Monday, March 4, 2013

Shaping a Shirt Collar


Hey readers! I realized that one of the things I can do while I'm working on top secret projects is to put together little mini tutorials without showing an entire garment. For instance, right now I'm working on developing a classic 40s style blouse pattern. A project like this usually takes me several tries in fabric, which is a plus because then I end up with several new blouses in my wardrobe! So the one you see here won't actually end up in my next book, it's just part of my process.

I've written about shaping a tailored jacket collar with steam, but it's worth mentioning that you can do the same thing with an interfaced shirt collar. Going through these steps will give you a shirt collar that stands up and rolls around your neck nicely. What you're doing is "training" it into shape with steam. Here's how it works.

First, interface the upper collar only. I'm using a soft sew-in interfacing, which gets basted to the collar piece. (Yes, I know I'm not going to win any awards for the aesthetics of my basting stitches.)


Pin it to the under collar, right sides together.


Stitch around the outer edges. I like to take one stitch diagonally across the corner to get a crisper point.

Trim down the corners.

Grade the seam allowances so that the upper collar seam allowance is about 1/4" wide and the under collar seam allowance is about 1/8" wide.

Turn right side out and use a pin to pull the corner out.


Press so that the seam line rolls toward the under collar (this way it won't show on the outside of the collar).


(Note: yes, those are little animal heads hidden among the polka dots on this print. It's a Japanese double gauze made by Kokka. Amazing, right? Purchased at Hart's Fabrics in Santa Cruz.)

Pin the collar to a tailor's ham, arranging the roll of the collar as desired. Remember that you still have a neckline seam allowance on the collar, so take that into account as you're pinning. I make the stand of my collar about 1 inch tall.



Steam well (do not press down on the collar, just apply lots of steam to it) and leave to dry for at least several hours.

When you remove it from the ham and sew it to your shirt, you'll have a nicely shaped roll on your collar!


P.S. For a hardcore shirt collar tutorial, check out Pam's blog. I've been meaning to try her method because it looks awesome!

31 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing!

    Haha, first I thought you were sewing some kind of penguin or bird...in the first picture, it looks like an animal ;)

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    1. I know, doesn't the ham look cute dressed up in a collar?! :)

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    2. Yeees, now you gave him wings and made it possible to fly...

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  2. It's very cute!
    With love Ladyfairy

    www.ladyfairy-scloset.blogspot.com

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  3. Next time you are in Santa Cruz you must announce yourself! I live in town and harts is my second home! I would have loved to meet you! You could have come to my monthly "stitch and bitch" meeting! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  4. Aha! Perfect timing - I've just finished muslin-ing a shirt-blouse with a collar just like this. I will have to try it on the real version! Thank you! (And I agree, the ham in a collar is so funny and cute)

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  5. ooh, great idea!

    Have you seen this tutorial about getting perfect points on collars (and other turned pieces? It's freakin' ingenious =)
    http://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/2012/10/perfect-collar-pointsa-shirtmakers.html

    bummed I missed you when you were in LA - hope to catch you on your next world tour ;-)

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    1. Yep, that's the tutorial I linked to at the end of my post! Totally going to try it on my next shirt!

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  6. This is perfect timing! I have to make a 1940s blouse, but the idea of making a collar was holding me back. Not anymore!

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  7. This is extremely helpful! Thank you! I enjoy your blog btw :)

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  8. Thanks for the tutorial. It should improve my shirts. BTW, the fabric is amazing.

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  9. I love your polka dot ham! Thanks for the tutorial too!

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  10. Awesome tutorial and so useful!!

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  11. Ha! I love those little hidden animal heads. I would love finding them all. I spotted a cat, a bunny, and a bird so far...

    Did you make your polka dot ham? It's so cute! The one I made is plain muslin & gray wool. No style points, but it does its job. :)
    http://vintagezest.blogspot.com/2013/01/sewing-rewind-sewing-basket-edition.html

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  12. Perfect timing! I'm gathering all my materials to make some button-down collared shirts! I can't find anything in the store that is 100% cotton so I am tackling it myself. ^^

    Thank you for being so awesome!!

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  13. Hi Gertie, this looks lovely! And thank you SO MUCH for the link to the other tutorial, just what I needed!!
    Heather

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  14. Would you ever do a tutorial on something so mundane as bias binding? I've been fiddling trying different things and googling it but I just can't seem to get it to work!
    Katie.

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  15. OoOoOh this will come in handy for the mad men challenge! Thanks Gertie!

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  16. Gertie! This has nothing to do with this post but I had to tell you that I ordered your latest patterns and I just made the pants. Oh my gosh!! So wonderfully easy and SO cute!!! I don't usually like myself in capris but these are so retro and adorable. I can't wait to wear them tomorrow! You're awesome!

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  17. I love the idea of mini tutorials! Although I rather enjoy the posts about your new patterns and projects too, it's fun listening (watching?) you get all excited about things :).

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  18. looks like you got a new Hammy!!! Thanks for the great Tutorial!

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  19. Awesome!! Any collar help is very welcome in this camp, thanks for sharing :) Loving the sneak peek of the pattern too, by the way!

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  20. Thank you for showing us how to get a great collar! Quite often it's the small details that make an entire project look well made.

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  21. That's a great collar! I used Pam's method on my last set of shirts but I used a threaded needle (knotted, long, doubled thread) sewn from the inside of the collar point before I turned them. I just couldn't get the thread to stay in place doing it Pam's way so this was more effective for me.

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  22. ooh, we are really going to benefit from these mini-tutorials. Thank you! That fabric is just amazing, I love the hidden animals.

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  23. This is just the kind of practical advice I love and need - and you're an expert at it!
    Thanks Gertie.

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  24. Wow. Great tip. I always get collars curling up. Will try your method.

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  25. Oh i love this tutorial. Now only if i could get a tutorial for attaching the collar to the shirt. Mine always comes out a little funky and home made looking. Alicia Sewindubaiwordpresscom

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  26. It's been "sew" long since I've sewn a garment that I appreciate the refresher course! Thanks!

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  27. This is extremely helpful! Thank you! I enjoy your blog btw :)

    cheap mens shirts company

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

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