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plunging neckline

tdsews | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am making a prom dress that requires a deep v down to below the bust line and a low low back. The dress has princess seams with a halter style top.  I believe that the v neckline will be gapping open, especially when the girl sits down.  I have seen dresses with some kind of wire sewn into the seamline to support the V.  I’d like to know if anyone has any suggestions on this.  Is a wire OK?  If so what guage do I use?  Any other ideas?




  1. suesew | | #1

    I was asked by a l5 year old to make a dress like that once. After she left, I called her mother and asked her if she really wanted me to make a dress of that description for her daughter. We decided to raise front and back openings and the daughter never really knew the difference. If you can't raise the openings, I would make the midrif and halter straps really tight fitting.

  2. woodruff | | #2

    The V neckline is a dangerous area in many ways, partly because the V's edges are usually cut on the bias, and want to stretch out. There is a couture technique that involves cutting some narrow tape a bit shorter than the V neckline and pin-easing the fabric onto the tape. You need to do it on the wearer to get the right amount of snug-up. This info is detailed in an article in one of the older Threads magazines, and unfortunately, I don't have the number available just now.

    Anyone else?

    1. marijke | | #5

      The article you reference is Thread #99.  It has an article on Charles Kleibacker and his mastery of bias.  It also has a "master class" type article by David Page Coffin on Kleibacker's technique for a deep V-neck (pp70-74).


  3. Megh | | #3

    Also, there is a clear product which is sort of a glue.  I have seen it advertised in the Clotilde catalog.  It is used to help slip straps, etc, stay up. 

  4. SewNancy | | #4

    You will definitly experience stretch in the neckline. The couture way to do this is to use a very fine selvedge or twill tape cut to the proper legnth and then using lots and I mean lots of pins put in perpendicular to seam, minutely pin out any stretch. Recently I took of an inch of excess fabric from stretch with Design plus's ultra light stay tape. I used the bias because I was going around a curve, but a v neck would probably be better with Straight tape. I applied this to a stretch silk charmeuse camisole and it could not be detected it is so light. I then bound the neck. But, I used the same technique for easing in the neck, except I ironed it on. The other problem in a low front and back is keeping it on the shoulders! I would definitely cut a muslin first.

  5. mygaley | | #6

    Definitely contact the girl's mother; I live in a close community and if the girl's dress is too revealing, it reflects on me as a dressmaker.   I also have raised necklines and the girl never knew the difference.

    What I would do in this situation is use boning instead of wire in the V and also stabilize the entire seam from center back around under the arms, over one halter tie, down around the V and so on to the center back.  I would use a selvedge edge or clear elastic for this or maybe even both.  Also, on your muslin, try folding a tiny dart maybe l/8 inch out of the V on each neckline pattern before cutting.  When you're fitting if this is too tight, you can always slit the muslin at that point to restore the original shape.  I hope this is clear enough to follow.  God bless you, Galey

  6. autumn | | #7

    This does not sound like an appropriate style for a highschool prom.

    1. solosmocker | | #8

      Joanns sells something called Rescue Tape which is supposed to be for just this purpose. Taping our boobs, what we won't do for fashion....

  7. mem | | #9

    mmmmmmmm well I guess that all the pictures of Brittany and Paris falling out of their clothes are having their influence !

    I would use a lot of boneing in the princess seams and stay the neck and back and use a waist stay as well so that the bodice doesnt itsel have to support anything then hopefully mishaps will be avoided. The article on bras in the latest threads may be of interest as well . I would inform the mother and daughter that all this engineering is going to cost alot of money and explain why  and then suggest ways of reducing the cost ie raising necklines etc.

  8. Teaf5 | | #10

    I agree with other posters that you should consult with the daughter and the mother about the style of the dress, not just because of modesty and community standards, but because that style is a complete nightmare to wear, even if one has the body for it!

    Boning and stiffening the bodice may support that deep neckline, but the girl won't be able to move, sit, or breathe comfortably in the dress.  The sticky tape may work temporarily but may also cause skin irritation that could make the evening (and possibly a few days afterward) unbearable.  No matter how you put that dress together, it is not going to be fun for dinner or dancing or any kind of movement.

