Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sewing and Tailoring the Upper Collar

Ready for your next collar steps? So now you've pad stitched and steamed the under collar. Time to complete this part by sewing the upper collar to the under collar. First, stabilize your upper collar with a lightweight fusible.
Next, stitch your upper collar to your under collar, right sides together. Trim and grade your seam allowances so that the seam allowance closer to the upper collar is the wider seam allowance.
Before turning your collar right side out, press open the seam allowances. I used a seam roll to aid in my pressing.
Now, turn the collar right side out and make sure the upper collar is on top.

Arrange the collar as it will be on the body (with the roll line formed, as below) and turn the collar seamline so that it's on the underside of the collar. Work around the outer edges of the collar, rolling the seam between your fingers so the seamline is facing the floor. (This is called "favoring," if you're curious.) Does that make sense?
Next, stitch a diagonal basting stitch around the edge of the collar so that the seamline stays in place the way you arranged it in the last step. My basting is in light pink thread below. (Be careful not to pull the stitches too tight!)
After basting, steam the collar without applying any pressure.

Now, baste the raw neckline edges of the collar together. Your raw edges may not match up perfectly anymore due to the turn of cloth, and that's okay. Trim off any excess if needed.
Machine baste the collar to your coat between the pattern markings. You can leave your diagonal basting stitches in until you're finished constructing the coat.
That's it for this step! Next, I'm going to move on to hemming the coat and sleeves. You see, I realized a little glitch in my scheduling. I prefer to hem the coat before applying the lining; it's much easier to maneuver that way. Since this coat is flared, the hem involves easing in excess fabric. I'll put up a video post in the next couple days to help you.

If you've moved ahead, now would be a good time to start assembling your lining. As always, let me know if you have questions!


  1. I am sooo far behind right now! lol. I got caught up in a hair-brained, last minute project last week, and sadly my LG jacket is on the back burner until at least this weekend. *sigh* I want to get moving though--these latest steps are looking so exciting!

    ♥ Casey | blog

  2. Don't feel bad, Casey ... I haven't even cut out my LG yet :-( I will get it done, though.

    Gertie, have you ever used the technique of shaving 1/8 inch off the undercollar seam allowances (except not the neckline one)? Then you sew under and upper together as normal, aligning the raw edges, and the slightly smaller undercollar naturally pulls the seam underneath. I'm probably not explaining that clearly, but it's one of those "pro tips" in the Sandra Betzina patterns, if I recall correctly.

  3. lol you guys, i'm far behind too :'( i got one bound buttonhole done and then i freaked and i haven't done the other yet! which is pretty dumb bc i'm soo excited to do all that hand-sewing haha

    at any rate, i have read every post you have published, gertie, and i will get to it soon! soon!

  4. I`m eternally impressed that you continue to have the consistency to go through coat tailoring, step by step, and even do some tutorial´y videos. Having that said, I´ll need to link your blog to a few sewing friends. Lots of peeps thirst for all this nitty- gritty knowledge, but it´s not easy to come by.
    So basically it´s a standing applause to you. Sewing divinities are smiling right now.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to share the process with us - I so appreciate your attention to the details!

  6. I am extremely behind! I mail ordered my fabric weeks ago and it has yet to arrive.

    Gertie, you mentioned in your list that flannel interlining could be used to add warmth. Maybe I missed this part in your tutorial. Is this a similar process to when you interlined a dress a few months back?


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  8. Jan, that's interesting! In my patternmaking class at FIT, they always had us take 1/8" off the outer edges of the undercollar pattern, but it hadn't ocurred to me to make that adaptation in the construction stage. Good idea!

    Gretchen, for a coat, I apply the interlining to the lining pieces. If you want to know more, check out this video I made back in January:


    Weirdrockstar, thank you for the sweet words! :)

  9. Hey there! I assembled my collar yesterday and followed the tailoring book's turn of the cloth recommendation of pinning together while unsewn, then marking where the upper collar hits the under collar and marking a new seamline. It was very, VERY confusing and I spent way too long just staring at the collar pieces (then distracted myself by trying the collar on my basset hound and making her pose for photos! pilgrim basset hound!)

    ANYway - your way is much easier, but other than that, was there a specific reason you skipped the tailoring book's method to account for the turn of the cloth?

    Yay lady grey and gertie!

  10. @Jan -- I could have used that tip about trimming off 1/8 of the under collar yesterday when I was sewing a collar on a dress! Now that you describe it, it seems so obvious! I'll definitely use that technique next time.

  11. Thanks, Gertie! Your video tutorials are super helpful.

  12. I haven't been commenting on these posts, but I have been reading faithfully. Your way of explaining and demonstrating steps I've seen elsewhere is so clear and easily understood. I'm going to do a series of bound buttonholes on a coat this weekend using your method. I've learned so much. Thank you!!

  13. Wow - your coat is really looking amazing. I have spent 2 hours tonight, and 2 last night, after LONG work days and a weekend of sewing and now I'm only 3 posts behind :-) If I can muster the energy, tomorrow night I'll set in the sleeves. I did, in the end, cut my fashion fabric on the bias to use for the inset.

  14. Maybe I'm being a bit dumb here but having real problems with the pleat in the back lining. Can anyone help me? ::embarrassed::

  15. Gertie, I love you!

    I'm not sewing a jacket - it's coming into summer here in Australia so I'm busy making flouncy dresses - but your posts are so extra helpful and interesting that I leave your blog until last so as to savour the newest entry...

    I do enjoy hand sewing so I'm looking forward to my first attempt at tailoring, come winter.

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to construct these posts. (Ha! A pun!) Your enthusiasm is infectious!


  16. Suzy, I haven't gotten to the back pleat, but I'll take pics as I'm working on it this weekend. Remember that the "fold" of the pleat is on the wrong side of your fabric.


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

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