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Do neck sizes vary in patterns?

ValerieJ | Posted in Patterns on

I have had many problems similar to ilovefabrics (sorry I don’t have an answer for you). I’ve tried a kwik-sew blouse and found that the neck opening was way too big. I just made a nightshirt using a kwik-sew pattern and had the same problem.  Both garments fit pretty well everywhere but the neck. Could it be I have a skinny neck (not the part I wish was skinny)? I’ve not found anything that explains how to adjust the neck opening, and as this finished measurement is not on the envelope it’s really hit-or-miss, and quite frustrating.

Any suggestions are appreciated.



  1. woodruff | | #1

    The only pattern line that routinely includes a neck measurement is Burda. I don't know why this is the case, because a well-fitting neck is obviously important. The general rule with Burda has always been that the neck size is also the shoulder size, which is useful to know: Burda is multisized, and when you trace your own pattern off, you can customize it to fit the particulars of your own body, say, for example, a skinny neck as well as a generous bosom, and maybe undersized hips.

    You can contact the pattern companies and ask them what their standard neck measurements are for the various sizes, and find out that way if you have an unusually thin neck for your pattern size. They have this information, but just don't include it in their patterns.

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    Sometimes the neck measurement is in the back of the pattern book, as each company has a standard they start with. Then the pattern back will say something like "wide neckline" or "jewel neckline" to indicate how different that particular pattern will be from their standard.

    Another possibility is that the garment is a little narrow through the shoulder/upper bust area, so that the garment sits up too high, where your neck is narrower. However, if the shoulder/bust area is fitting well, then you can just measure in from the marked line as far as you would like.

  3. mem | | #3


  4. mem | | #4

    The neck measurement is related to your chest measurement. I think its !/3 or !/4. I am not sure as I don't have the right books to hand . To change the neck all you need to do is work out where it is too big I have sloping shoulders and so cant wear boat necks or wide necklines so I just steer clear of them If they are just too big all the way around ascertain how much high you want it and just add that amount all the way around . If its too low at the front just raise it . I often have to add onto the back as patterns seem to be lower than is ideal on me This is because my shoulder point is affected by the sloping shoulders and I have to use either a shoulder pad or change the shoulder and neck line . After you have decided what you want to do you have to derive a neck facing . This is done by tracing around your new neckline .

  5. ValerieJ | | #5

    Thank you for all your information and suggestions. As pattern adjustments are not my strong suit I've been unsure about how best to address and you've given me some good ideas.

    I think for the next nightgown I might lengthen the inside of the shoulders and also raise the front neckline. Guess I'll be heading to Wal-Mart for some muslin so I can experiment with blouses - would like to be able to make some things with collar stands and collars and that's a lot of pieces to experiment with.

    1. mem | | #7

      buy a simple pattern making book . Thats what i did and then just got pencil paper and aT square and off I went . Its NOT rocket science and really ok once you get started . YOu will need peace and quiet however.Its really good to read such a book just for pleasure as you start to see how all these pieces are derived from each other and then its easy to change length etc . For instance if you raise the neckline you will also make it shorter in circumference and so you need to shorten the collar stand and the collar . You have to do this in the right spots though and so use the notches to help you to do this and make sure that they all match up again after you have shortened all the pieces.

      1. ValerieJ | | #8

        Thank you Mem for the suggestion. It would never have occurred to me to make the collar stand and collar thinner. Just trying to picture mentally, I was figuring that the length of these pieces would change, but never thought about the depth.

        1. mem | | #9

          NO you are right I meant that the length does reduce !!

          1. ValerieJ | | #10

            Oh, OK. I can see myself now with this skinny little collar gnashing my teeth!I ordered a couple of books on fitting from Amazon yesterday and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. I have to bite the bullet on this fitting stuff. Reading so much about everyone else working on this has convinced me that I can do it, and reassured me that I'm not alone in this!

  6. Beth | | #6

    The Palmer/Plesch book on fitting has a drawing about how to make a neckline smaller.

    Another way would be to measure the neck of a garment you already have; one that fits well, of course.  To compare to your pattern, turn your tape measure on edge and measure the pattern. Measure on the seam allowance.

    It is possible that your shoulders vary from the pattern and the result is a change in fit at your neck.

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