April 18, 2012

How to add a V-neck to a t-shirt

V-Neck Restyle
Hey readers! Today I'm showing you how to make a nice and pointy v-neck for all your t-shirting needs. You can use this method to alter an existing t-shirt, like I'm doing here, or use it on a pattern that calls for a v-neck, or use it as an alternative neckline option for a pattern. Either way the shirt will be almost completely assembled when we add the v-neck.

I'm using a plain white shirt that I like. White goes with everything, nice and comfy, yada yada. One problem - it's a crew neck. Not all crew necks annoy me but this one does because I feel like it's constantly choking me so I never wear the shirt! Well, there's an easy fix.

I bought a small amount of white rib knit to match the shirt. You don't need to use rib knit. You can use the same fabric as your shirt fabric if you can't find rib knit to match. The difference between rib knit and regular t-shirt jersey is that rib is stretchier along the crossgrain than jersey which is why it is often used for collars and cuffs.

Mark new necklineCut new neckline

First I cut my new neckline shape out. I marked a dot for the point and connected it to the shoulder seams with a ruler. If you're using a v-neck t-shirt pattern obviously this part is already done for you.

If you want you can stay stitch the neckline along the stitching line. I'm using 1/4" seam allowances because I'll be using my serger.

Stay stitch, clip

If not, you'll still need to reinforce your center point by stay stitching a couple inches from the point on either side, pivoting at the point.

Carefully clip the center point to the stitching line but don't cut through the stitch.

Now to prepare the collar - if you are using a pattern it's easy because you just follow the directions for the length of your collar piece. If you're altering like me, measure the neckline opening. Mine is 26".

Gaping neckline

Now we have to consider some design theory - if you were to wear your shirt as it is now you'll notice that the unfinished neckline is a little loose and gaping. This is because the neck is cut on a curve/angle and we know that fabric cut on the bias is extra stretchy. This is no different. We want our collar to wrangle in that floppy, stretchy neckline so it sits nice and flat without being too loose or puckering.

If we cut our collar the same length as our neck opening then the collar will still be loose. If we cut it too short it won't be able to stretch enough to accommodate the big neck opening. I find the sweet spot is to cut a length of collar somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 the length of the neck opening depending on the stretch of your fabric. If you are using regular, not-so-stretchy jersey go for 3/4. I'm using rib knit which is stretchier than jersey so I'm going closer to 2/3.

Cutting Collar

I want my collar to have a width of 3/4" with 1/4" seam allowances. Easy - that's 1". Because the collar is folded over I'll double that amount - 2" wide by 18" long, which is about 2/3 of 26" (my neck opening measurement) plus seam allowances.

Stitch center back

Cut out your collar and stitch the short ends together, right sides facing. This will be your center back.

Collar Loop

Next fold it over, wrong sides facing, matching long edges and press. Now you've got a collar loop.

Angled stitching makes point

Fold the loop in half with the center back at one end. The other end will be the center front V. Stitch at an angle on this end like the photo above. In the picture the fold is on top and raw edges are on bottom. Open up the collar and press the V like in the photos below. Now you have a nice point!

Pointy collarInside pointy Collar

If you want to tack down that extra collar fabric on the inside you can stitch in the ditch of the center front seam.

Matching points

Now to match up the points - remember that tiny clip we made? Spread open the clip and use the stay stitching as a guide to match up the seam lines of the shirt and collar point.

Pinning collar to neckline

Pin the collar to the neck opening matching center back and center front. With right sides together evenly stretch the collar to fit the neck opening and pin. This may take a time to get it balanced. If you have trouble you can pin and sew one half of the collar at a time (like the pic above).

V-Neck insideAfter being serged
Starting at the point stitch all the way around ending up at the other side of the point. I'm using a serger but you could easily use a zig zag stitch for the same effect. Also, if this is your first time trying this technique - use a zig zag stitch rather than serger. It's much easier to seam rip zig zag stitches if you make a mistake!

