How to Make a V-Neck Insert


Recycle a worn T-shirt or pullover and transform it into a V-neck silhouette. Revamp the basic T-shirt by adding a premade V-neck insert such as stretch lace for a dress-up style or add a complementary color in a textured fabric to create an athletic-type jersey. Taking preliminary measurements ensures the insert fits into the center front neckline opening. Also, incorporating fabric blends with spandex gives sufficient stretch so the garment will fit over your head.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Ruler
  • Pattern paper
  • Drafting pencil
  • Thin-tip felt marker
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric (your choice)
  • Straight pins
  • Premade lace V-neck insert
  • Sewing machine
  • Edge stitch foot attachment
  • Serger machine
  • Overlock machine

Making the V-Neck Insert

  • Cut around the neckline of the T-shirt with sharp fabric scissors and remove the rib collar. Save the collar for another project.

  • Measure the midpoint of the front collar with a flexible tape measure. Mark the midpoint with tailor's chalk.

  • Position a ruler vertically at the midpoint to measure the desired length of the V-neck, referred to as the neckline depth.

  • Cut a vertical slit at the midpoint of the collar using the dimension from the previous step.

  • Spread the V-neck until you are satisfied with the V-neck opening. This is the width of the V-neck, referred to as the distance or spread. The fabric insert is placed in the opening in a later step.

  • Position your ruler horizontally on pattern paper. Draw a line using the distance measurement from the previous step with a drafting pencil or thin-tip felt marker.

  • Position the ruler vertically at the midpoint of the horizontal line. For instance, if the V-neck distance is 3 inches, position the ruler at the 1½-inch center point. Draw the vertical line using the V-neck depth measurement from Step 3.

  • Draw the V-neck shape by connecting the two outer points of the horizontal line with the vertical line. The V-neck pattern appears, resembling an upside down triangle.

  • Add a ½-inch seam allowance around the V-neck pattern insert. You need the added allowance to serge the insert to the T-shirt neckline.

  • Cut out the pattern with paper scissors. Pin it to the selected insert fabric such as jersey or Lycra with straight pins.

  • Cut out the V-neck fabric insert with fabric scissors to avoid jagged raw edges.

  • Pin the V-neck insert to the T-shirt opening made in Steps 4 and 5.

Making the V-Neck for a Premade Insert

  • Measure the depth and distance of the premade lace V-neck insert with your ruler.

  • Repeat Steps 2 and 4 from the previous section to find the neckline's midpoint. Use the length measurement from the previous step in this section for cutting the vertical slit.

  • Spread the V-neck opening using the distance measurement from this section's Step 1.

Stitching the V-Neck Insert

  • Change the sewing machine's stitch selector wheel to a long stitch.

  • Stitch a stay stitch around the T-shirt's V-neck area with the long stitch. Use the edge stitch foot attachment to guide the stitch close to the raw edge. This step ensures the V-neck does not continue to spread while stitching the insert.

  • Pin the fabric insert made in Section 1 or the premade insert from Section 2 within the stitched V-neck area. This step is a bit tricky because the V-neck has a stay stitch, which reduces flexibility. Make sure the raw seams are facing the wrong side of the fabric.

  • Serge the pieces together with a serger machine. If your serger has a knife to trim off the raw edges, take extra time as you approach the V-point. The knife can cut an unwanted angled slit through the V-point and into the fabric. Another alternative is to use an overlock machine, using an overlock stitch. This process adjoins the T-shirt body and V-neck insert using the flat overlock stitch for a clean finish.


  • "The Sewing Book: An Encyclopedia Resource of Step-By-Step Techniques"; Alison Smith; 2009
  • "Pattern-Making by the Flat-Pattern Method: Fifth Edition"; Norma R. Hollen; 1981
  • "Singer Sewing Book: The Complete Guide to Sewing"; Gladys Cunningham; 1969
  • Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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