How to fix a gaping neckline after you’ve already sewn it.

Fix a gaping neckline after you've already sewn your bodice, and DON'T want to start over.So…. you’ve sewn up a dress or blouse bodice and you have some gaping at the neckline, ruining an otherwise lovely garment. SUCH a drag. And it just happened to me. This neckline above was gaping, but I fixed it, and will you show you how to do this quick fix, too.

There are two reasons that a neckline might gape.

1. The pattern was drafted incorrectly. When a pattern designer lowers a neckline more than about two inches from the original sloper design, the contour principle needs to be applied. Another reason why it’s a good idea to make a muslin when sewing with a commercial pattern. If you did have gaping in the muslin, you would make two small slashes in the patterns’ neckline, and close them about 1/2 inch each, to make the lowered neckline lie flat. That seems to be what I did wrong. I didn’t think I needed to adjust my neckline, because I only lowered it a tiny bit. I was wrong. You can’t see the problem in my muslin below. But I lowered the neckline a little after this, and that’s where my problem started. I forgot to add the darts.Fix a gaping neckline after you've already sewn your bodice, and DON"T want to start over.The other reason a neckline might gape, even after you’ve sewn a muslin is:

2. The fabric has stretched out during the sewing process. And that’s why stay stitching necklines is so important.

Either way, what do you do when you’ve done a lot of work on your dress and DON’T want to start over? If you have gaping in the back neckline, you can always just sew some darts into your bodice, but darts or a tuck on the front of the bodice? That won’t look very nice.

Fix a gaping neckline after you've already sewn your bodice, and DON'T want to start over.Take apart the neckline starting where the curve begins.

Unpick the under stitching, and then the seam.

Make two small darts in the lining. They should most likely be 1/2 inch each, but you can pin the darts onto yourself or your subject, while wearing the bodice, to be totally exact.

Sew the darts closed.

Make a small gathering stitch in the seam allowance of the fashion fabric in between the dart distance. The seam allowance should be small, if you’ve already trimmed it, and you may want to do this by hand. Pull the gathering stitch in to match the distance of the lining between the darts. It may pucker a little , so steam it as you go, to avoid puckers.

Pin the front to the lining and sew together on the original seam line. Steam it again to shrink any puckers.

Under stitch the front piece to the lining. It will feel ever so bulky, because you eased it into the smaller lining, but that’s OK. Check for puckers in the front, and redo if necessary.

Fix a gaping neckline after you've already sewn your bodice, and DON'T want to start over.Here is my fixed neckline after I removed one inch from the lining and eased the front piece into it. There is a tiny bit of blousiness around the bodice, but hopefully it won’t be noticeable when Lily wears it.

Share Button


    • Brenda says

      I think that some body types have this problem because I get neckline gape on commercial patterns and store bought clothing. Your suggestion works well on necklines that have a full lining and one could also opt to remove and shorten up a bias binding or lining. However a quicker fix I have used for garments that have a bias lining is to insert some thin elastic between the layers. It really improves the fit but doesn’t look at all obvious.