How to Fix a Plunging Neckline

Plunging necklines can be a total pain, especially when the kids are still young and most of your day consists of bending down and picking up (a far less attractive version of the bend and snap). Adding a tank underneath is usually my go-to, but in this 100 degree weather the thought of any more layers screams certain death. Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but I think we can all agree there are times when we want a little extra something’ somethin’ to help cover up.

Anshu, from Blooms and Bugs, first graced us with her presence with the Summertime Jumper tutorial. She is back now to show us how quick and easy it is to fix a plunging neckline with scrap fabrics. Make sure to also take note of her Maxi Dress tutorial for you and the reversible baby dress and fresh fruit applique skirt for your mini me.

Find out How to Fix a Plunging Neckline after the jump…

How to Fix a Plunging Neckline

Plunging necklines have been biggest of my pet-peeves when it comes to ready-to-wear clothing. I don’t understand why the retailers feel compelled to draw out necklines all the way to waist. Why not just make a strapless dress/top/tunic? Anyway, that’s how it is and short of just buying button downs and polos there’s nothing we could do about it. Oh wait! there’s actually something we CAN do. Fix that neckline, and its not that hard either.

Here’s a tunic I recently found in the clearance section of Old Navy. It’s a light airy cotton woven, with a beautiful print in turquoise and magenta. Had long sleeves ( something I prefer). The problem? Of course the neckline sits way too low.

I looked in my scraps bin and found two knit fabrics that matched very closely with the tunic colors. Now I realize that not everyone hoards as much fabric as I do, but the trick here is to make it work with whatever you have. Probably you could find some yellow which is the accent color or black, or you had a tee in the same color which you wanted to retire. Just find some fabric that would look good with the garment and go from there.

I used the hem of a tank top that I had re-purposed earlier. It had some stretchy lace on it which I thought was a good bonus. I cut a strip about 4 inches wide from magenta and 1 inch wide from turquoise. Then I sew them along their long sides ( right sides together).

This is how it looked after I ironed and top-stitched on the right side.

Now place it between the front and back of the tunic such that the piece sits symmetrically at the neck and covers the ‘V’ to the point you would like.

Don’t worry about the excess fabric hanging inside. We will take care of it later.

Now hand-baste the add-on fabric piece in place with running stitches.  If your add-on fabric has some stretch like mine, stretch it just a little while you baste it. This will ensure that the neckline doesn’t gape when you wear it.

I know most of you will cringe at the thought of hand-stitching but this step is important for a great fit and you can go as rough as you like. Just make sure the piece will stay in its place for half an hour max. That’s all you need.

Now set your sewing machine on minimum speed and match the stitch length to whatever has been used in the original garment ( you don’t need to be precise, just make a guess) now sew a seam over the original neckline seam ( preferably). You don’t have to be very precise but it will be good to not have too many seams at the neckline, because its a highly visible part of the garment and too many seams may make it unappealing. If you go slow and steady, its not that hard to follow the original seam anyway.

Here’s how the fabric looks on the inside.

Now we can cut off the excess fabric.

There! much better! Here is the tunic, modeled on me. No plunging neckline! yay!

I could have left it as is at this point but since I had a couple more minutes in hand, I decided to take it up a notch further. The tunic had an interesting print on its hem and sleeve cuffs. I decided to see if I could recreate the look on my add on.

To do this I slipped a sturdy paper (camera ad insert from Sunday newspaper) between the  front and back of my tunic. This would prevent any color bleed to the back of the tunic while I painted in the front.

Then I pulled out my fabric markers and Tulip Soft Fabric Paints.

I drew the damask design on the neck fabric using fabric markers. Its actually quite easy but if you have never used them before, just try them on a scrap fabric first. I couldn’t draw the whole motif on my fabric but I think it does have a fair resemblance to the original design. Then I filled the big flower in the middle with yellow fabric paint. Then I placed the whole thing on a flat surface to dry for about 2 hours.

And that’s all! The tunic was ready, neck and all. I have already gotten many complements when I wore it to the office. I know its probably because of the colorful summery print and great fit, but I am just so happy that I didn’t have to pass it because of the neckline.



Jenny K

Very nice! I have a shirt at home that gaps so low, the tops of my bra cups appear even when I’m not bending over. I’m going to fix it when I get home. Thank you for the great tutorial!


Just brilliant! Fixed a t-shirt perfectly by following these simple instructions (and I’m not very good with a sewing machine). Thank you so much.

Alice Carroll

I totally agree with how you mentioned that adding a stretchy lace to the cleavage cover is a nice touch. I recently bought a very comfortable sundress that has quite the neckline. I hope I can buy myself cleavage covers that are lacy because that would easily mesh well with the dress.


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