Green mandarin collar jersey top.
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Adjusting a sewing pattern aka my green jersey top

I long time ago I saw a nice jersey top somewhere online and the picture remained in my head. As all of you probably already know, I love vintage styles but I can’t really say that I hate comfort that comes with jersey tops. But I think that the basic jersey tops are so boring, not really to wear, but to sew! I want to add some feminine details that make a top stand out. This jersey top I saw had a mandarin collar and a gathering in the neckline, which reminded me of woven vintage blouses. I decided that I could make my own version by adjusting a sewing pattern that I already had in my stash.

I had this old Burda pattern of an unknown origin that had a gathered neckline and a turtleneck collar. The original top and a separate back yoke and a centre back zipper but my first try with this pattern (it wasn’t a successful make, though…) had already shown that the zipper was unnecessary. The first thing I did was then to tape together the yoke and the back piece.

Drafting the collar pattern piece

Adjusting a sewing pattern: My first version of the collar.
A straight collar. My first version.

Then I drafted a pattern for the mandarin collar. I first tried a straight collar with no curve (except at the upper edge, you’ll get it!) That looked a bit… well… floppy.

Adjusting a sewing pattern: Curving the collar.
Cutting out darts in order to curve the collar.

I took my pattern piece and cut little V-shaped darts from top to bottom in order to curve my pattern and make it slightly narrower from the top. I think I estimated that I needed to make the top edge about 4 cm shorter than the bottom. This looked much better.

Adjusting a sewing pattern: Taping the collar together.
The darts taped together. When I made the final pattern I smoothed out the edges.

I cut the facing piece of the collar with smaller seam allowance so that the seam remained hidden on the wrong side.

Other adjustments to the pattern

However, after I had inserted the collar I noticed that the fabric, instead of radiating down from the gatherings, bunching on my chest. I was first at loss on what to do. Then I realised that the neckline of the original pattern was too high. The excess fabric bunched up. The only thing to do was to rip out the collar once more, take out 2 cm from the height, gather the neckline once more and sew the collar back on. That worked!

Otherwise, the fit was quite good. I did narrow down the sleeves but I wanted to have quite a loose fitted bodice.

A side view.

The final blouse, after all that adjusting, ripping and drafting is quite what I was after:

The top might be just slightly loose at the shoulders but that’s perhaps good. I have had many tops shrinking in the wash even with me pre-washing the fabric. I just had to throw away my lovely stripy Wanted tee, because it became too short. Perhaps I should start pre-washing thicker cottons twice or something! Any ideas?

Anyway, this is how I managed to make a top I was after adjusting a sewing pattern that was a bit similar. This way you can make your sewing patterns into many more different garments. I am also glad that I had the patience to rip out the collar several times. Finally, the seam wasn’t very long but if I hadn’t done it, I would have never worn the top.

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I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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