Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pad Stitching and Steaming the Undercollar

Okay, on to the collar! If you look at the pictures below, you'll see what to expect from your finished collar. I hope these give you a sense of the difference tailoring can make in a garment. In some versions of this coat, the collar has looked a little flat to me, but pad stitching will give you a shape with lots of body and a distinctive roll around the neck.

Now here's how to achieve this look. First you need to cut 1 hair canvas from your collar piece and mark it like so:

In my example, the roll line is marked in red (with red arrows pointing to it). The seam allowance is marked in pink chalk all the way around the collar. Finally, I've marked lines for pad stitching in blue pencil. The area below the roll line (the stand) gets 1/4" pad stitching. (This means that the stitches are 1/4" long and 1/4" wide.) The area above the roll line (the fall) gets 1/2" pad stitching.
Place the hair canvas on top of your under collar fabric.

Baste along the roll line with uneven basting stitches.

Now you can pad stitch the stand (the area below the roll line). Make 1/4" pad stitches and roll the fabric (with your index finger under the roll line) as you go. Do not stitch into the seam allowances.

After you've finished the stand, turn the collar around and pad stitch the fall (the area above the roll line). These stitches are bigger, 1/2". Continue to shape the collar with your hands as you stitch.

Your finished pad stitching will look like this.

Trim off your seam allowances.

Next you're going to steam your under collar and leave it to dry overnight. Pin it around a tailor's ham as it will be rolled around your neck.

I propped mine up against a seam roll. Now, spray it with water and steam the heck out of it. Do not press down on your roll line. You're just applying steam, not pressure.

Leave it to dry overnight. Next step: sewing and shaping the upper collar! You can start now by applying fusible interfacing to your upper collar piece.


  1. Anyone using wool felt for the under collar? This was a suggestion from Mac Berg at Vogue Fabrics. Judith M Millinery sells lovely wool felt in different colors. White can be dyed, of course. Vogue Fabrics sells this.

  2. Hi! I follow your blog.
    Can you do the same for me?
    Thank you! :)

  3. Fabulous collar!!! I appreciate you sharing step by step the techniques you are using. It has been more helpful than the few sewing books I have.

  4. Yay! I was wondering how you were going to construct the collar, facings and lining!

  5. Great tutorial. I am going to be able to use this when I do my next jacket. Thanks so much.

  6. Wow. It already looks ten times better than any coat I've ever owned.

  7. Oh lordy, I'm so far behind. And my coat has a shawl collar, so the under-collar is the same piece of fabric as the front. I can only think that I'll do the steaming with the coat on my dressform, once it's interfaced and sewn together. Whenever that happens, of course.

    Keep the tutorials coming, though, they're brilliant.

  8. Gertie, can you help? I think I missed something - how do you determine where the roll line is for the collar?

    I'm still doing the pad stitching on my 2nd lapel, and haven't even cut out my lining yet. This week will be busy, so I hope I don't fall farther behind!

  9. Chrissy, info on marking the roll line is in this post:

    Don't worry about getting behind everyone! The Flickr group will still be there as a resource and place to post pics and questions. I'm just trying to keep everything moving for those who need warm coats soon! :)

  10. Wow your coat is already looking amazing !


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

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