How to Sew a Knit or Jersey V Neck
Personally I love a V neck and find them very flattering. They seem to accentuate the bust whilst also revealing the collar bone for a nice slimming effect. I'd never sewn one in jersey until I made my tropical maxi dress and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to draft and sew a knit V neck.
Drafting a Jersey V Neckband
First sew the bodice at the shoulder seams leaving the side seams open. I should mention I've used contrasting thread for this tutorial so it is easy to see.
Measure the neck line all the way around. I find the easiest way to do this is to fold the garment in half placing the shoulder seams on top of one another, measure half of the neckline and multiply by two.
Next calculate 10% of the total length and subtract 10% from the full neckline measurement. I find it easier to do these calculations in centimetres, although I work in inches for my sewing.
Add on 4.5cm for your seam allowances. This probably sounds like a lot, but you will be cutting a V shape out of the end of the band plus you will need a 1/4" seam allowance. All will be revealed below!
This will give you the initial neckband length to cut. You may need to reduce the length of the neckband further depending on the amount of stretch in the fabric you are working with, but it is better to start with it too long then reduce it if necessary. Always cut your binding so the length of the band is in the direction of the most stretch.
For a 1/4" wide binding with a 3/8" seam allowance cut a strip of fabric 1 and 1/4" wide and as long as required dictated by your calculations above.
Fold the band in half lengthways right sides together. 5/8" from the raw edge measure 5/8" across the width to find the centre point and mark it. Draw two diagonal lines from each corner meeting at the centre point you marked. Cut along the lines to create a V shape.
With right sides together sew 1/4" seam along the V shape.
If you want to double check your measurements measure 1/4" from the centre point all the way around the band back to 1/4" from the centre point on the other side. This measurement should be the same as the neckline of your bodice minus 10%.
Testing the V Neckband Length
Before pinning your neckband in place it is a good idea to test the length in case you need to shorten it. If the neckband is too long it won't pull the bodice fabric in and will be baggy and loose around your neck.
Quarter your bodice and your neckband, you can see instructions on how to do this here. It is about two minutes into the video.
Match up the quarter points on your neckband and bodice and join them with pins.
Examine the bodice and neckband. In order to pin the neckband in place you should have to stretch it slightly to fit the neckline. Not so much that the neckline is gathered, just slightly. Judging this is something you will get better at with practice.
If you don't have to stretch the neckband at all and it matches the neckline it is too long. Sew another seamline parallel to your original one on the neckband. How much smaller you need to make it will depend on how far out it is in the first place. If you are unsure just work with small amounts and keep testing it until you are happy.
Attaching the V Neckband
Once you are happy with the length of the neckband snip to the centre point of the V making sure you don't snip through the stitches.
Press the seam allowances open then fold the neckband in half lengthways with wrong sides together and press.
Snip the excess fabric protruding the V shape.
Stay stitch just inside your seam allowance around the V on your bodice. Clip to, not through the stitching line at the centre point.
Quarter the neckband and bodice then match the quarter points.
At the V you need to line the concave V of the bodice up with the convex V of the neckband as shown in the image.
Machine stitch around the V using your required seam allowance. This will ensure everything stays in the right place.
You can then either use an overlocker to sew the rest of the neckline or your sewing machine if you don't have an overlocker.
Here is the finished V neck from the right side...
And the wrong side...(confession time I forgot to put the foot of my overlocker down for the first few stitches hence they are slightly loose - oops!)
I hope you've enjoyed this little tutorial.
Have fun sewing!
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