Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Drafting a Convertible Collar

There are two ways to draft a convertible collar: the easy way and the hard(ish) way. We're going to do this the easy way, folks! The type of convertible collar I'm going to show you is just a basic rectangle that gets folded in half. This is what I used on my blouse above, the details of which (including pattern number), are in yesterday's post.

This simple type of collar is best for shirts that you plan to leave unbuttoned at the top. If you want to button your blouse all the way up, you need to do some fancier drafting that allows the collar to roll properly. But for the purposes of making a blouse like the one above (which I intended to be worn open), a simple rectangular collar is fine. I suppose one could say that this collar isn't all that convertible anymore, but let's not split hairs, shall we?

So here's how you do it.
  • Figure out your collar LENGTH measurement. Get out your blouse front and back bodice pieces. Use a measuring tape to measure the neckline of the pattern pieces on the seam line (do not include seam allowances or darts in your measurement) from center front to center back. You can also just sew up the blouse to this point and then measure around the neckline as it is sewn. On my blouse, the measurement was 10". Double this measurement to get your full collar length. So, your collar length is 20".
  • Decide on your collar WIDTH measurement. I wanted mine to be fairly narrow, so I went with 2".
  • Draw a rectangle that is your WIDTH x your LENGTH.
{Note: image is to half-scale. Click on images to see them larger!}
  • This is only half the width of your finished collar. Now you need to add the other half that will get folded to form the entire collar. So add another two inches to the bottom, like this:

  • Only your under collar will be interfaced. I like to draw little slash marks to indicate this, like so:
  • Now add a 5/8" seam allowance all around, like I've done in blue below. Voila! This is your pattern piece.

To sew your collar: *
  1. Lay out your fabric and cut out one of pattern piece on grain.
  2. Interface undercollar portion only with a lightweight fusible.
  3. Fold collar in half horizontally, right sides together.
  4. Sew on short ends, with a 5/8" seam allowance.
  5. Trim seam allowances and cut corners diagonally.
  6. Turn collar right side out, poke corners out with a point turner or knitting needle, and press.
  7. Baste raw edges of collar to neckline, matching up the collar ends with your center fronts.
  8. Stitch on your facings as directed by the pattern.
*As always, consult a good sewing reference, like the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing if you need more visual sewing instructions.

That's it, lovely readers! Let me know if you have any questions.


  1. I love that shirt! And thanks for putting up a tutorial on the collar, I'm going try that out some time :)
    Lottie x

  2. It looks so simple but the finished piece looks lovely

  3. I cannot find the tutorial link? I am probably missing it. The only link that I see is a link to yesterday's post. Love the outfit, though!

  4. Great tutorial! I linked to it on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  5. Great tutorial and very easy to understand! I'm actually midway through a blouse that buttons up but doesn't have a collar, so I might quickly add one like you've done here. So great timing, too! Thanks!

  6. Michell, this post IS the tutorial! It doesn't link to one.

  7. lovely! I'm pleasantly surprised at how simple it is... Can't wait to give it a try!

  8. Who knew this was so simple?! Thanks for the quick and easy tutorial, and I love the outfit. Very inspiring! I agree, that bow thing would have been a disaster with the gingham.

  9. Hi! For some reason, when I viewed it, the "Read more about drafting convertible collars" link was missing. I promise :) But, it's there, now!

  10. Michell, you're right! Sorry about that! There was some funking coding thing going on - it didn't show up on my PC at work, but I saw it on my Mac at home. Weird, huh?

  11. Thanks for the tutorial! It's so strange, because seeing stuff like this done in books often seems more complicated, but seeing it done by you (and with such great results - your shirt is super cute, and the collar looks great!) makes it more accessible... :)

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  13. Thank you, I had strictly no idea on how this type of collar was made !
    It's a nuce shirt too !

  14. It's simple and nice looking: I've got to try!!!! (I put a link and a photo with your permission (?) there: http://galimamphigouric.canalblog.com/archives/2010/05/16/17910878.html )
    Thank you for all your explanations!!!


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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