Wednesday, October 2, 2013

diy // altering a t-shirt neckline

Today, I'm sharing another way to refashion an unflattering t-shirt: changing the neckline (to see how to make a baggy t-shirt more fitted, click here!).
When we left off, our t-shirt looked like this:
Fine, but still lacking. Particularly in the neckline department--that crew-neck is worse than a 90's choker/tattoo necklace! I don't know if I have a big head or what, but anytime I find a casual shirt I like, it barely fits over my noggin. If I can manage to squeeze my head in, it chokes like crazy! Stupid. 
Also (and maybe this is just me), but I find crew-neck shirts just unflattering in general. Something about a wide and unbroken expanse of fabric across one of my larger areas... Maybe this is why I don't love wearing t-shirts. 

Thankfully, taking an unflattering or a too-tight neckline to something more pleasant is an easy fix, particularly on a shirt that has ribbing on the collar! Here's how you do it:

Step 1: Using a piece of colored chalk (or pen or whatever you have on hand), mark where you would like the new neckline to land. Take into account the ribbing, which will add a little more height.

Step 2: Cut out the new neckline. When you get to the ribbing, stick as close to the seam as you can, but leave a little something (less than 1/4").

Step 3: Stretch the ribbing so that it will fit along the new neckline. Starting in the center of the ribbing, pin to the new neck opening, right sides together. Keep stretching to make sure it is evenly spaced.

{If you want a v-neck instead of a scoop-neck at the end, you'll have to sew a "pinch" into your ribbing (as seen below). I wanted a scoop-neck, so I didn't do this step.}


Step 4: Sew the ribbing to the new neck opening, stretching as you go. Try to follow the previous stitching so that the transition between the shirt's seam and yours is not noticeable.

Step 5 (not pictured): To give the shirt a completely finished look, topstitch around the new neckline, following the line of the original topstitching. This will help the collar lay flat, as well as make the shirt look like it was bought this way!

Aah, I DO have a collarbone! I didn't go super-low on this one because of the logo, but ribbing is surprisingly stretchy and can accommodate more than you might think. Experiment!

And that, my friends, is as complicated as it gets. Not overwhelming at all, right??! I've saved so many t-shirts that I would have initially deemed unsalvageable this way, and the best part? Once you've mastered the alteration of necklines in t-shirts, doing the same to sweatshirts and sweaters is the same process.

before // after
The difference is subtle, but femininity is subtle, am I right??


  1. OH THANK YOU! I can't tell you how I HATE tight collars on my shirts. I never thought to strecth the ribbing...duh! I guess I need to think harder LOL. Thanks for the tutorial :)

  2. I just tried your DIY for my Stars & Stripes tee. It worked perfectly and I'm now ready for the 4th. I'm 62 so you actually can teach an old dog new tricks. Thanks so much!

  3. I can't tell you how great this tutorial is! I'm over 6 foot so I always get men's T-shirts for the length but I hate the neckline. With this alteration it looks so professional and as if it was sold that way. Thank you so much, I've just done 3 in a row and think I'll do my entire collection :D

  4. Question about cutting : when i come up to ribbing, do i just quit 1/4 inch and follow around neck to other side ? Any chance a close up of that is available ?

  5. Question on cutting : do you havea photo to show me like half the piece cut from neckline, rather than whole piece gone ? I'm afraid of cutting too much ( or not enuf) by ribbing.
    I may need to find thrift store shirts to practice on before doing this to my fav shirts :-p

  6. I hate t-shirts that come too close to the neck, as well. I also hate cap sleeves, and am always looking for ways to take them off or extend them. Any ideas welcome!


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