How to Alter Patterns for a Larger Collar Circumference

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NSC Question

I’m looking for instruction on how to alter a pattern to accommodate a larger neck circumference. Lots of instruction to be found on how to sew a collar (which I think is pretty straight forward), but nothing on altering the neck size on a man’s dress shirt. Hubby now has an old man’s body but all the patterns I find are for young men’s’ proportions! Do you have any advice?

Submitted by Grammamikki


NSC Answer

Making a collar larger can be pretty straight forward as well. First, measure to see exactly how much you need to add to the collar. For this example, we’ll say you are adding 1″. Find the center back of both the upper and under collar pattern pieces. Cut the pattern into two pieces and insert 1″ of tissue or pattern paper to make the collar pieces bigger. They can now be cut out and constructed as normal.

The next part of making the collar larger is that you also need to make the neck opening larger in the same amount so that everything still lines up. There are several ways this can be done. Depending on your shirt pattern, there may be two pleats somewhere in the back. You can either make these smaller, or omit them entirely in order to gain the extra 1″ of fabric needed around the neck opening. If you like the looks of the pleats and want to keep them, another easy way would be to make the front button bands wider, or simply add ½” to each opening edge of the front pattern pieces before attaching the button bands.

These would be the two areas I would add width to first. If you try to add it to the front and back shoulder seams you will then need to also enlarge the sleeve, which can be tricky.

Hope this helps!

Ashley

Related links:

Back to Basics: Drafting Patterns

Sewing Pattern Alteration and Tools

How to Make Patterns That You Can Reuse

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Discussion
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8 Responses to “How to Alter Patterns for a Larger Collar Circumference”
  1. Laurie

    Actually, it might help to know where he has gained inches. If there is a double chin, I would add all or most of the 1/2″ on the neck opening, then taper down to the shoulder seam. One could add to the front, that might not give good results with a striped or a plaid fabric. and if you add the extra fabric from the neck down to the hem you might be adding fabric where it is not needed, then you need to alter the sides. Which at some point just makes it all a big hassle. If he is willing to put up with making a duct tape mannequin for fitting, you will be able to see where exactly he needs to have the pattern altered for a good fit. I also would make a muslin in case something else goes out of balance.

    Reply
  2. Robert Custer

    Will you please tell me how to sew up Blue Jeans that have a big rip and ones that have a small rip with a Brother Sewing Machine Please?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Robert. Small rips can simply be sewn by turning the jeans wrong side out, aligning the edges of the rip right sides together and then zig zag stitching along the edge. Larger rips can sometimes be dealt with in the same manner unless actual fabric is missing. If this is the case you may need to apply a patch. Hopefully this gives you enough direction.

      Reply
  3. Barbara

    I would love to know how to sew hand woven fabric. I have a very large piece of handwoven fabric that is wool and silk and I don’t even know how to begin to use it. I have asked about handwoven fabric before but not got an answer.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Barbara. Sewing with handwoven fabric is fairly similar to sewing with other fabric, however here are some tips that can make it easier:

      -Add 1/4 to 1/2″ extra to your seam allowances when cutting out pattern pieces this fabric can tend to be bulky and ravel easily.

      -Depending on the weave and thickness of the fabric, you may need to use a walking foot. This can also help reduce the possibility of the presser foot getting caught on any threads or the fabric getting distorted or stretched going under the foot.

      -Finish all seams immediately with either a zig zag stitch or other seam finish as this fabric can quickly ravel.

      -You may also find that lengthening your stitch length to 3.0 can help you beget maintain even stitching.

      Reply
  4. mona

    I am looking for ideas on opening up the neck line to fit over a larger-than-usual child’s head…. AFTER the material has been cut out… hmm

    Reply