Changing Neck Line
I made matching BB dresses for my two older girls and I think they turned out great! My 6 year old loves hers, but my 8 year old complains that the neckline is too tight, especially when she sits down, because it pulls back on her and she feels like it’s choking her. So, she leaves the top button unbuttoned…at least she has long hair to cover it! 🙂 I did adjust the bodice length on hers (my older girls are tall and thin), and I’m afraid I made it longer than I should have, so I’ve wondered if that is impacting how it pulls when she sits, but I think she’d just prefer a looser neckline. Or maybe I made the bodice too tight? But it seems to have just enough give, although she complains it pulls her shoulders back. She is still young enough that she has a hard time finding the technical vocabulary to describe her complaints; it took a good two weeks to figure out her vision for her Halloween costume, ha ha.
Okay, so here’s my question. I’m wanting to make matching Christmas dresses for all four of my girls but I want to make sure my oldest daughter is comfortable. I have a great quilting cotton weight buffalo plaid, and I planned to make the BB dress silhouette with the Peter Pan collar. Where should I start with adjusting the bodice to make her more comfortable, and how should I adjust the collar once I’ve adjusted the bodice? Or would I be better off skipping the collar? The thing that’s making me nervous is figuring out the collar and bodice adjustments together. But maybe the collar doesn’t need adjustment?Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch
Hi Becca, if you lower or scoop out the neckline then you would need to make adjustments to the length of the collar do that it still fits.
I wonder if perhaps what your daughter needs is a Forward Shoulder Adjustment (FSA). This moves the shoulder seam forward and helps prevent the front neckline from falling backwards and feeling like it’s trying to choke you.
I couldn’t find an Oliver +S tutorial for this, but if you do an internet search for Forward Shoulder Adjustment I’m sure you’ll find an easy to follow tutorial.
Thanks, @lightningmcstitch! I’m so new to sewing and don’t have any real formal training, so I had no idea that a forward shoulder adjustment was even a thing, but it sounds like just what she needs. I’ll google it. Thank you so much! Do you have any suggestions on how I should change the shape of the collar based on changing the neckline? I think she’d like a little looser neckline anyway, even if I don’t add much of a scoop neck.Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch
It’s just a matter of adding length to the collar as you add length to the neckline. Adjust your neckline (lowering, widening etc) then measure the new neckline at the stitching line. Compare that to the original and add the same length to the collar. They’re curved lines so you end up freehand drawing it.
The good thing is that collars are only small and if you make up a little one in calico to see how it fits you can then cut it out of your dress fabric without fear of getting it wrong.
Play around with it.
Once you have the principle of easing a collar in so that it lays flat (practiced already with the original pattern) you’ll quickly find it “feeling right” when your adjusted pieces need to be eased in to the neckline in a similar manner.Liesl GibsonKeymaster@liesl
I would suggest altering the neckline to suit her preferences and then using the Peter Pan Collar instructions in the Building Block Dress book to develop a new collar. This will be much simpler than trying to alter the collar that comes with the pattern. I hope that helps!
Hey I just wanted to check back in and thank you for your ideas! Another friend recommended adding fabric to the back at the zipper. So, I altered the neckline by making it lower (I ended up using the bias finish, which looks great), and I added an inch to each side of the zipper. She loves it, it worked out great!
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