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How to fix a gaping neckline

Gaping necklines can be caused by several factors. But each of the problems is easy to fix.

Unfortunately, the need to take action doesn't often show up until the fitting, so a quickie pre-test model of the bodice front and back is a good idea before you cut into your expensive fashion fabric.

If a scoop neckline does not conform to your body, it can be fixed one of two ways. First, you can deepen the shoulder seams slightly near the neckline, tapering back to the original seamline by the armhole.

The facing must be adjusted accordingly and the collar made smaller if there is one, folding out the same amount on the collar that was reduced on the shoulder seam. If you increased the seam width at the shoulder near the neckline to ~-inch on front and back, the neckline was actually made smaller, reduced \-inch on both the front and back for a total subtraction of {-inch. If it has a collar, fold out {-inch at the neckline, tapering to \-inch by outside collar edge.

On a low scoop, V-neckline or a strapless bodice, tiny tucks can be folded from the neckline out of the tissue. Cut the pattern apart from the neckline into the bodice about 3 inches. Overlap cut edges by [-inch, a move that essentially reduces the neck circumference by \-inch per cut. Identical alterations must be made on the facing.

Sandra Betzina is host of Sew Perfect on Home & Garden Television. Send e-mail to