Tie and cut off your tails if you're using a serger.

Finished V-Neck

Press the collar away from the shirt with seam allowances towards the shirt. Almost done! Using a zig zag, twin needle, or a straight stitch if your v-neck is wide enough to fit over your head without needing to stretch, stitch down the seam allowances to the shirt fabric. This prevents the collar from flipping out and exposing the seam and creates a nice finish. I broke my twin needle so I'm just doing a single straight stitch.

Now I have a much more wearable shirt! And you, too, can create nice pointy v-necks on your shirts!

28 comments:

  1. I'm so impressed! What a great tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  2. What a fabulous tutorial Dixie. I have such trouble with V-necks. I will try yours out this weekend (altering an existing t-shirt)! Thanks again!

    Nothy Lane
    www.aftagley.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! I hope it works for you ;)

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  3. This is really useful and a great tutorial so thank you for sharing!

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  4. Wow, that's impressive! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  5. Thank you so much for this! I absolutely love v-neck tops. V-neck shirts, tunic, etc! Love them! I don't like crew necks much..I always find that I have to pull the neck down!

    :)

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    1. I have that exact same problem with crew necks! Like it just never sits right on my neck and shoulders.

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  6. Fab! Thanks for sharing this!

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  7. This is fantastic! Following you from Sew Weekly.

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    1. Thanks LeighAnn, welcome to the blog! ;)

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  8. Can't wait to try this. Thanks Dixie!

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  9. Seems like you could make the 'V' seam (center front) by taking your unfolded 2x18" collar band, matching the short ends, sewing a triangular seam on that edge, and trimming. Then when you fold the whole thing you'd have only one seam on your collar and it'd be enclosed? Just thinking it out in my head but I'm pretty sure it would work.

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  10. What do you mean by "cut a length of collar"? I'm sorry, I've never sewn before.

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    1. Cut a length of the fabric that you are using to make the neck piece, I would think--I can't find that part.

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  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you...I hate crew neck T's and with your great instructions ill be fixing alot of my shirts.

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  12. This is great! I have a friend who told me she thinks a V neck is more flattering to her body-type, and was wishing that I could help her reconfigure a shirt we have wear for school. I searched and found this helpful piece. I am going to try it tonight! Thanks

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  13. Just did this. Super easy (with the tutorial, of course!). I have always shied away from crew neck tees b/c they are so unflattering. So excited, I can now alter my crew necks to be v-necks.

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  14. i don't get where the collar is cut from. Please help!

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    1. I used white rib knit but you could use plain jersey, too. I bought the fabric from Joann.

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  15. all what i can say about this shirt its just perfect, i like it and ill visit here regularly

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  16. Sis, I adore you ... this methods really amazing.

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  17. This part confuses me; not sure why: "Now to match up the points - remember that tiny clip we made? Spread open the clip and use the stay stitching as a guide to match up the seam lines of the shirt and collar point."

    I don't get exactly what's being matched up, pinned, and sewn?

    Help!

    Otherwise, thanks for the great tutorial and pictures!

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  18. Thanks for the great tutorial! I just used this to make 2 v neck shirts from a crew neck pattern with much success.

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  19. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I purchased some Chinese silk long underwear for my husband to wear under his dress shirts for work because the air conditioning is so cold there. I couldn't find any long-sleeved ones with V-necks, so I ordered a crew neck and hoped I'd find a way to make it into a V-neck. I bought a very soft tricot knit for the ribbing, knowing I wouldn't find silk, and it worked beautifully. Looks like I purchased it that way! I couldn't have done it without your help!

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  20. Thank you, this was really easy to follow, even for a jersey novice. And here is the result!

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  21. Cindy Macris-ClaussJune 18, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Awesome instructions! I've always tried to use the original collar and it always resulted in puckering - probably because it was too short. Followed your instructions exactly and my shirt looks awesome! Thank you

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