Slimming Neckline Makeover - Make it Sew!

Whoa!.. those glasses help me see and help you see my wrinkles!

As we enter the New Year one of my goals is to be more deliberate in what I wear and making sure it looks the best it possibly can on my particular body type.   While I am thrilled to now be wearing a size 10 jeans I still have a wide back and chest  that tends to make me look even bigger than I am in certain clothes.

The biggest offenders are  traditionally cut t-shirt and turtlenecks. Put either of these on me and I instantly look 15 pounds heavier.. and who wants that?

She looks great in this, I did not!
Now I should have known better but tend to loose my head in the face of a terrific sale and that is the case  when  I saw this J. Jill dress marked down from well over $100 to $25. I LOVE my clothing from J.Jill and  clicked the BUY button before my head did some serious thinking about this dress.  So like all great tales of woe the dress came, I danced around at my good luck and then I put it on.. it felt great, the knit fabric was hefty and soft and I looked like a well dressed block-chested prison matron - sigh.

Luckily my superpower is sewing so I knew what to do..

The first step was to pull the perfect t-shirt from my closet- the t-shirt with the perfect neckline for me.. a nice scoop that show some skin and a bit of cleavage but not so much that I risk looking like a homeschooling hussy.

The next step was to make a template of the neckline by tracing it onto a sheet of tag board ( you could also use paper)  I use one template for both the front and back scoop.

 I save the template ( thus using tag board) to remake the neck of many garments.  Just fold it in half and tuck away with your patterns for storage.

The next step was the cutting away of the excess neck material

Laying the template on the neck I used a chalk wheel to easily mark around the neck scoop for the front.

Then before cutting I took the dress to the sewing machine and I stitched a STRETCH STITCH on the line in order to stabilize the knit from stretching.

After that I cut very carefully just to the inside of the stitching so that the stabilized part stays as part of the garment.  ( and yes, even after all this time I still hold my breath making the first cuts :)

Same deal for the back, once the front of the neck is cut away lay on the template and mark in line for the back and then sew a stabilization stitch.

Seems that I really need to clean my cutting mat, the spray adhesive build up is taking over!
Ok!..  half way there! At this point I starch the neckline a bit to stabilize it further and let it dry.

At this point I was torn. I had originally intended to  finish the new neckline with some plum colored stretch velvet that is great for this but as luck would have it the turtleneck that I chopped off left me with enough fabric to use the same fabric on the neckline ( not usually an option!)

Oh I dithered, but in the end my mind was made up due to the fact that I did not have a perfectly matching thread color for the plum - how that is possible I have no idea given the amount of thread I have, but such is the deal so I went with the matching fabric and some nice heather gray thread.

After that it was just about sewing the trim on wrong side up.. then flipping it over and then using a tiny zig-zag to re-sew from the top to secure the fabric to the back side. NOTE: use a walking foot to minimize stretching of fabric!  Edit: I have been asked to expand on this rather sketchy bit about how I put the trim on the neckline. Seems that sometimes I do things that my head skips right over in the replay.  I have decided that it is a bit much to shoe-horn in here so will do another post on it.. but in the mean time offer up a similar techniques  Store Bought Look Neckline Treatment  and I will get right on an expanded tutorial to show you how I do it!

Of course as usual I missed a spot due to getting to hasty.. but no worries.. thus put it back on the machine and catch that spot.. no one will be the wiser .. well, with the exception of you all --shhhh! This is also the time to do any trimming and adjusting that needs to be done to make it took fantastic!

All done!.. but with all the manhandling the fabric might be looking a bit wonky.. so give it a good misting with water or Best Press and then a light steaming with the iron and let it dry.

This same technique of remaking can also be done with Fold Over Elastic and here is a great little article on how to do just that! Using Fold Over Elastic to Finish a Neckline 

So what do you think? Do you have clothing that could look better on you with just a bit of adjustment?Remember, it's about fitting clothes to your body, not your body to the clothes!

P.s. I would love to get this post out far and wide, would you mind sharing it or tweeting it out there for me?


Katie said...

Honestly Maddie, what is wrong with me??? I have thrown away/put away/given away so many t-shirt type tops because they were too manly and never once did it occur to me that I should take my not inconsiderable sewing skills and refashion some of them. Gah. I suck. You, on the other hand, are fantastic. Happy New Year :-)

MaddieMarie said...

"After that it was just about sewing the trim on wrong side up.. then flipping it over and then using a tiny zig-zag to re-sew from the top to secure the fabric to the back side."

Hi Maddie, Can you please explain a little more about this technique? Many thanks,
the other Maddie

Chelley said...

Looks great and I'm still laughing at the "block chested prison matron" and "homeschool hussy". I love, love, love J Jill clothes. I need to lose a little weight so I can shop there again. We're going to try out the 30 day challenge that you mentioned earlier this week, so that might help. ;)

Georgie Horn said...

love following your tweets and look at you down to size 10--good for you! I'm jealous of your sewing skills. Come sing-a-long with Zooey...

Unknown said...

Happy New Year - it was lovely to meet you in Atlanta.

Wow - impressed with your sewing skills! Great job, great tutorial ....but I know I'll never have the nerve/skill to try it myself! But I stand in awesome admiration!!

Betsy said...

Thanks for this - I'll try it...and BTW, I don't see any wrinkles - Happy New Year!

Stacey said...

I love this! I have several tshirts I like but the neckline drives me nuts. It never crossed my mind to just fix it!

Audrey Pettit said...

Wow, awesome transformation, Maddie! :)
wishing you a very happy new year, my friend!

Carolyn@Sweet Chaos Home said...

Your comment on my blog cracked me up! We must have some sort of ESP thing going on... I was just thinking of you today. One of my New Year's resolutions it to learn how to sew. Wish me luck :)

Happy New Year!

from the SpiritsFold said...

Maddie, I don't see any wrinkles! I love the neckline makeover, I have the same problem and I consider your perfect neckline to be mine, too. I'm definitely going to try this. A major goal of mine is to learn how to better handle sewing lightweight knits this year. I'm pretty comfortable with quilt making with woven cottons but I want to sew more of my clothes and the only thing I will wear is comfortable, lightweight, 100% cotton knits. If you have any more hints, tutorials or resource recommendations on sewing with knits I would love to see them! (we are trying the 30 day challenge, too!) ;o) happy new year!

Kim S said...

Looks fabulous!!!