A flat collar is incredibly easy to draft and a fantastic way to completely alter the character of a top or dress. In this tutorial I am going to take you through the process step by step so that you will be able to add a collar to your own project.
I will be using Colette’s Laurel pattern as my main example, this pattern has a centre back zip so I will also refer to the Colette Sorbetto pattern at times to explain what one needs to do differently for a top or dress that doesn’t open at the centre back.
SUPPLIES you will need to draft the collar:
*Large sheets of plain paper thin enough to trace through. I use Morplan’s pattern cutting tracing paper but if you don’t need a giant supply then you could use something like a large flip chart.
* A nice hard sharp pencil
* Some brightly coloured pens
Also its worth mentioning that you can enlarge any of the images in this tutorial by clicking on them.
Now let’s begin…
Trace a copy of your front and back pattern pieces using your sharp pencil. If you are working with Sorbetto the line that says PLEAT is the CENTRE FRONT line of this pattern so you only need to trace up to this line for the collar drafting purposes and mark that line on your tracing as the CENTRE FRONT.
Note: It is incredibly important when you are making any alterations or modifications to a pattern that you ALWAYS start by making a tracing of your original pattern. You do not want to ruin your original!
Draw in your seam allowances (1.5cm or 5/8” inside the edges of your pattern) in a nice strong colour as we will be working from these lines to draft our collar. The easiest way to do this is with a Patternmaster or set square but you can also do it by measuring 1.5cm in from your pencil lines at regular intervals. Be careful not to draw in seam allowances where they don’t exist- ie. CENTRE FRONT FOLD! If you are working with Colette Sorbetto or another pattern that doesn’t have a back opening you won’t have a seam allowance at the CENTRE BACK either!
Measure 2cm down from your front shoulder point and mark this point and call it A. Draw a line from your front neck point to A.
Make a mark directly on your back shoulder point and call this B
Match your front and back neck points and point A to point B. By doing so you will have overlapped your shoulder seam lines 2cm.
Smooth out your neckline curve. Make a mark where your shoulder seam meets your neck line (green dot!)
Draw your collar shape in approximately 5cm or 2 inches from your newly smoothed out neckline. To do this use your ruler measuring and marking in from the curve every couple of cm so that you have enough marks to join into a nice even curve. You can make your collar slightly deeper or narrower depending on your personal taste!
If your working with a pattern that has a CB zip like Laurel then you want to end your collar 5mm from your CB seam. If your pattern has no opening at the back then you want to continue your collar to the CB fold line- follow the green lines on the diagram for this.
Curve or angle your collar front to your taste. For Laurel Curve and angle your collar back to match the front. For Sorbetto mark the CB fold line of your collar matching the CB fold line of your back pattern piece.
Trace of your collar and your shoulder seam neck marking. Add a seam allowance of 1.5cm or 5/8” all the way around your collar except for the CB fold line if you are working with Sorbetto (green line on diagram).
Dotted lines are Peter Pan example, solid are pointed flat collar example.
STEP 6.5: CONSTRUCTING YOUR COLLAR
FOR LAUREL: Cut out 4 fabric collar pieces and if you are choosing to interface your collar 2 interfacing collar pieces. FOR SORBETTO: cut 2 collar pieces on the fold of your fabric and 1 on the fold of your interfacing. Adhere your interfacing to your collar pieces following the manufacturer’s instructions.
With right sides together stitch the outer three sides of your collar using your 1.5cm or 5/8” seam allowance. Leave the neck edge open.
Trim your seam allowances to 6mm or ¼” and snip them where necessary to get a nice point or a nice smooth curve being careful not to snip through your stitches! (NB: do not trim your un- sewn neck edge seam allowances!).
Turn your collar through and press well. Try to press your collar so that the seam on the outer edge is biased ever so slightly to the underside of the collar (ie. the side that will lie flat against your garment and not be seen). It will look much nicer and more professional if this seam line isn’t visible on the outside of your garment.
STEP 7: ATTACHING YOUR COLLAR
Once you have joined the shoulder seams of your top or dress and finished and pressed these seams you are ready to attach your collar! It is preferable to do this before you have stitched up the side seams of your garment or inserted any sleeves as it will be easier to do with your garment laying flat.
Pin your collar to your garment with the raw neck edges of collar and top even, carefully lining up your collar pieces to your centre front and your shoulder seam markings to your garment shoulder seams. If you are working with Laurel then make sure your collar is positioned 5mm from your centre back seam lines. If you are working with Sorbetto or a different garment with a centre back fold then match your collar centre back with your garment centre back.
Once your collar is firmly pinned in place baste it to your garment with longish machine stitches.
Continue to follow your pattern instructions adding your neckline binding or facing to your garment treating it and your collar as one.
I hope these instructions are clear but if you have ANY questions or queries then please feel free to just pop a comment below and I will answer them A.S.A.P!
Thanks for reading as always and happy collar drafting!