How To Alter a Top With a Low Neckline

Have you ever tried to alter a blouse that was lower in the front than you were comfortable with?

It can be a little intimidating to try and figure it out.

I have a frilly blouse here that needs this alteration and I hope after reading all about how to alter this top with a low neckline, you can do the same with any blouse or top you have.

To make this alteration, we are going to do two things: take up the front shoulder seam and take in the collar.

Generally, you don’t need to take up the back of the blouse, but have the customer try it on so you can see how the back fits.

If the back fits well, don’t touch it.

If it doesn’t, you could pull up the back and front at the same time. That means, you’ll take up the same amount on the front shoulder as the back shoulder, meaning: the entire top needs to be raised up at the shoulders.

The back of this blouse fit great, so it didn’t need to be altered.

Now, let’s look at the collar. I decided to choose a more difficult collar so you can use the same technique on your collar, which most likely has a simple center back seam.

The only seam on this collar was at the center back:

altering a blouse with a low neck, 1362

and I was glad because I didn’t want to mess with the “fluff” on the front.

The center back neck seam was stitched and then gathered to fit:

cable and gauge label on blouse 1363

Let me explain what we’re going to do and then we’ll get after it.

We are going to decrease the circumference of the neck at the center back seam and when we do that, we’ll need to decrease the circumference of the blouse as well. Does that make sense?

If we just decreased the collar, it wouldn’t fit back onto the blouse, so we need to do both.

neckline of blouse that's too low, 1364

To begin, take a seam ripper and unstitch (or rip out) the stitches that hold the collar and the shoulder seam together:

ripping out stitches to alter a top that's too low, 1365

Take out the stitches from just past one shoulder seam, all around the back of the neck to just past the other shoulder seam like this:

taking most of the top collar off, 1366

Next, you’ll want to open up the shoulder seam. This was a delicate knit and I had to be careful where I placed my seam ripper so as not to cut the knit, but just cut the stitch:

taking out some of the knit stitches, 1367

I opened up the shoulder seam halfway:

opening up the shoulder seam, 1369

Once that was opened up, I was able to shorten the front of the blouse by pinning the front higher than the back. Can you see in the photo below that the back is in the foreground, but the front of the blouse is behind, and it’s the front of the blouse that we are taking up:

repinning to take up some of the shoulder seam, blouse that is too low, 1370

Stitch that new shoulder seam by sewing along the original back shoulder seam line and trim off the excess front fabric.

Next, you’ll need to take in the center back neck seam on the collar. Can you see the excess collar material?

excess collar material, 1371

Since I took one inch off of the front of the blouse on the left and the right for a total of 2″, I need to take up 2 total inches on the collar as well.

I took the seam apart and stitched up two inches of fabric and trimmed the seam. You may not need to take the seam apart. You might just fold the collar at the original seam line and stitch across at the one inch mark (you are taking one inch from the left side and one inch from the right side to equal 2″) But, since this fabric was see-through, I decided to re-stitch the seam and trim off the excess.

I apologize that the photo is not real clear, but I hope you get the idea:

stitching up the collar to make it shorter, 1372

Now, stitch the collar back on to the neck edge of the blouse. The collar and the blouse should fit perfectly.

stitching the collar back to the neck edge, 1373

You can see the newly adjusted collar:

look at altered collar, 1375

You might want to re-serge or zigzag any uneven edges.

Taking up 2″ of collar, takes the blouse up 2″ in front. Isn’t that awesome?

That’s all there is to it!

newly altered collar, raising the neckline on blouse, 1377

If you have a t-shirt type top, you may need to take in the ribbing or if you have a different type top, you might need to take up the facing.

Use the same principle of taking up the shoulders and taking in the circumference of the collar to the measurements you need.

This will work for tank tops too.

Unless you have a really long top, you may not be able to adjust more than a couple of inches before it affects the length of the blouse or top.

But this should help those tops that are just a little too low for your comfort level.

You might also be interested in How To Alter a Dress or Top With Binding.