    The images of proms are of fantasy nights, but behind those fantasies are some practical realities that a good designer should share with the client.  If the girl insists on the double plunge neckline, perhaps you can use some of the secrets of the ice-skating/ballroom dancing designers, including beige illusion netting, so that she can have fun on her special eveing.

    Let us know what she and you decide to do!

    1. techyluanne1 | | #11

      If this girl likes the look of lace on other things (she could see many examples of either lace or crocheting to make plunging necklines more acceptable at a clothing store website that I love--Newport News-- http://newport-news.com/ to assist in convincing her that the lace really would look good on the prom dress.), perhaps a lace inset could be the answer. The seamstress could point out to the girl that the lace is definitely NOT the same fabric as the dress, thus preserving that wanted double-v plunge neckline of the dress, by reinforcing the lace the dress would not only look different and feminine but the reinforcement might help hold the dress together even more, and by allowing the girl to pick out the lace herself she might still feel the dress is her dream dress. Such as allowing her to try to match the color of the dress fabric to the color of lace that she likes best with it and/or allowing her to choose which lace pattern (don't know how big your sewing store is). I am really amazed at the complicated designs that are being created on lace fabric these days--other people might use them as appliques but I think it might make a great "privacy panel", especially if the lace has any sparkling quality to it. I apologize for the length of the sentence above; if I thought for an entire day I might be able to untangle it but hopefully I was able to convey my point. BTW, I also like the idea of the skating/dancing costumes and using nude mesh of some sort, even if only in that area of the dress that needs to be made more private.
      I am not sure where to do this so I will just do my intro here... especially considering the length of my post. :) I have a disability that keeps me from undertaking and finishing any type of "meaningful" work--believe me, I've even tried owning a business online--which means I am dependent, pretty much, upon my husband who has a full-time job. I have a wonderful cat named Seth who is my buddy. I have a tremendous vocabulary but the words usually leave right when they are the most appropriate to say! Hence the above language. My mother sewed all our clothes as children (3 of us) except for jeans and I have inherited her sewing machine and supplies a bit early. I do have some experience sewing but most of my latest experience has been in ripping out stitches in a multi-stitched elastic sweatpants waistband and inserting drawstrings which are actually pre-cut lengths of small white drapery cord. I consider myself a beginner, still. I recently found an old Simplicity Sew Something Special magazine/book and have fallen in love with the peasant blouse and the tiered, full, ruffled skirt in an ankle-length. I am very confused by all the fabrics out there and how we are expected to wash them--too many say "dry clean only"! That is expensive! I have gone through many of my clothes and placed the smaller sizes in bags to either give away or to use as material in future projects. I am actually looking for a way to turn a crew-neck tee shirt into a v-neck or sweatheart neckline. A plunging neckline would be fine, since I tend to layer up anyways and would probably use ties of a sort to re-fasten the deapest area. Take care all.

      1. Teaf5 | | #12

        Online paragraphs are harder to read, so o make your messages easier to read, you can put paragraph breaks after every couple of sentences, like this:Now I can answer your question about converting crew neck t-shirts. I have been doing this a lot lately, as I have been given all kinds of commemorative crew necks, but they are not at all flattering on me.I bought a v-neck tee that fit exactly the way I like, then traced a pattern off it using waxed paper. I also traced off a facing for the neckline, in case I want to alter only the neckline of a shirt. In adddition to neckline, the primary differences in fit are 1) smaller sleeves, 2) more shaped side seams,3) narrower shoulder seams, and 4) a hemline that hits my hipbones rather than my thighs.Laying the waxed paper patterns over the crewneck tee, I figure out how many changes I can do. Cutting off the bottom four inches gives me fabric to use as binding on the new v-neck. If the tee is tubular, I cut the sides and shape the new side seams. Likewise, I usually cut off the old sleeves to recut them and the new shoulder/side seams.Essentially, I cut apart the old one and use the pieces as fabric for a new one, using a separate facing fabric if necessary. Tee shirt knit is very stable and easy to sew. For hems, I just turn under and topstitch two lines. I often zigzag to finish the 3/8" seams, but it isn't usually necessary. Whenever I wear my reshaped tees to events with people from the same group, at least two or three women want to know where I got my more flattering shirt. They are completely amazed that I altered it, but I know that it takes only about 30 minutes after making the pattern.

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