A Quick Way to Add Coverage to a Wide Bateau Neckline

In my review of New Look 6838, Tina commented,

I am intrigued with this modification of using the piece of fabric across the shoulder. How & where would I attach that fabric insertion?

I had already started on a sleeveless version of the top with the extra striped fabric, so I figured I would do a quick version to show you. This is more brute force than elegant. But in the words of Jim Blinn at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “Brute force is a wonderful methodology.” So here’s what I did.

  1. Cut two rectangles of fabric, measuring 3 inches by 5 inches.
  2. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, so you have a 1.5 inch by 5 inch strip.
  3. Stitch or serge the long raw edge.
  4. Turn and baste your neckline hem, then position the fabric strips underneath at the shoulders, and pin them to the garment, having the serged edges even with the edge of your neckline hem, and the folded edge extending out about 1 inch from the shoulder seam.

    6838 Shoulder Strip 1
    This is after it’s been sewn in, but you get the idea.
  5. Stitch the neckline hem down, catching the fabric strips in the stitching
  6. Trim away any excess fabric.

    Trim any excess strip fabric underneath.
    Trim any excess strip fabric underneath.


Ideally, you should insert these and finish the neckline right after sewing the shoulder seams, but before attaching sleeves or sewing the side seams. If I do it again, I would probably draft a pattern piece, but this works in a pinch. Here’s a view of the finished front:

Look ma, no straps!
Look ma, no straps!

This keeps those pesky bra straps under wraps! Hope that helps and…

Happy sewing!

ETA 6-9-15: Dear Simplicity, Leaving sleeves off a sleeved top does NOT magically make it a well-drafted sleeveless pattern. Take a clue from StyleArc and give different front and back pattern pieces. #lazydrafting #grrrrr #thatgoesforyoutoomcvoguerick

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Gorgeous Fabrics

I own an online fabric store, www.GorgeousFabrics.com. The name says it all!

8 thoughts on “A Quick Way to Add Coverage to a Wide Bateau Neckline”

  1. That’s a great idea! (Especially for those of us whose bra straps are, er, getting larger with age…) I’ve seen variations on RTW tops that are shaped like a triangle, on necklines with more of a straight-across boatneck.

  2. Love the idea! I’m not sure the neckline is for me (broad shoulders already). But I wondered if you ever did a post about how to alter a pattern that normally has sleeves to make it sleeveless?

  3. Pattern companies AND ready to wear seem to grade patterns for plus size such that the neck opening are huge. I need this for just about everything. How would you draft a pattern for it? Thanks!

  4. This idea was put into BurdaStyle 6762 Spring/Summer catalog pattern. They used lace for the shoulder fill-in.

    1. Oh, what a fun idea! You can also use contrasting prints or colors. I thought about a red inset for this top but decided to use the same fabric instead.

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