Monday, June 27, 2011

V-Notch Neckline

ok, this technique was planned as a tutorial for a V-notched neckline (you will see below the final look), but instead, readers, you will see how I failed to master it. But as they say, those who never make mistakes lose a great many chances to learn something, right?

So, the starting point was the Oliver & S Ice Cream Dress, which has a V-notch yoke and pockets. When it comes to making the V-notch, pattern instructions give the following hint:

"When you reach the lower point of the V, take one stitch across the bottom of the V before pivoting again to stitch up the other side. This stitch will permit the V to form a sharp point when you turn the pocket yoke  right side out."

I was happy to learn something new and followed the hint!

I then trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4", notched the neckline and carefully clipped up to the stitching at the point of V.

By the way, I am pretty proud of this notching and clipping (sorry for being such a nerd :-) Anyway, if you wondering, it was very easy with these great Gingher Tailor's Point Scissors. They are really great and are recommended by Coffin in his Shirtmaking book, Kenneth D. King and Susan Khalje. They are small but strong and perfect for small cutting jobs like this one.

Back to the subject: this is my finished V-notch. Note the absence of a sharp V-shaped corner, ahem...

Now, I know that there are some very experienced sewists lurking here. I appeal to you! Explain to me, what did I do wrong?

Just to show that I am being proactive, here are my suggestions:

A. the yoke fabric is too delicate (relatively lightweight silk/cotton blend) for that one crosswise stitch!
B. the technique is not perfect, and, you know, I read in a Claire Schaeffer's book and another couture reference, that to make the V-point sharp and durable you need to decrease the stitch length close to the V-point.

It's your turn now!


  1. I've been spending a bit of time working on sharp points lately, and my first impression when I saw your stitches was that they should have been decreased at the point. Same thing goes for the right angle corner in the back (where the loop is) if you want that corner to be sharp.

    One other note - I would have clipped the top corners of the V to the stitching.

    I'm curious to hear what others have to say - I'm still learning myself!

  2. Jilly Be, thanks, that confirms the Claire Shaeffer technique!

    Actually, I did clip the top corners of the V after taking the photograph.

  3. Hi Marina, I´ve made several ice cream dresses and the stitch across the bottom was the problem for me. I get much better results reducing the stitch length, pivoting sharply and clipping as you did.
    I also press the seams and turn them inside out while warm.
    Lovely fabrics btw!

  4. I do what la inglesita does - stitch a sharp V and clip to within 1mm of it. I usually have some sort of reinforcement (fusing, organza) as well. Nothing's fallen apart yet!

  5. Hi Mariana, I agree with Maria & Sherry. I normally use a patch of organza when sewing & clipping to a point.

  6. awesome. thank you for posting this, i never get my Vs right & i'm going to go the decreased stitch route from now on.

    i know it's not sharp, but your dress is adorable-- love the colors and pattern!

  7. Marina, as a couple of ladies have said earlier, reduce the stitch length when you reach about 0.4 cms away from the point of the V, make one tiny stitch across the point of the V, turn, sew another 0.4 cms, increase the length of the stitch back to what you originally started with and continue sewing. Press seam flat, turn and use a bamboo pointer and gently push into V area.

  8. I use those same scissors and they are like another hand when sewing. I'd be lost without them. They are by far my favorite scissor.

  9. I know what my mum would say! "Go and get some scraps and do it over and over a few times, experimenting and practising till you get the result you are after."


    Also, she would tell me to stop stressing, it looks fine, and only another seamstress would ever notice it wasn't sharp anyway, and then only if you pointed it out to them. And then they would probably commiserate with you on just how hard it is to get those points sharp!

    Honestly, I do think it just takes practise. And the hints everyone else has given you can help the practise along. For myself, I have never found a stitch across the bottom of a notch or a corner makes any difference. Accurate stitch placing overall, careful clipping right up to the stitching but not through it(oh hell, no, not through it!) reinforcing of the corner, and some judicious poking, prodding and pressing is what helps, for me.

    (enjoying reading your blog :-)

  10. Love your notches and the fabric color (where did you get it?). It looks perfect even if it's not sharp

  11. i know this is an old post, but still i woulf like to comment.

    as the previous ladies said - the across-stitch in the corner of the V should be shorter, also i would do a perpendicular cut 1-2mm from that across stitch through the seam allowance. the seam allowance is far to "tight" to allow the fabric to turn propperly > just go back in and clip it again.



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