Saturday, October 1, 2016

How to change the neckline, summer top New Look 6374

When the end of the year arrives and I do a bit of sewing analysis, I think it might turn out that this is the year of tops. Based on finding a couple of really great tunic style top patterns as well as some t-shirt patterns that will reappear, I've added more tops to my wardrobe and found them really useful. Separates are always on my mental to-do list, so quick, so gratifying, such a small amount of fabric needed. But I get distracted by some clever new jacket pattern or a pretty dress.

Anyway - this is not a particularly noteworthy top other than the fact that I have worn it a lot since sewing it up.
Or should I say refashioning it up!

Pink top front NL6374

This top is New Look 6374, which I first made in a really nice silk that started life as a panel print and I did some fabric cutting geometry to get make it. Recently I did a big closet clean out and took a lot of stuff I no longer wear to the charity shop, and this dress was among the items. Not worn at all this summer and I figured it was time to move on, however I always liked the fabric which is just a plain woven cotton. So I retrieved it from the bags and decided to see if I could salvage a top or something out of it. The dress is New Look 6864 which is a dress pattern from about 6 years ago, with many bodice versions and I have used that pattern at least 8 times.


I removed the zipper, and detached the skirt so that provided the fabric for the shirt front and back. The back yoke needed to be seamed, and the center back seam of the skirt remained on the shirt.

pink top NL6374

The main thing I wanted to try with this version of the pattern is to change up the neckline. The pattern has a mandarin collar style, although it is on the narrow side. It worked OK for the silk version but I think in a long sleeve winter version I might make it a bit taller. But this is definitely a summer version so I wanted no collar and a slightly more open neckline. Here is a look at the two tops side by side so you can see the change in the neckline.

pink and green top comparison

To create the neckline and the facing edge, which is rounded, I created a band or facing piece by determining where to have the neckline finish, and then working backwards to reduce the shirt body and add a band. Then I added the seam allowanced (3/8" in this case). Note that in the center front of the neckband I have added the amount that will be there once the placket is sewn on to the center from of the top.

N6374 pattern adj

It seemed I was home free with this design but as it turned out I had to do a lot of fiddling to get the remaining parts cut out of the remaining fabric, even using some of the curved neckband of the original dress to make this new neckband.

pink top side NL6374

Bias tape for the armholes, and of course I moved in the top of the shoulder about 1.25" to create that cut-in shoulder look that I like.

Not very satisfying sewing room mirror shot is all I can manage to show off this top. Which I popped on for a photo only as I was getting ready to go out yesterday morning to meet a friend for coffee. It looks a lot better with white jeans and sandals then with dark jeans and my hiking sneakers. At least you can tell it was super sunny yesterday. Rumor has it we might get some rain on Sunday - we can only hope!

pink NL top on me

In other news, I have written a few more Craftsy posts that you might like to read.

While I lean towards facings, when it comes to certain types of garments or fabrics then a bias binding is the way to go. Here is the link if you want to read my take on this topic.

Binding vs facings image

This one is near and dear to my heart, pattern markings! Here's the link. On this topic I want to say to all pattern designers - traditional or indie - USE MORE! More is better! I think that more information that is printed on the pattern the better. Perhaps with the development of multi-size patterns the issues of adding a lot pattern markings becomes more challenging and I understand that. But when I look at some older patterns, they were a wealth of information. Including my personal pattern mania - the collar roll line on a coat or jacket. Which has sadly all but disappeared on any patterns. But I will write about that in an upcoming post as I am deep into a tailored jacket right now and taking lots of pics.

Decode pattern markings link image

Sneak peek of my latest project in process. Wool fabric, silk basting thread, bound buttonhole markings, it must be a fall jacket. Yep - sewing interest in autumnal projects is awake and I now have a good list of stuff to sew in the next couple of months.


I can't believe it is October already - although from the Halloween junk for sale in the stores I would believe you if you said that was tomorrow. I plan to stay away from the big fabric stores for the rest of the month - having no need to buy fleece of any sort (who buys that much fleece? that always amazes me the inventory of fleece).
Maybe even some deferred garden work tomorrow. Depends on the weather I guess :)

Happy weekend sewing, Beth

Here's a hydrangea from May. They are so faded and colorless now, but the colors were glorious this past spring.



  1. A great top. Very pretty fabric, no wonder you retrieved it from that dress. I like the shoulder alteration, reducing the width - it does look good.

  2. I was once behind someone at the Colma Joann cutting table who had six bolts of fleece in clashing patterns and wanted seven yards of each. I couldn't believe my eyes, but there you go. The top looks great! I'm so glad you were able to salvage the fabric, and it looks like it's found its purpose as a top!

  3. I love this top Beth! Great save of the fabric on your part too! I can actually vision it with some white shorts for sure, but I think it looks pretty good in this shot with the jeans too!

  4. Perfect job! I LOVE the top and your style. That top really goes well with your jeans.

  5. Beautiful collar that is also very complimentary. Thanks for including details on the construction. I really enjoy refashioning fabric from a much loved item or even picking up a beautiful piece of fabric via the clothing section of the thrift store and refashioning. It is often a somewhat unpleasant surprise how much you need to make anything, but substituting seam binding, etc. for facings can help a great deal. I have an African wax print full skirt I am planning to remake into a top so glad to have seen you touch on this topic today.

    Fleece (sigh) I think a lot of crafters get into fleece because they can make clothes for a lot of family members, hats, gloves, etc, and throws as well, without having to finish seams, and the fleece itself hides the lack of fitting and good sewing skills. So I think it has its place, though it's not my thing. I have bought a few colorful pieces and made hoody jackets for myself to lounge in on cold winter nights, because it is very cuddly. Sometimes I feel like a lot of it is pushed on the US market by countries in Asia that produce the stuff by the ton. Maybe it will go out of fashion eventually...