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Sewing Q&A
Marla Stefanelli
February 2003 Sewing Q&A Index
From Our February 2003 Issue

I would like to alter a crew-neck sweatshirt so it has a V neck. How do I do that?
Laura D.,

You can easily alter the neckline using a lapped ribbing method. The hardest part might be finding ribbing that matches. If you can't find a perfect match, use a lighter or darker ribbing in the same color family, or choose a contrasting color. If the sweatshirt is too long, cut off the lower edge band and use it as the ribbing. To re-hem the shirt, zigzag or serge the lower edge, turn it up 5/8" and top-stitch in place to finish.
Women's necklines should lap right over left and men's necklines left over right. Follow the directions below for women's garments and reverse them for men's.
  • Remove the original collar by removing the stitching.
  • Fold the sweatshirt in half to find the center front; mark with a fabric marker. Measure down from the neck edge along the center front about 5" for women (6" for men) and make a mark. Lay the sweatshirt flat and align a ruler with the mark and the neck edge. Draw a connecting line with the marker; repeat for the other side (1). Trim along the marked lines.
Draw lines from center front mark to neck edges.
  • Using a short stitch, staystitch 1/4" from the edge for 2" on either side of the point of the V. Clip just to, but not through, the stitching at the point (2).
Staystitch lower neck opening; clip to stitching.

  • Measure the neck opening, standing the measuring tape on edge.
  • Cut the ribbing the same length as the neck opening. For the width, cut the ribbing two times the desired finished width, plus 1/2" for seam allowances. For a 1" finished width, cut the ribbing 2 1/2".
  • Fold the ribbing in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together and lightly press the fold. Fold the ribbing in half widthwise and mark the center point.
  • Measure the back neck edge between the shoulder seams. Multiply the measurement by 2/3 (.66) to determine the amount of ribbing for the back neck. If the measurement is 10", the ribbing will be about 6 5/8". Measure and pin-mark 1/2 of this amount on either side of the ribbing center point.
  • With right sides together, match the pin marks to the shoulder seams and pin in place.
  • Using a 1/4" seam allowance, start stitching at the left shoulder seam and sew across the back neck edge, stretching the ribbing to fit. Continue stitching down the right front neck edge, stretching the ribbing slightly as you sew; stop at the point of the V. Leave 1" extending beyond the point and trim the excess ribbing.
  • Stitch down the left front side of the neck opening, again stretching slightly as you sew. Stop stitching when you reach a distance from the point of the V that is 1/2" wider than the ribbing width (3).
Stop stitching before reaching lower point.

  • Lay the shirt flat and turn the ribbing to the finished position. Tuck the ends inside, overlapping the right front over the left. Pin the ribbing layers together where they overlap (4). On the shirt wrong side, finish sewing the neck opening to the ribbing at the point of the V, catching both ribbings in the stitching (5). Trim the ends even with the seam allowance.
Tuck ribbing in opening and pin layers together.Press the seam allowances toward the shirt. Topstitch across the back neck and front edges if desired.
  • Press the seam allowances toward the shirt. Topstitch across the back neck and front edges if desired.

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