Drafting Necklines: Learning to Refine Curves

There are infinite neckline options available, but to make one that looks good on you, we’ll first do a study on the shape of necks: our own necks, as well as the necklines of our favorite garments.


If you look at your body from the side, you’ll notice the front neck dips down further than the back neck. This is why you’ll notice most shirts are cut lower in the front. This measurement of the distance between the highest point of your shoulder to the lowest point of the neckline is called the neck drop.

Since the body is a curved form, it can be difficult for beginners to measure a neck drop straight off the body. You can get an idea of what an ideal neck drop would be by measuring the clothes in your closet, some of your favorite necklines, and seeing how they compare. Also note how wide the neck opening (width from edge to edge) is on these favorite garments.

This chart shows a highly generalized selection of neckline widths, just to give you an idea of what industry standards are. I’ve gotta repeat though…


This is why we are making our own clothes, to break out of the industry standards and make our own way. However, there is no sartorial liberation without first understanding the systems we are liberating from (especially if you’re basing the garments you’d like to make on these traditions).


Before we start making a pattern, we’ll do a drawing on our croquis.

christi johnson