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Re-creating an Old Favorite with an Unusual Neckline

I have been sewing for most of my life and designing and making my own patterns almost as long. It is a wonderful way to get the clothes I love and the fit I want. But every once in a while, I come across a ready-to-wear garment that is perfect. The fabric is wonderful, the silhouette is great, and the sleeves are long enough. One such top has been in my closet for many years. I just can’t give up this old favorite, though long ago it was relegated to an “at home only” wardrobe piece.

It had occurred to me to make a new version, but the neckline was a conundrum. The back comes up in the center and wraps around toward the underarm in the front, with a squared-off neckline across the front. I love it but haven’t been able to figure it out—until recently.

Raglan sleeve pattern solution

One of the patterns I have been making this year is a raglan sleeve top/dress designed by Merchant and Mills, called the Fielder. I have avoided raglan sleeves because they always seemed difficult to adjust for my extra broad shoulders. The Fielder has a dart at the shoulder that has more shape to it than most patterns I have tried. It fits my shoulders comfortably. I have now added several raglan sleeve tops to my closet.

What does this have to do with my old, ready-to-wear top?

As I was putting one of my new Fielder tops together, I realized that with one simple adjustment I could re-create the unusual neckline that had been eluding me all these years. I temporarily abandoned the top I was working on because I was so excited to try out my discovery. The adjustment worked like a charm. Let…

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  1. user-1118825 | | #1

    Fantastic idea. Great inspiration, thanks.

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #4

      I find this neckline really graceful. I get compliments whenever I wear it. I hope you will try it!
      Thanks! becky

  2. ClaudiaLR | | #2

    Great idea, but I don't follow why the instructions say, "The rest of the pattern pieces remain the same, no changes needed." If you square off the front neckline by folding down the pattern, let's say by 1 inch, you are reducing the length of the seam that meets the front shoulder seam of the sleeve. That would be 1 inch in my example. Wouldn't you have to shorten the sleeve shoulder seam by the same amount minus the hem allowance that will be folded under, i.e. .75 inch if the hem allowance is .25 inch? What am I missing? Thanks.

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #3

      Basically what you will be doing is dropping the front neckline. The back raglan seams and neckline remain the same. The front sleeve seam stays the same and creates the "sides" of the neckline. You can make the front neckline whatever depth you like by folding it to the inside. The fold creates the "bottom" of the neckline. The part of the front seam that is left 'free' above the new front fold is finished along with the back and sleeve cap edges to create the finished neckline. It is a bit tricky to describe it, but I think if you layout your pattern pieces you will be able to see how it works. It took me years to figure it out so I know it is a little hard to imagine at first. I hope this helps. becky

  3. Kevalexmom | | #5

    I love this ! So smart!!

  4. princesswinky | | #6

    So clever!

  5. user-7759868 | | #7

    That is a beautiful top I love it!

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