Ever encountered a T-shirt, V-neck dress or other top with that shows a bit too much cleavage? A simple sewing hack will help you fix any low cut neckline! Follow this simple DIY tutorial to add a modesty panel to a shirt and never worry about flashing people again.
**Pssst! Don’t want to DIY this hack? Try the Lettie Bra from my clothing shop, Novalie! I designed this bra to be worn under low cut tops or dresses in order to offer the coverage you need and eliminate extra layers. Plus it’s suuuuper soft and comfy!
Is there anything worse than finding a dress that’s almost perfect? When I found this fun color-blocked dress at H&M a couple months ago, it was love at first sight…except for that plunging neckline. Always the challenge to appropriately cover the nursing-mom cleavage, can I get an Amen? So instead of passing it up, I figured out a DIY solution.
In all honesty, there are a LOT more options for covering up a plunging neckline today than there were 10 years ago. Layering a half cami under low-cut tops has been a popular solution for a while. The problem that occurs for me here in Arizona though is that it’s hotter than Hades and I just can’t bear to wear extra layers. And while creating a little modesty panel like this won’t cover the problem of exposed bra straps like adding a sleeveless top or tank top, it is an easy way to make an outfit appropriate for special occasions like worship services or church weddings.
The neckline was actually low enough that it allowed nursing access (bonus for a breastfeeding mom!), but I wanted to be able to cover up the cleave when I was done. So I created this little cleavage cover panel that snaps open and shut.
If the DIY aspect of this is a little too daunting, you could also look for a cami bra, crop tops, a high neck bra or lace bralette to offer a little more coverage, without changing the dress itself. And while most modesty panels work great for covering the front of the bra, you can also use a similar soution for a backless dress or one with too much back exposed for your comfort.
First, try your dress or top on and measure how high you want your panel to go (i.e. how much cleavage you want covered (Mine was about 4″ high). Then, lay your dress or top face down on a flat surface to measure the width. Be sure you’re not stretching the opening. Mark how high your panel will go on the dress with a pen (i.e. 4″ above the bottom of the opening). Then measure across the width of the opening at that point, and add about 1.5″ to overlap underneath (mine was about 5.5″).
Now you’ll need to cut out your triangle of fabric for the panel. Since my dress was made of a polyester knit, I used a black cotton knit that looked similar enough to the dress fabric. I folded my fabric in half, and then cut out a triangle measuring the width you calculated above (5.5″ for me) and the height you measured above plus 1″ (about 5″ for mine), with the fold of the fabric at the top. I wanted to use the fold as the top edge instead of hemming my fabric there.
Side note: I obviously went with a fabric that would best match my dress here but creating a lace modesty panel would be really pretty too!
Now just finish the raw edges of your triangle sides. I used a serger but a simple zig-zag stitch would work too. Then hand-stitch the bottom of your triangle flap to the inside of your dress, just below the neckline opening. Mark where your panel hits the dress when closed, and hand-stitch snaps to both the top of the panel and inside of dress. Or, if you’re not nursing and don’t need access, just hand-stitch the top in place as well.
Of course, if you prefer a completely removable panel, you can opt to add a third snap at the bottom instead of stitching it to the dress.
Voila! Now go enjoy your new top/dress, in confidence that nobody’s staring at your chest.
Low cut outfits or open backs don’t have to make you uncomfortable any more. Use this hack to add a little extra coverage wherever you need it.
Looking for other great sewing hacks? Check out this one for how to hem your own pants (or shorts, skirt, etc). You can find all my sewing tutorials here.
Barbara LawsonJune 2, 2021 at 11:37 pm
This DIY was a great find. I used it on a dress I just purchased that is so cute but has a low v neck. It worked perfectly. Thanks for the good instructions plus photos. It really helped!
BonnieJune 3, 2021 at 3:08 pm
You’re so welcome! Glad it helped 😉
Tabitha SpencerJune 25, 2022 at 11:28 am
This is amazing! But what about for a cross over v neck like for a maternity top? I’m having trouble trying to figure out if this would work for something like that that would spread apart as the chest moves.
BonnieJune 25, 2022 at 1:54 pm
That’s a great question! I think I would avoid attaching it to a wrap dress or top for that reason. Have you considered creating one that you can attach to your bra instead? You can even buy these! That might work better.
Tabitha SpencerJune 25, 2022 at 3:29 pm
I’ve seen those, thanks for your input!