple re-fashion, 
or a pattern that you love but would like to make a little more flattering?
Maybe you’re just getting sick of basic kid’s clothes and want to jazz up your next sewing project. 
Adjusting the shape of the neckline is a simple way to completely change the look of any top or dress!
different neckline options
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the regular crew, scoop, halter, square, boat, sweetheart, and v-necklines from your shopping trips to the mall. But how familiar are you with the portrait, ballet, queen anne, sabrina, decolltage, and illusion styles? The technical name is usually a personal preference since round, crew, and jewel are all names for the same look, but there are dozens of options to choose from. And with a little practice you can design your neckline to look any way you’d like!
All you’ll need is a pattern, pencil, ruler and paper to get started!
(if you’re working from an existing garment simply trace the neck and shoulders, and use this as your pattern.)
Trace an existing pattern that you would like to change.
(If you plan to make an asymmetrical neckline, be sure to draw both sides of the center fold.)
trace the pattern you'd like to alter
Mark any pre-existing seam allowances.
mark the existing seam allowance

Draw a new neckline between the center front and the shoulder lines.
(Below are a few of the most common necklines, but you could make any shape you’d like.)
Pattern making - different types of necklines
Once you are happy with your shape, add a new line for seam allowance.
Add seam allowance to the new neckline
Trim away any excess paper and match the front and back pattern pieces along the shoulder seam. If you changed the length of the front seam, the back will also need to be adjusted. Mark the new seam length and seam allowance on the back pattern piece.
adjust the length of the shoulder seams
I chose to change the back neckline entirely, but you could easily keep the old neckline. 
Simply start at the center back and blend the old neckline into the new shoulder seam marking. 
(Don’t forget to add the necessary seam allowances.)
pattern drafting tutorial for necklines and facings

Now the pattern is finished and we’re ready to make the facings.

Draw a center front line on a new piece of paper.
Line your adjusted pattern up with the line and trace the shoulder and neckline.
mark the upper edge of the facing

Mark the seam allowance.
add seam allowance to the facing
Measure down the width you would like, and draw a bottom edge for your facing. I generally use between 1 1/2 – 2 inches.
(For wavy or scalloped facings, it’s much easier to make this bottom edge a straight line.)
mark the width of the facing
Repeat the process with the back pattern.
(Make sure to allow a small overlap for the placement of a zipper or button placket)
pattern drafting tutorial for necklines and facings
 Here is my final front pattern and facing…
pattern making tutorial for necklines and facings
…and the back pattern and facing.
pattern making tutorial for necklines and facings
Keep in mind that the same process can be used to make armhole facings as well, and

stop back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to sewing the facings to the actual garment.

I’ve done most of the basic necklines during all my years of sewing, 

but I think I’d like to try the scalloped neckline next.  

Are there any you’d like to try?

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11 thoughts on “How to change the shape of a neckline and draft a matching facing.

  1. You make it look so easy! I pinned this post for future reference, I'm sure I will need it someday.

    Thank you!
    (visiting from Naptime Crafters linky party)

    1. Hi Audrey. It really is easy! It does take a bit of patience to make everything line up properly at first, but once you've done it a few times, the adjustments can all be done in about 10 minutes.

  2. This is such good information to have!! Thanks for sharing it at Whatever Goes Wednesday. It was the most viewed link at last week's party, so we'll be featuring it at the party tomorrow. We hope you'll stop by and join the party again 🙂

  3. Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I combed the web to find out how to do this, and yours was the only one out there that helped. I made a test bodice, just to be 100% sure that it will turn out on my nice dress that I'm doing. And it turned out beautifully! Thanks so much 🙂

  4. How do you sew them? I mean, the sewing part is the hard part. I'm looking to change the neckline of a thrifted dress from a high round neck to sweetheart. There's an inner layer to the dress. Is there a way that I should sew the seams?

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