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Smooth Neck Seams

user-320326 | Posted in General Sewing Info on


Hello All! Hang on spring’s almost here! <!—-><!—->

Please help me with my recurring problem. I have trouble with neck facings, they won’t lie flat. I’m careful not to stretch the outside edge when finishing it, I cut accurately, clip the seam allowance close to the stitching, press and understitch the seam…and still a bit of fluting. Do I have to allow for the turn of the cloth? If so, how? Should I cut the facing smaller? Do I have to loosen the tension?


  1. kjp | | #1

    I usually cut my facings wider than the 1 - 1 1/2 inches pattern companies include.  I find that this helps them to stay put.  Also I have started using stay tape at the neck edge to prevent stretching.  Seems to help.  Another option is to use a bias binding at the neck edge in place of the facings.  Good luck!  Karin

    1. user-320326 | | #2

      Thanks for the sugestions. I'll give them a try.

  2. suesew | | #3

    Fluting sounds like something is stretching. Have you tried a little light weight interfacing on the facing? That might help. Also when you understitch make sure that you have the facing fabric laying in its actual shape and are pushing the outer layer out of the way as you sew. Many sewers try to do just the opposite - keeping the shape of the outer neckline flat and pushing the facing out of theway. The shape of the facing needs to be flat and smooth.

    1. user-320326 | | #6

      I have interfaced. Good point regarding keeping the shape of the facing. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to give it a try.

      1. HeartFire | | #7

        if you interface the facings, with fusible, fuse the stuff to the fabric FIRST, then cut out the facing piece. this way you don't have a funky bias edge loosing its shape.

        1. user-320326 | | #14

          Thanks for the help. That little trick I used in my last project and it helped.

  3. sewpro | | #4

    What shape is the neckline you are having problems with? Janet

    1. user-320326 | | #5

      Just a simple round neckline, I think it's refered to as a jeweled neckline.

      1. sewpro | | #8

        I am wondering if the neckline is too big for your body. In that case, you would want to fold out a small amount in the pattern at the neck opening, say 3/8" or 1/2". Other than that, the most successful way I have found to deal with a neckline that stands away from the body is to take a running stitch by hand using a double thread. 1) try on garment and pin the area(s) that stand out. 2) Measure the finished edge when pinned. 3)Take out pins and run a stich as close to the edge as possible (You can do this on the inside). 4) Gather threads until neck edge equals measurement you recorded earlier. Tie off and knot threads securely. 5) Distribute gathers and press neckline from wrong side. Usually no gathers are visible, especially if you distribute them over a large enough area of the neckline. This works like "magic". Good luck and let me know if this works for you. Janet

        1. SewTruTerry | | #9

          A tip that I learned from Cynthia Guffee regarding necklines is to clip and clip and clip you can not clip enough but do each layer seperately and not at the same place alternate from one to another and press press press.  If you still are having problems it may be that you did not stay stitch properly. Never stay stitch against the grain of the fabric.  This means that you will only be able to stay stitch about 2-3 inches before having to clip the threads and change the direction that you are sewing but it is worth it to have it lay flat. 

          1. sewpro | | #10

            Terry-thanks, but CJennings is having the neckline problems, not me!

          2. user-320326 | | #13

            I'm a bit confused. If you're stitching a curve how can you avoid crossing the grain? 

          3. SewTruTerry | | #15

            The way to avoid going against the grain for example in a neckline you may start at the shoulder and stitch only a couple of inches and then start at the center of the neckline and stitch towards the shoulder. It seems really more complicated in print than in reality but it really makes all of the difference in the world.  I will try to post a diagram later. But in all you make start and stop the stay stitching 4 times in a classic neckline.

          4. user-320326 | | #16

            Oh, I get it. So you wouldn't have on connected circle of stitches but four shorter ones that don't connect, leaveing some of the neck edge without stiches. I'm going to give it a try on the jacket I'm making now. Thanks Terry.

          5. SewTruTerry | | #17

            Actually all parts of the neckline are stitched just not in a continous line.  And don't thank me thank Cynthia Guffee who explained to me why this is so important.  It really controls the stretch.  And if you do it as a continous stitching line the machine will do exactly what you are trying not to do(stretch even the most stable wovens).

          6. user-320326 | | #18

            Thanks for the clarification Terry. Makes you wonder why the "old way" is give in the pattern instructions.

          7. SewBiz | | #19

            My tip for necklines is in the pressing of the interfacing to the neckline facings.

            After cutting neckline pieces, with pattern on, pin them on top of each other and do extra notches all around. When applying interfacing, place the pattern facing piece on the ironing board. Then place the fabric piece on top, and next the interfacing piece cut 1/8" smaller. Use the iron strait up and down, no sliding, to press it on.  Press to exact shape of pattern piece. This way you have no stretching.

            The extra notches help line it up exactly right.


          8. user-320326 | | #21

            Thanks for the help. I'll give it a try.

      2. mem1 | | #11

        I wouldjust take a little out of the seam at the shoulder . A bit like a dart and take it out until your facing lies flat and then re sew the seam.It is helpful to fuse first and then to cut out your facing but if you are fixing a problem then the taking out of the little wedge of fabric at the shoulder seam works dfine

        1. user-320326 | | #12

          Thanks very much for the help. I'll give it a try.

  4. soie | | #20

    for your neckline
    reinforce the neckline by staystiching along the seamline
    do facing a little smaller than the neckline and fuse interfacing,
    sew both
    Press open and after pres in oder to have all the seam on the facing side
    left 1/4 inc
    and stich facing plus seams on the right side very close to the fist seam
    the neckline must lay flat
    sorry because my american is probably bad so ask if you don't follow

    1. user-320326 | | #22

      Thanks for the help. I'll give it a try.

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