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How to Raise a Neckline

Learn how to raise a neckline of a dress with this simple sewing tutorial. Fix a low cut neckline of a prom dress or any formal dress.

It’s really hard to find a dress that is exactly what you are looking for. There’s always something a little bit wrong with the fit, style, or color.

I don’t love wearing really low cut necklines, so I’ve learned a little sewing trick to raise a neckline of a dress so that I’ll love wearing it!

raise a low cut neckline

The dress started out with this deep v-neck, and it was much to low for my comfort. I loved the navy color, the half sleeves, and the half circle skirt.

It’s a really classic style that can be accessoried differently when I need it. I bought this dress. I was surprised at how well it fit my tall frame; it’s the perfect dress for tall girls!

low cut dress

When you are going to raise a low cut neckline you will need to add fabric. If you have to hem the dress you can use the fabric you cut off.

If you are not hemming the dress you might be able to cut some fabric from the lining to use.

If you don’t want to remove any fabric from the dress or lining you can find matching or coordinating fabric. It’s pretty hard to find fabric that matches exactly, so lace in the same color is a nice alternative.

Do you love to alter and refashion? Try some of these ideas:

hem a dress

Fix a Low Cut Neckline

supplies

  • Low cut dress
  • Fabric cut from dress, matching fabric, or coordinating fabric
  • sewing tools
  • Thread and hand needle

Cut off the fabric you will be using or find matching or coordinating fabric or lace.

cut of extra fabric

Cut the fabric to the shape and size of the neckline with a 1/2″ seam allowance. The finished edge or original hem needs to be the top of the new neckline.

cut inset piece to size

Finish the raw edges of the inset piece.

serge inset piece

Turn the dress right side out. Pin the inset piece into the neckline with the seam allowance ending where the dress neckline is.

pine inset piece

Hand sew the inset piece to the lining of the dress. Use a double thread in your hand needle. Tie off your thread with a square knot.

sew inset piece to lining

Turn the dress right side out. Sew the edge of the neckline to the inset piece so nothing pulls open or out. Tie off your thread with a square knot.

sew inset piece to neckline

Give your dress and new neckline a good press.

fix neckline of dress

Raise a Neckline of a Dress

This is a more in depth tutorial to raise a neckline of a dress. My friend asked me to raise a neckline of her recital dress.

The recital dress had a pleated overlay, fashion fabric, and lining, so I had to work with three layers of fabric. She ordered a beautiful dress online*, and because she knew it needed alterations, the company let her order an extra yard of matching fabric.

Pin muslin into the neckline, and draw in where you want the new neckline to be. Copy the original style like pleats and a v-neck.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

I did the same to the back. She had a side zipper so I could raise the back just like I raised the front.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

She took it off, and I perfected and drew the lines in darker before I unpinned it.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial
Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

I unpinned each one and had my pattern piece.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial
Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

Transfer to paper and add seam allowance.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

Because I pleated the top layer to match the dress, I have three pieces each for the front and the back.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

Cut out your fabric pieces and interfacing pieces.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

I didn’t take pictures of the construction, but you put it together just like any other neckline with a facing or lining. This will also depend on the style of your dress and insert. Leave the bottom edge open then finish that edge.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

Pin the piece in where it should go. See how my piece blends in?

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

Get a needle and thread to hand sew in the piece. I started in the middle and went out, so it would stay lined up.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

You can use whatever stitch you want to sew it in. I used the strongest stitch where you go forward a whole step and then back a half step, forward a whole step and then back a half step, etc.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

Once I got to the top, I came back down on the bottom whipstitching it to the lining. This made the whole piece very secure.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

This is what it looks like finished. Don’t mind the safety pin; I hadn’t finished ironing the pleats yet.

Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial
Make It Modest: Build Up a Low-Cut Neckline Tutorial

If you make something using this tutorial about how to raise a neckline, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

fix a low cut neckline

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Great blog topic! I’ve done some of these before – without instructions. They were absolute essentials when my girls were younger, their tastes were modest and the styles weren’t quite a match to their age or comfort level (or occasionally school rules). The adjustment for the deep V neckline has been my most frequent use – you have some nice tips for making even better matches to the garment style. Thanks!

Great blog! I've been looking through your tutorials, and I know I'm going to have to spend more time here!
–Jill
Jill Made It

Absolutely awesome!

you are so TALENTED. it looks beautiful! great job.

So cool! I've run into modesty issues with tops before and I usually just wear something under it. But how much better to just alter it, especially in a formal situation!

Looks amazing! Thanks for the tips on how to do the pattern.

I love your make it modest tips! Did you just borrow fabric from another part of the dress?

Oh thanks for your question! I forgot to put that it the post so I just added it. My friend knew we would have to alter it, so she ordered an extra yard of matching fabric from the company.