How to Fix a Neckline That’s Too Low

How to fix a neckline that's too low: droopy, sagging, stretched-out necklines? This hack shows you a quick, easy fix to perk them back up.

We’ve probably all got one; a t-shirt with a neckline that falls juuuust lower than we’d like. Or a sweater that started out fine, but after a few trips through the washer, it’s stretched out so that the neckline droops and sags. So how do you fix a neckline that’s too low? It’s surprisingly easy! I’ll show you four very simple ways to raise a neckline.

How to fix a neckline that's too low: droopy, sagging, stretched-out necklines? This hack shows you a quick, easy fix to perk them back up.

Method 1: Elastic Thread

Here’s a quick fix that works great on most casual wear with round necklines. A lot of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and dresses have a neck band that is made of a folded piece of fabric. This folded fabric forms a tube all the way around the neckline, which allows us to easily make the neckline smaller by adding some elastic cord inside that tube.

You will need a tapestry needle, which is a thick needle with a blunt tip and a large eye. You also need elastic thread, or 1/16″ (1.5 mm) elastic cord, if your shirt is thick and much heavier than a t-shirt. A doubled length of elastic thread will work fine for most shirts, but the elastic cord is the heavy-duty option if you’re fixing something thick or heavy, like this sweater:

droopy neckline

I got this gray sweater from a thrift store. I love it! But the gems on the shoulders add a lot of weight to the front of the shirt, which the neck ribbing is too weak to support. This pulls the front of the shirt down, and creates a large horizontal wrinkle that makes the whole shirt look droopy.

Thread the Elastic Through the Neckband

I threaded 1/16″ elastic cord through the tapestry needle and worked it all the way around the inside of the neckband, then slid the needle out through the same hole where it went in.

With this shirt, I could just push the needle in between the stitches on the neck band seam, and thread it in and back out of the tunnel without much of a problem. If you can’t get the needle and elastic to go in between the stitches, you have two other options:

making a tiny snip on the inside of the neck band

Instead of threading the needle in between the neckband stitches, you can also make a TINY snip here. Cut above the tag, through only the inside layer, and thread the elastic through the snip. Or, you can unpick a few stitches on the seam that joins the neckband into a circle.

Pull on the Elastic

After you have threaded the elastic cord all the way around the neck band, pull on the elastic to draw the neckline up. Try on the shirt to see how much slack to take up. But be careful that you don’t let the ends of the elastic cord disappear inside the neck band! Tie the ends in a temporary bow in order to keep track of them.

Tie a Knot

When you’re happy with your alteration, knot the elastic. Roll some permanent glue into the knot with your fingers, to make sure it doesn’t come undone (I use my favorite fabric glue.) Let the glue dry, cut the ends of the elastic short, and pop the knot inside the neck band. I used the blunt tip of the tapestry needle to help shove the knot inside. Ta daa! You’ve made the neckline of your shirt smaller!

fixing a droopy neckline

I have also used this trick on the armholes of tank tops that gaped too much. If you find that you took out the wrong amount of slack and you want to try again, it’s easy to undo it by cutting the elastic.

Add Some Gathers if You Want!

You can easily take out a few inches of slack without altering the way the rest of the garment hangs, especially if you’re correcting a shirt that was stretched out. But if you take up a large amount of slack, the fabric will have gathers around the neckline, which might suit you just fine. Take a look at this dark green rayon shirt that I added gathers to on purpose:

adding gathers to a t-shirt neckline

This lightweight ready-to-wear shirt had 4 tucks sewn in to the neckline when I got it. I thought it would look better with more gathers, so I added some with a doubled length of elastic thread. I like the way it hangs better, now that it has more gathers around the neck. The shirt was long enough that pulling it up so much didn’t make it too short for my liking.

how to fix a droopy neckline

This is my friend April. She wanted the neck of this shirt made smaller, because it was so floppy it was practically falling off her shoulders.

fixing a shirt with a droopy neckline

April’s shirt had small stitches securing the neckband seam allowances at one of the shoulders, so I went ahead and unpicked them in order to thread the elastic through. I re-stitched the neckband seam when I was done.

making a shirt neck smaller

If you are looking for another option, here are three more ways to fix a neckline that’s too low:

Method 2: Spring-Gate O-Rings

You can clip a spring-gate O-ring on each of your sleeves, trapping your bra strap and going around the neckline, like this:

Adding rings to t-shirt sleeves

I like the 1″ inner diameter rings for this purpose. It’s easy to swap out the rings to use them on a different shirt. Or, change out the color from gold, to silver, to bronze, to rose gold. I particularly like the way this trick works on V-neck shirts:

In addition to looking awesome and dressing up a plain tee, the rings tighten up the neckline. You end up with a higher but wider shape to the collar, almost like a Queen Anne look. And guess what? This is yet another one of my ways to keep your bra straps from slipping off your shoulders!

