Neckline woes

A series of neckline problems in my last few projects culminated on Sunday with this one.

Quite a while ago, I stumbled upon a bridal fabrics sale in Hickey’s and bought a metre each of very fine quality ivory and black silk, as they were marked down from €60/m to €20/m. I thought they would make very pretty tops, given their luxurious sheen and amazing drape, but always passed on making them up for fear of failure.

Last week, I decided to bite the bullet and dreamt up a little tank top with a pleated neckline. I scoured the internet for pattern resources and failing to find any to suit my fabric, made my own. I took the basic block from the pattern that I used for this, an old Burda magazine pattern. I like it because it works really well for drapey fabrics. I did a little research and decided my best plan of action was to move the dart at the side to the neckline and turn it into the pleats. A little tracing and a quick muslin proved I was on the right track.

I dislike seamlines showing on armholes, especially for light fabrics, so I cut out some left over habotai lining to line the whole thing. I sewed the lining to the neckline first of all but quickly realised that the weight of my pleats were always going to pull the lining to the outside, no matter what I did. I undid my stitching and was clipping the curve in the seam allowance along the front when I did the unthinkable: I snipped into a tiny fold that had caught up into the curve and there it was. A hole in the front.

Really, in a situation like this, only knitting can be the remedy. So I retreated and knit (and watched Fatal Attraction, an old Michael Douglas movie that has a frankly terrifying Glenn Close in it) and when I felt calm enough to approach the top again, I saw three things clearly that made me quite happy. The first is that the hole is not very big nor very far from my original seamline. If I make the neckline a little wider, I will be able to encompass the little hole into the seam allowance. The second is that the original neckline was so narrow that it needed an opening – widening the neckline eliminates having to deal with that. The third is that this situation made me face the reality that no amount of fussing around was going to make the pleats lie properly with the lining and that I should just use a narrow bias.

Obviously, I am going to need to redraft the neckline but it’s not a big job and at least my top will be rescued. Phew!

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