Tutorial: How to Add a Turtleneck to any Tee Pattern
Turtlenecks are back in a really big way, and the cozy clothes lover in me is ALL about it. For most of us, making a turtleneck is high up on our list of priorities for our fall sewing.
But which pattern to choose?
There are many patterns on the market that make it easy to sew your own turtleneck, but as I'm sure you know, with every pattern purchase comes a laundry list of adjustments that will need to be made in order to make it fit your frame. Plus, you're probably going to want to make a muslin before you hack into your pricey fabric.
This is a lot of work.
What if you could just hack on a turtleneck to a pattern you already have and love?
This tutorial here today is going to show exactly how to do that. You can take any knit tee pattern you already have and work through this tutorial with me! I used this same method to make my Classic, Cozy Turtleneck and I plan to use it a whole lot more.
So let's get started!
PS: The short and sweet of this is: Turtlenecks are really just taller neckbands. Increase the height of your band to achieve this look. If you aren't totally familiar with what I just said here, don't panic, read on for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Sew your shirt as usual, leaving off the neckband finishing. You may wish to consider raising the height of your neckline if it's lower-cut, but that's up to you and your vision as the designer.
Measure the size of your neck opening. This measurement will help us to figure out how wide the turtleneck should be. Now, typically when making a neckband we want the band portion to be a little smaller than the neck opening because the tension helps keep things looking smooth. There's no magic number to figure out how much smaller your band should be than your neck opening, it's all subjective based on your fabric type, but typically I like to draft my neckbands to be 90% of the size of the neck opening.
Here's how I calculate the size of neckband I need:
If my neck measurement is 20"...
20 x .9 = 18"
My finished neckband will need to measure 18"
If you didn't alter your neckline, you can just measure the length of the neckband that comes with your pattern and forget about all the math. - yay!
Now that we know the size we would like the finished neck band to be, it's time to cut it out of our fabric. We're going to want to cut a rectangle on the fold that's just as long as the neckband measurement we found in step two.
But how high should this rectangle be? That depends.
You can make your neckline as high as you want, the world is really your oyster here. For the turtleneck shown in this tutorial, I decided I wanted the turtle neck to rise 6" up my neck. Another turtleneck I made with a Lekala pattern had a rise of about 1.5". It goes without saying that the taller you make the rectangle the slouchier and taller the turtleneck will be, so take that into consideration when deciding how tall you'd like your turtle neck will be. Anything goes!
Once you've decided how tall your rectangle should be, it's time to cut it out.
With a piece of fabric folded in half, draw a rectangle as long as the band length we calculated in step two along the folded line, and the height you decided you wanted your turtleneck to be perpendicular to the fold. Next, add your desired seam allowance around all sides, and cut it out. If you just used the measurements from your neckband pattern piece in step two, you won't need to add seam allowances to the short sides of the rectangle because they should already be added on the pattern piece.
At the end of this step, you should have a rectangle that's just as wide as your neckband length plus seam allowances, and double the height of your desired turtleneck height plus seam allowances.
Sew the short ends of your rectangle, right sides together, into a round circle. Since we're using knits, you should be using the zig-zag stitch on your machine.
Fold the neckband in half with right sides facing out. You should have something that now looks a little bit like a turtleneck - awesome! At this step, you can baste the ends of the turtleneck together to make it easier to handle in step six, or just leave it be.
Divide your turtleneck into quarters and mark with pins, then divide your neck opening into quarters and mark with pins. Place the neck opening inside the turtleneck band, right sides together, and match the pins together, stretching the band to match the neck opening. Sew along this seam with a zig-zag stitch, and you're all done!
There you have it! All that's left to do is wear your turtleneck out and feel fabulous.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for adding a turtleneck to you favourite tee pattern. If you make something with this PLEASE give me a tag, I want to see it, @thewildstitch
Until next time,