Vogue Pattern 8789 A reader’s question about fitting a gapping neckline


Hi Joi, I really enjoyed your class. It’s my first introduction to fitting and I have learned a lot. I’m currently trying to fit a vintage vogue pattern (v8789).  It has a v-neckline with a self-facing folded under. It is too gapey at the neckline (always my problem). I was wondering if you could possibly give me some advice on how to make it snugger at the neckline? I will attach a photo (I’ve already pinned the excess out and taken the muslin apart). Thanks, Fiona.


This is a great example of a student using my fitting techniques on any given fashion pattern. I call this angular pinning. I teach about this in my online Craftsy class as well as in my book and this is a technique I developed over 25 years ago and use all the time for my design clients. Angular pinning is a way to three-dimensionally and visually remove unnecessary excess from a pattern. In this example, the neckline was gapping and a wedge was pinned out on each side of the neckline, but there was no need to take out any excess near the armhole because it was not gapping there? Notice how the tuck or dart is also at a slight angle? Often when there is some excess between the seams it will fall at an angle and thus I call this “angular pinning”.


To be really honest, this to me is a form of grading a pattern, but you are custom grading and these wedges of excess are very unique to the individual. This is a great example of why you do a muslin fit sample because you cannot see this excess in a tissue fitting. It really has to be molded visually.


You might be asking about what this looks like in the final garment. Some students wonder if you then sew a dart on the garment. No! You do NOT actually sew this in the final garment. The idea is to pin out the excess in the muslin so it is gone before you make your garment in the final fashion fabric.

Angular pinning often happens at the small of the back. This is caused by the contour of the spine. If there is a dominant curve to the spin then you may have excess fabric in-between the side seams and the center back. Angular pinning allows you to eliminate this excess for a clean flat look to the finished garment.

1. Pin out the excess and taper to nothing at the opposite edge. Do this anywhere you see excess wrinkles or fabric on a pattern.


2. When you are done muslin fitting baste or press down the excess and remove your pins.


3.  Look at your pattern as if that excess was never there.


4. True up the neckline curve or pattern edge if necessary.


These excess amounts commonly occur on the lower side front torso under the breast area, at the small of the back, in-between darts on a very curvy body shape, near necklines and the front arm opening.

When I teach draping this is one technique that I really emphasize with my students and this is one area where those that fit garments can outshine the competition. It is all about reading how a garment fits and interacts with the body. Train your eye to see these little areas of unnecessary excess and you will have an amazing fit. That’s a Designer Joi Promise!

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