Shirts/tops with high neck line

NOTE! Please read “IMPORTANT to read before adapting shirts/tops” to decide what type of back suits you best. Also note that these instructions can be followed for SHIRTS and other hooded or collared TOPS.

You will need a shirt or other collared or hooded top (slightly looser fit) for this as well as some non-stretch cotton for pattern making and some fabric in a matching colour for the actual adaption/replacement piece (fig. 1).

Regular button-down dress shirt, front and back

Mark and then cut the inner yoke piece away using the seams surrounding the back yoke as a guide and give yourself a 1 cm allowance. Cut carefully as you will use this piece as a base for your pattern (fig. 2 and 3).

Mark och cut the inner yoke piece away using 1 cm allowance


Carefully cut out yoke piece and shirt with cut out



Cut the removed shirt (yoke) piece in half. Place one of the halves on fabric (use cheap cotton) and redraw the piece adding 1 cm to the top, bottom and sides of it. Do not add  to the middle of the piece (center) (fig. 4 and 5).

Cut the yoke piece in half

Put piece on cotton fabric and redraw top, bottom and side lines adding 1 cm - do not add to the middle

Using a ruler make a mark approximately 2 cm up from the shoulder point and 3 cm up from the mid neck point on the center fold. Use the neck and shoulder points on the original piece as a guide but measure from the redrawn line. This is an estimate for a medium size shirt. For large to very large size shirt you may want to add another extra 0,5 to 1 cm. For smaller sizes you may want to use 0,5 cm less. See illustration (fig. 6) below image I and II.

Use the original redrawn lines as a guide and drew new line along the top connecting the points (fig. 6 image III).

Cut out the piece and lay on a new piece of cotton (fig. 6 image IV and V).

Mark out and redraw the top line lifting it at shoulder and center points. Cut out redrawn piece.

Add new seam allowance of 1 cm to the top, side and bottom but not the center line and cut out. This is now your pattern piece (fig. 7).

Add 1 cm allowance on top, bottom and side - not center- of the redrawn and cut piece

Lay your pattern piece on your matching fabric. Cut the piece on the fold i.e. lining up the center line with the folded edge of the fabric (fig. 8 and 9).

Lay the pattern piece on the fold on your chosen fabric

Folded out piece of fabric ready for adaption

Overlock or zig-zag the edges of the piece to stop fraying (fig. 10).

Overlock or zig-zag the edges of the piece to stop fraying

Fold all the edges under 1 cm and press well (fig. 11).’

Fold all the edges under 1 cm and press

Zig-zag the raw edges of the shirt if possible. Cut small notches in the corners of the hole on the shirt. This allows for more movement of the original garment when inserting the new piece (fig. 12).

Zig-zag rhe raw edges of the hole on the shirt and cut small notches in the corners

Begin to pin the new adapted piece to the shirt. Start at the bottom (at the middle point) and work your way out and up to the centre top. Fold the ends under when you get to them. This might take some manipulating and readjustment to fit (fig. 13).

Pin the adaption piece in place. Start from the middle bottom and work around

Hand sew adaptation piece into place (fig. 14).

Hand sew adaptation piece into place

Finished example of the shirt (fig. 15).

Finished example of the shirt

The same methods can be used on other collared or hooded garments. Use a shirt for comparative placement of the cut line, then follow the same instructions (fig. 16).

Adaptation done on a hooded garment using shirt with yoke as guide

Alternative garment examples (fig. 17).

Alternative garment examples


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