How to add a Boat Neck to a Woven Dress Pattern

Considering adding a boatneck to your next sewing project? This tutorial will walk you through the steps of modifying a pattern you already have to do the trick! Don't have a pattern in mind? I have a great recommendation for a FREE dress pattern to get you started.

Boatnecks are one of my favourite necklines. They're modest, but not matronly. Classy, without too much effort. And generally, pretty great at hiding your bra straps. 

Basically my dream neckline. 

If you've been considering adding a boatneck onto your next dress project, this tutorial will show you how to easily alter a pattern in just a few steps. 

For this dress, I used the FREE Orla Dress Pattern by French Navy. However, any fitted bodice pattern you love will work for this tutorial. 

Let's get started!
 

How to Hack a Boatneck

 
Considering adding a boatneck to your next sewing project? This tutorial will walk you through the steps of modifying a pattern you already have to do the trick! Don't have a pattern in mind? I have a great recommendation for a FREE dress pattern to get you started.

Step 1: 

Remove your seam allowances from the neckline and shoulder seams. On the Orla Dress, this is 1cm.

STEP 2:

Trace your pattern piece (now without seam allowances around the neck or shoulders) on a new piece of paper. Swedish tracing paper, parchment paper, or brown craft paper will do the trick. Make sure there is plenty of space remaining on the paper to create your new pattern piece. 

Step 3:

On your traced pattern, raise the neckline along the center front. On the Orla dress, I added 3 1/4". For other patterns, your new line should be 2" - 2 1/2" inches shorter than your shoulder seam. 

Step 4:

On the shoulder seam, mark a point 2 inches out from the side closest to the armsyce (armhole). Connect this point to your new center front line in a smooth and gentle curve. Make sure that your neckline meets the center front at a straight, 90° angle for 1/4" or so to avoid create an accidental v-neck. 

Step 5:

Hold your new pattern piece up to your body. Pay special attention to the height of the neckline to determine if it needs to be lowered for your comfort. Retrace your new neckline if necessary. 

Step 6:

Add seam allowance back to the neckline and shoulder seams. 

BONUS:

With your new neckline, you'll need to consider how you'll want to finish it for a clean look. My personal preference for this style of neckline is either a facing or a lining. For more information on how to draft your own facing for the perfect finish, check out Anya's tutorial here. 

Considering adding a boatneck to your next sewing project? This tutorial will walk you through the steps of modifying a pattern you already have to do the trick! Don't have a pattern in mind? I have a great recommendation for a FREE dress pattern to get you started.
Considering adding a boatneck to your next sewing project? This tutorial will walk you through the steps of modifying a pattern you already have to do the trick! Don't have a pattern in mind? I have a great recommendation for a FREE dress pattern to get you started.
Considering adding a boatneck to your next sewing project? This tutorial will walk you through the steps of modifying a pattern you already have to do the trick! Don't have a pattern in mind? I have a great recommendation for a FREE dress pattern to get you started.