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September 8, 2016

Tutorial: How to narrow shoulders & alter a neckline

NarrowShoulderTutorial

The Concord T-Shirt is designed with a deep wide neckline, but if that’s not your style – or you have narrow shoulders – no worries, there are some simple adjustments you can make! Today I’m going to take you through two adjustments that will get you the fit you’re after. These techniques will work on most other simple tops or dresses, too.

How to change a t-shirt neckline

First up, here’s how you make the neckline narrower on the Concord T-Shirt. In fact, it’s barely a tutorial! You simply draw in what you want, like so:

 

 

 

NarrowShoulderTutorial-2 NarrowShoulderTutorial-3

The key thing is to make sure that the neckline is correct at the center front: for the scoop and high necks, the line needs to be perpendicular to the center front as it hits the center front so that it ends up in a curve; for the V-neck, it’s the opposite: make sure it ends at an angle to get a sharp V.

If you extend the shoulders as shown in the example above, make sure you make that adjustment on the back piece too.

Now, you need to alter the neckband. To do that, draw in the seam allowance of your pattern pieces around the neckline (the front and back). Then, measure them. To determine the length of your neckband, multiply that number by 0.8 (depending on your preference and jersey stretch you can go from anything to 0.75 to 0.85, but 0.8 usually works for me). Adjust the pattern piece to that length (it will now be shorter).

How to narrow the shoulders

If the shoulders of the Concord T-shirt are too wide for you (the sleeve is starting down your arm rather than at the corner of your shoulder), then you can also narrow the shoulders.

  1. Make a muslin, and pinch out the extra fabric in the shoulders you want to remove. Measure that length.
  2. Draw in the seam allowance on your front pattern piece.

NarrowShoulderTutorial-4

2. Draw a line from the armhole to the shoulder, and then a second one going from the top corner of the shoulder to the first line. Don’t worry about them being precise – as long as they look like this picture, it’s fine. NarrowShoulderTutorial-5

3. Cut the first line carefully, starting at the shoulder and ending at the seam allowance. Then, make a tiny snip on the other side of the seam allowance, leaving a little hinge of paper. Carefully pivot the piece to the right, overlapping the paper at the shoulder by the amount you need to remove.

NarrowShoulderTutorial-6

4. Cut the second line, starting at the inside of the piece and ending at the seam allowance. Again, snip the line within the seam allowance and leave a hinge of paper. Swing the small triangle up to make the shoulder seam straight again. NarrowShoulderTutorial-7

5. Place a new piece of tracing paper on top of the pattern, and trace the new piece. NarrowShoulderTutorial-8

And that’s it! Simply repeat with the back piece. The armhole is the same length as before, and in a knit, you won’t have to alter the sleeve (in a woven, more adjustments might be needed). NarrowShoulderTutorial-9

Let me know if you have any questions about these techniques!

Cashmerette

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8 Responses to Tutorial: How to narrow shoulders & alter a neckline

  1. wakeymakes September 8, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    Thank you. Seeing it like this makes it so logical and really useful K xXx

  2. Syreeta Briana September 8, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Yay! Perfect timing. I was literally looking up this adjustment last night 🙂

  3. Monique September 9, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    So clear and you make it look so simple. Question: is the 0.8 also applyable if I work in centimetres instead of inches?

  4. KatCanSew September 17, 2016 at 11:45 am #

    Hey Jenny, thanks for this tutorial. I recently did a narrow shoulder ajustment on my dress version of the Concord Tee. I did this by pivoting the pattern pieces (based on Zieman) but I think I ended up with a similar result as the one you described. However, this has left me with quite a lot of excess fabric at the arm scye around the high bust. The bust itself fits fine. I was wondering if you have any tips on what to do about that? I sewed the smallest size (12) with C/D bust. Thanks a lot for a lovely pattern!

  5. Iceni March 10, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    I bought a lovely dress which fits everywhere except the neck. It is too wide and so the shoulders come over the arm which has sleeves.
    Any way to adjust this?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Jenny Rushmore March 10, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

      I’m afraid I’m not really an expert on altering already made clothes. The only thing I’d know to do is unpick the whole thing, re-cut the pieces and re-sew but that might be more work than you want to do.

  6. Iceni March 11, 2017 at 1:11 am #

    Thanks for the reply Jenny! But you are right, way too much work. I am not expert enough to do that either. 🙂

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