How to Alter Patterns for a Larger Collar Circumference

Ask an Expert Banner NSC

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!


Related links:

Back to Basics: Drafting Patterns

Sewing Pattern Alteration and Tools

How to Make Patterns That You Can Reuse

Do you have a sewing question you’d like answered by an expert? Email your question to or reach out to us on Facebook.

Please note: questions may be edited for clarity and relevance.

Reply to Customer Service
  • (will not be published)

19 Responses to “How to Alter Patterns for a Larger Collar Circumference”

  1. cyndi bailey

    Im make a adult bib I need to enlarge the neck , how do I do that? Please help

    • Customer Service

      Hello Cyndi,

      Thank you for contacting us. Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert’s knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and access to all Premium video content.

      If you are interested in becoming a member, please click on the special offer below:


      If you have any further questions, please chat, email, or call Customer Service.


      Video Membership

    • Customer Service

      Hello Lauriane!

      Great question! At this time, we do not have this pattern but I will submit this as feedback for future projects!

      Thank you!

      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

  2. Susan Hamilton

    I am trying to increase the neck size on a man’s dress shirt with a back yoke. The pattern fits well except the neck band. So far I have been able to make the band longer but with the collar attached I have too excess at the nape of the neck. My neck attempt is to reduce the top of the band and collar to eliminate the pucker. I was able to spread the yoke pattern to accommodate the neck band, is that where my problem lays?
    With the novel virus I am unable to find a larger pattern to combine with the one I have.
    Thanks so much for Any suggestions.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Susan!

      That’s a great question and we’d love to help!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link:
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
      3. The Checkout page will display your Premium Membership purchase.
      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-208-7187 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!


      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

  3. Vera Miles

    Ticket 22763 I have a blouse that is too tight across the shoulders. Should I cut out arm opening?

    • Customer Service

      Dear Vera,

      Thank you for your patience. In response to your question-

      If possible, the easiest way to let out a coat that is too tight across the shoulders is to open it up along the center back seam. However, if it does not have one then yes, this alteration would need to be made in the shoulder seams.

      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

  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

  5. 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.

    • 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.

    • Elizabeth Tani

      If I add 1 to the bodice of the shirt pattern can I add also to the collar pls correct me if I’m wrong here

  6. 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?

    • 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.

  7. 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.