Refashioned: Non-Gaping Neckline


I know for sure I’m not the only one that feels a bit uncomfortable wrangling kids with a gaping top. We’ve talked about this before, when I wrote about my slouchy tee refashion. Slouchy & gaping tees are fun to wear. They offer both style & pajama-like comfort, but there’s one problem: the gaping necklines. So we’re here talking about them again.

(see how the wide collar gapes?)

I found a fantastic mid-length dress at Ruche (Way to go, Ruche, for offering mid-length dresses & skirts this season!), but I had the sneaking suspicion that the neck would be too wide. That proved to be true. This idea for a refashion hit as I was debating whether I should keep it or not. I decided it was worth the $40 risk. 

I used a piece of leather to gather the back into a bow-like shape. It doesn’t change much of the neckline, but it does tighten it down a bit so that when I bend over, my girls don’t show.

I’m glad I took the risk! I’m excited to start working this into my regular wardrobe.

Read more for how to do it yourself! You’ll find yourself finishing this refashion in a matter of minutes. It’s really that easy.

Put the top on a dress form & mark the centerline & where you want the gathering to stop. For me, this ended up being about 10-11 inches from the top of the dress. Grab a friend to help you mark the spot if a dress form isn’t available.

Figure out how big a “knot” you want. I used leather, but you could definitely use a tube of jersey or anything else for that matter. If it’s not leather or felt, finish the edges. For me, it was 1 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches.

Make a slit slightly smaller than your “knot” piece, where you made your marking in the first step. Add fray check around the edges for extra stability.

Thread your leather/knot piece through the small slit & sew ends together along the back side. Since my top was actually a dress, there was a lot of weight pulling on the slit I made, creating an ugly gap. I reinforced the slit by hand sewing it into the pleats & the knot piece.

Add more fray check for extra stability.

Turn right side out & enjoy your family-friendly slouchy top!

You’ll love how it looks from the back, you’ll want to wear your hair up. Enjoy!

• Terms of Use •

This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this text, publish more than 1 photo or outright steal this idea for any publications. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!


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  1. Kassie says:

    That is so adorable!

  2. Katie says:

    Great idea! It looks great on you!

  3. Zoe says:

    Smart! I’ve also found that for dresses with that neckline (depending on the style) you can sometimes wear them backwards. The back part of the neckline is often higher and it gives you an interesting sort of exposed back look. Of course you’ve gotta remove any tags carefully and it has to be a dress that is sort of loosely structured….

  4. Elaine says:

    That’s such a cute idea. I love how it looks like a bow in the back!

    P.S. I think it’s so sad that you have to have that disclaimer up. People should know – it’s common sense… Have you considered watermarks too?

  5. michelle says:

    Love it! How clever! Great job!

  6. Really cool! I love it!!

  7. Emily says:

    Cute! And now for a strange question- how does it look backwards? I’m thinking it would look cute in my head but I’m not sure. . . .

  8. koko mo says:

    ahhh what an incredible idea, that is brilliant!! that made the dress like 10x cuter, wow i LOVE this, im definitely going to try

  9. Slip says:

    I really like the result of this one. It’s a nice feminine detail without being too frilly. Is the leather going to be okay in the wash?

  10. Merrick says:

    You come up with the most amazing things to do with leather! I LOVE this. I have several slouchy shirts that I inherited from a friend and have been trying to figure out how to wear them…so perfect timing on this one :)


  11. Anne says:

    That’s super cute! Does the leather make it more difficult to wash? Would this same idea work with plain fabric?

    • Melissa says:

      With this type of leather, washing it will only give it a more distressed patina. I’m not particularly worried about the wash & wear of the leather in this case as it is so small. I think it would work particularly well with fabric, too! I would just make a tube for the knotted part to avoid any raw edges.

  12. pilgrim says:

    i feel like i say this every time (or maybe i just think it) but LADY! you just have the most creative solutions to these things! i’m so impressed – every time! :D

  13. Melissa, you are so amazing. I love this refashion. And the length is perfect. I’m a huge fan of all longer skirts and dresses out right now.

  14. Reese says:

    That is so cute! Where do you buy your leather?

  15. Mallory says:

    I love the leather update! I always like those sorts of gathered necklines, but it looks equally cute on the back too.

  16. shalini says:

    What a great re-do. I have some gaping tops too….and would love to make them more wearable, but sadly I have no sewing skills.

  17. […] Refashioned: Non-Gaping Neckline » ISLY | I Still Love YouJan 26, 2012 … I know for sure I’m not the only one that feels a bit uncomfortable wrangling kids with a gaping top. We’ve talked about this before, when I wrote … […]

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