How to Fix a Low Neckline with a Pleat


Do you have a top you love, but something’s a little off?  Most people don’t realize that ready made clothing does not fit most people off the rack.  Some have good tailors while some just got lucky!  I had a friend of mine ask about altering clothes to be more personalized & better fitting.  So, I thought I’d do some “how to” posts with some simple fixes for common problems.  Today’s post is about one way to fix a low neckline – which seems to be a common problem for many women!

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fix a low neckline

Marking the Pleats

I tend to have a problem with low necklines because:

A. I need a larger size for my shoulders & arms and
B. My chest does not fill in the extra!

The top I’m working on today has been in my wardrobe for years.  It’s a shirt I wear to school with a little cropped wrap because it’s sleeveless.  Usually I wear a cami or pin the straps up to my bra to prevent accidental flashing. ? I work with mostly teenage boys & I have to lean over to help them on the computer.  You can imagine that things need to be covered!

There are many different ways to fix a neckline that’s too low.  This really depends on the top.  Today I’m going to pleat the front to help the top stay in place better.  There are two options – one center pleat or 2 (or more) pleats.

I prefer 2 pleats to help balance out the existing pleats.  The center pleat works better on tops like the one I altered in this post.  When you decide what pleats you want, take it off & pin it just below the top edge.  This keeps things in place & gives you access to the top for stitching.

Once everything’s pinned, thread a shorter needle & double the thread.  Do yourself a favor, buy good quality thread in black, white, & tan & a pack of needles.  The kits from the Dollar Tree are a dollar for a reason!  You’ll just wind up sewing it back together later because it’s going to break.

 Sewing the Pleat

Hopefully these pictures will help make the instructions clearer!

  1. When you hold the pleat together, push the back part down just a smidge to keep it from showing.
  2. To hide the knot, insert the needle right at the top of the fold.
  3. Come out of the fold with the needle & catch the back of the front fabric with the needle.  This will keep stitches from showing in the front.  This top has a lining, but most tops have at least some trim at the top to catch.
  4.  Take the thread back through the lining & come through all layers of the pleat.

After the start, it’s just a matter of criss-crossing the stitches for more security.  I went straight across the back to the next pleat without cutting the thread.

  1. Needle goes to left of thread from the back to the front.
  2. Needle goes to the right of the thread from the front to the back, coming out to the left of the last back stitch.

When the stitches are done, hide the finishing knot.  Tie the knot with a little space between it & the fabric.  Then insert the needle through the back pleat, coming out a good distance.  Give it a good tug & you should hear a little pop.  Pull the thread up a bit & cut.

Now, try it on to see if it’s working!  Mine needs a few more stitches to help the pleats lay flatter.

Extra Stitches

A few extra stitches will help the pleats lay flatter & git rid of the gap.  You may or may not need this depending on the top you’re working on.  These photos show you what not to do!  Going across the top to start seems logical at first.  Until you realize the knot will be almost impossible to hide.

A better option is to start underneath the pleat & come out in the fold.  Then it’s just a matter of going across, up, down, & back around!  Come back out under the 2nd pleat & cut & tie the thread.

Now everything lays much flatter & no stitches are visible from the front.

Now I feel more “secure” for teaching time!

This really only takes about 10 minutes to do – especially if you don’t have to take pictures too!  I plan on doing more of these in the future, maybe 1-2 times a month.  They will always be on Mondays because that day is dedicated to sewing & yarny things.  I’ll try to address some common problems with tops & bottoms.

If you have an issue with your clothes you’re struggling with, let me know!  I’d love to help out & address in a post for others!  Y’all have a marvelous Monday!




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  1. Guida says:

    Thank you for this, great tutorial. My mother was a dressmaker, she still is sort of (Mum has dementia) and can barely work out how to switch the machine on. Sadly Mum couldn’t teach me to sew, it was always stressful for me, she was a perfectionist. This tutorial of yours has given me some excellent ideas. Thanks again.

    • Kristie Cook says:

      It is always good to hear that my post is helpful! Some people are just not good at teaching the things they know. Sorry your mother has dementia, that’s tough to deal with.

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