tips + tricks | delicate necklines

If you’ve ever found yourself swearing at your machine trying to finish the neckline of a silk garment, here’s a tip for you. Use lightweight interfacing to help the neckline hold its shape and add strength to keep things looking good wear after wear, extending the life of your garment. This is one of my favorite tips for working on necklines with garments that are made from delicate fabrics such as silk crepe de chine or silk chiffon, which is what I am using in this tutorial.
*note : I am only recommending this for necklines, I’ve never done this to any other seam, though that’s not to say you can’t give it a try. I definitely do not recommend doing this before you roll hem, I’m pretty sure you will not be happy with that result!

Step 1. For the first part of this tutorial you will need :
▲ a rotary cutter, mat and ruler
▲ ultra-lightweight woven fusible interfacing
You will want to choose your fusible interfacing based on the weight of the fabric you are using. Ultra-lightweight allows for virtually no change in the drape of most lightweight silks, though obviously it will make sheer fabrics more opaque if you allow it to show.

Using your rotary cutting supplies, make a bias cut through your fusible. Utilizing the bias will allow the interfacing strip to round your neckline quite nicely. Cut strips of bias fusible the width of your neckline seam allowance (mine was 1/4″). You will be stretching the bias slightly to help it round the curve so it won’t end up showing, don’t worry!

Step 2. For the second part of this tutorial you will need:
▲ an iron [I like to use my mini-iron for this but any iron will work]
▲ the fabric piece you will be interfacing
▲ your fusible bias strips
▲ an old ironing board cover or scrap fabric [you don’t want to ruin your nice cover!]
note : I like to leave my fabric pieces on the layer of paper I cut them through to be sure to maintain the intended neckline shape.

First off you will want to make sure you are fusing to the wrong side of your fabric. Starting at whichever end of the neckline that feels most comfortable to you, tack down the end of the fusible strip and hold the iron in place until the fusible is bonded to the fabric.

You are going to need to slightly stretch the interfacing strip so that it smoothly rounds the neckline, remember, you don’t want to pull tightly and create puckering, that’s no good, just gently. The easiest way to do this is while you are bonding one piece, pull slightly on the bias strip and align the next section in place, then bond that section and repeat working around the neckline.

Once you are have all your neckline pieces fused, you can go ahead and finish your neckline according to your pattern instructions, but don’t forget to clean your iron’s soleplate first to remove any glue it may have picked up during the process.

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13 Responses to tips + tricks | delicate necklines

  1. Grace says:

    I love your tutorials so much! This one is one that I’m sure I will find good use for soon. I have trouble finding a good variety of interfacing at my usual stores in NYC. Do you buy locally or do you have a supplier that you wouldn’t mind sharing the contact info for?

  2. indigorchid says:

    Great tip and tutorial! I did that to avoid fraying of the edges of some really misbehaving charmeuse – but I look forward to using it to make necklines and armholes keep their shape! I second the interfacing supplier – any good tips on a not-in-person source?

  3. jen | grainline says:

    I’ve been using this ultralightweight interfacing with good results. They used to only sell it by the bolt but it looks like it’s by the yard now, which is sort of a bummer b/c it’s more expensive this way. Boo.

  4. Sara says:

    loved this. and the tiny iron! I now want one.

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  6. Pingback: Working with Silk Necklines | EmploiCouturiere 28062011-01

  7. kiki says:

    I agry totaly with Sara thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!

  8. lau says:

    alternative tip is as soon as you cut out the bodice/neck piece etc, is do a line of single stitch around the neck or armhole near the edge (on or inside the seam allowance). that way it’ll hold its shape until time comes to sew it up – can be less fiddly than cutting interfacing on bias.

    but your way you get to use baby iron! SO VERY VERY CUTE I want one!

    • jen | grainline says:

      I do that for some fabrics but on such thin fabrics as chiffon etc, it often stretches and puckers the fabric to stitch so close to the edge.

  9. irene says:

    Thank you for the tip. Can you please tell me where I can purchase a little iron like you are using?
    Thank you for sharing this good idea.

  10. nicole says:

    how can you do this if you want to use a sheer fabric?

  11. Thank you for the tip!

  12. emyn says:

    Wonderful, so easy, where can i find such a mini iron, i live in south africa, and have never seen such iron. Thanks again, i like your lessons.

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