Johanna's Garb

Keyhole Neckline Pattern


  • paper (craft, gift wrapping, paper bag) at least 18" square
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • pins
  • scrap fabric (to test pattern)


Use a good quality tape measure; some plastic ones will stretch. Pull tape firmly, but not tight. Measure to the quarter inch. Double check your measurements. Enter measurements in a decimal format (i.e. 2.25, 42.75, 18.5 etc). Do not add seam allowances, or ease, or extra to the measurements.

The person being measured should not wear a shirt with a collar. That would produce errors in your measurements.

Enter in the measurements and click the Calculate button to generate the measurements.

Head circumference:  inches

Neck circumference:  inches

Fold a sheet of paper in half vertically, and then fold a second time around 4" from the top edge. Crease well, then open the folds and mark the creases with pencil. Label as below.

Neckline Paper

The center point is where the 2 pencil lines intersect.

Mark the neckline:

  • Draw 2 small lines __ inches from the center point, on the shoulder line, both left and right (as indicated by the red pins)
  • Draw a small line __ inches from the center point, on the back line (as indicated by the blue pin)
  • Draw a small line __ inches from the center point, on the front line (as indicated by the yellow pin)
Neckline Pins

Neckline CurveNow sketch a gentle curve connecting the back marks, and a rounder curve for the front neck.

Now that you have the neckline drawn, the vertical slit in the front needs to be drawn. Place a mark on the front line __ inches down from the center point; and draw a line (in green) from the neckline down to your mark (indicated by the yellow pin below)

Neckline CurveThe pattern is now complete. Cut out the neck hole and carefully cut down the slit.

To test the fit, use a scrap of woven fabric. Place the pattern on the fabric, pin it securely, and mark the cutting line for the neck and slit. Cut out the fabric neckline. Remove pins and "try on" the neckline by placing over the head. If the neckline is too snug to fit over the head, carefully extend the slit 1/2" and retry. Repeat until you can get neckline in place.

Check to see that the front edges of the neckline lay flat and smooth. If the neckline is too small, trim away a small amount from the front points until you are satisfied.

Don't forget to adjust your paper pattern to reflect any changes you made during the testing.

Lay the fabric test neckline on the paper pattern, lining up the shoulder lines and the front and back lines and pin in place. Trace any corrections made. Unpin, and remove the fabric. Make the corrections symmetrical on the right and left sides of the center line, then trim the pattern accordingly.

Trim away excess paper on the pattern to make it easier to use. The width of the pattern should be narrower than the fabric you will be using it with.