Method 3: Add a Modesty Panel

If you don’t like the O-ring idea, you might want to look into buying or sewing a modesty panel like this. Modesty panels attach to your bra straps underneath your shirt, and fill in the gap of your neckline.

Method 4: Add a Half-Camisole

Or, you can add a half-camisole like this over your bra. This will give you more coverage right where you need it, without adding too much bulk.

Now you know how to fix a neckline that’s too low!

About SnazzyBot

I am an artist and fashion designer with a passion for helping people bring their own creative dreams to life. I love sharing my projects with fellow crafters, and I hope you find ideas and inspiration on my blog! As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use my affiliate links to make a purchase.

30 Responses

  1. LC

    This is a fantastic idea!! Thank you so much. I do this all the time in the waistband of pants; I have not idea why I did not think to do this to necklines or to armholes. You have given me a new way to refashion and rescue nice clothing. Thanks!!

      1. LC

        Your idea is brilliant! I have already quickly fixed 8 nice knit shirts that I never wore and were destined for the donation or scrap pile. Not only do those wide necks no longer show my bra straps, they no longer hang off my shoulders or gape open at my neck and chest. Yet you can barely see any gathering in all but one, and the other one looks like it is a design feature! They look like they were fitted perfectly to me.
        Thank you so much!!

  2. Sara

    This is a great tip! Do you have a preferred method for dealing with too-low v-necks? Or is that a more complicated alteration?

    1. Hi Sara, usually this fix will draw the point of the V up more than the rest of the collar, since that’s where the elastic puts the most pressure. So your collar will end up looking more rounded. Also, a lot of V neck shirts have a study seam right at the point of the V, instead of in the back of the collar or at a shoulder seam, so it can be tricky to get around that and still have the point of the V look nice.

      But every shirt is a little bit different, with broader or steeper angles to the V, and different finishes at the point. I didn’t want to recommend using this fix on a V neck just because I didn’t want anyone to be surprised or disappointed by the results. But if your shirt is unwearable as it is, or if the point of the V isn’t too tricky to get the needle around, I would go ahead and try it up to the point where you tie the elastic in a temporary bow so that you can try the shirt on. And if you don’t like the way it looks, you can just pull the elastic out at that stage, no harm done. 🙂

      1. Sara

        Thank you so much for responding! Yes, that all makes sense, was just hoping for a magic way that didn’t require removing the sleeves and taking in at the top seam, but it looks like that might be the best way. Thanks again!

  3. Carolyn

    I would love to see a before and after picture where you fixed tank tops with arm holes that show a chunk of bra! I wish they’d quit making them that way!

    1. That’s a great idea! I have used this trick to shrink tank top armholes, and it works well, but I didn’t think to take pictures. Seriously, what’s the point of an armhole that low?!

  4. Judy Rogers

    Love this tutorial! I’m very narrow in my shoulders, which means almost all shirts fall off my shoulders. I’ll be using your tips a lot! Thank you much!

  5. Sylvia

    I love all of these fixes! I have shirts that I was going to get rid of but now I’m going to try your fixes! Yea!

  6. Kathy

    The idea of elastic thread through the neckline is BRILLIANT! I just fixed a shirt in 10 minutes—worked like a charm, just like your directions said. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for sharing this! So many practical fixes! I have used some of the ideas myself. I have sewn since I was8 . I am now 85. I have made just about everything you can stitch, both by hand and machine. I love to create and craft useful and beautiful things for myself and family and friends!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! So many practical fixes! I have used some of the ideas myself. I have sewn since I was8 . I am now 85. I have made just about everything you can stitch, both by hand and machine. I love to create and craft useful and beautiful things for myself and family and friends!

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