How Can I Alter a Turtleneck Sweater?

Turn the style of your turtleneck sweaters trendy.

Photo: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Find yourself frustrated with sweater styles you can't actually wear? No fashion maven's wardrobe needs to give up space to garments that just don't jibe with her personal tastes. Whether you've come across a turtleneck sweater that doesn't fit well or has an unflattering retro style, or you just plain don't like turtleneck collars, you don't have to settle. Instead, transform your turtlenecks into the chic sweater styles you'd be proud to keep in your closet.

Sweater Slim-Down

Sweaters, turtleneck style or not, often come oversized, and not always in a sophisticated, slouchy way. The body, sleeves or both may be too wide for your frame or may bulge and taper at unflattering angles. To smooth out the side seams on a turtleneck sweater, a girl can turn her sweater inside out and sew new side seams some distance in from the originals. The new side seams should curve smoothly around the body, eliminating unsightly bulk.

Looking at Length

One of the most basic ways a sweater, or any shirt, can fit a girl awkwardly is in the length of the sleeve and the body. A too-long sleeve is impractical for a stylista on the go, and an extra-long body may be unflattering on her form. To take up the hems, a girl can pick apart the original hem stitching and cut her sweater 5/8 inch below the length she wants. After folding the hems 5/8 inch to the inside, an overlocking stitch secures the edges.

Neckline No-No

Turtleneck sweater styles aren't for everyone. Some stylistas feel suffocated by the feeling of fabric around the throat, while others may simply find the look less than appealing. Luckily, turtlenecks transform to crew or V-neck shapes with relative ease. The turtleneck collar comes apart from the body just by picking out the stitches with a seam ripper. For a crew neck, a girl can fold the neckline under 1/2 inch. For a V-neck, she can cut a "V" shape into the neck and serge the edges.

Total Reconstruction

If a girl really isn't into the look of her turtleneck, she can reconstruct the sweater into an entirely new garment, such as a T-shirt, halter top or shrug. Sweaters come apart at the seams like any other clothing, leaving the knit fabric free for use with patterns. If you're not looking to go full-out with pattern sewing, however, you can also cut and shape the sweater as-is. Take out the bottom of the body to make a turtleneck shrug, or cut the top and add straps for a hot halter.

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