Top tip – V neckline finishing
Mrs Bowden’s top tip – how to avoid a wrinkly neckline
Finishing details can improve your home dressmaking and provide a deep level of satisfaction! They make all the difference between an ‘ahhhh did you make that?’ to a ‘wow, did you make that!’.
This week’s top tip deals with the potentially tricky issue of finishing a v-neck line. These are prone to stretch as the cutting of the fabric crosses the bias grainline (see previous top tip ‘Grainlines’) and the line can become distorted.
Firstly stay stitch the neckline. Stay stitching reduces the risk of stretching as it makes the fabric ‘stay’ in place. Set your machine to the stitch length for the fabric you are using and stitch 2 mm from the final stitching line (within the seam allowance). For example, if your seam allowance is 1.5 cm the stay stitching is done at 1.3 cm so it doesn’t show on the outside of the garment BUT it is close enough to the stitching line to hold the fabric in place. Work from the edge to the point.
There are lots of choices for finishing a neckline and many commercial patterns will provide a facing pattern to use which encloses the whole neckline and stabilizes it. However, if you don’t have a centre front seam there is a tendency for the facing to bunch at the point of the v-neck which is unsightly. Borrowing a tip from our stitching sisters of long ago, we can also use a bias binding made from the garment fabric to add a dainty finish to a v-neckline.
To start, fold your bias tape (1 ¾”/ 4.5 cm) with wrong sides together. Stitch to the outside of the garment, ¼” (5 mm) from the edge (right side of bias to right side of garment).
Sew the bias and stop at the apex of the neckline (the pointiest bit).
Now stitch the other side of the neckline being careful to stop at the same point.
At this point you will need to be brave and clip the fabric at the apex to allow the bias to turn to the back and avoid a lumpy ‘v’.
Now sew the edges of the bias together making sure you start on the apex point to avoid a gap in the stitching.
Stretch the outer edge of facing to fit the curve into the neckline. Roll the bias to the inside, press and slip stitch in place.
Here is a picture of the technique in action on my 1940 tea (you may not be able to see but this dress is covered in deer).