June 22, 2012

2-in-1 Sewalong: the Shirt Dress Collar

For those of you doing the shirt dress for Simplicity 1880, there's this business of the collar. It's notched too and that can terrify anyone whose never done one and heard rumors that these were not for the faint of heart. Don't fret, these are no harder than setting in a sleeve, in fact much easier than that. To make things more professional and cleaner around here, I've got some tips for building a better collar. So let's get started.

First off, I opted for a rounded edge collar. I like rounded edge collars on certain things and I decided to give it a try on this shirt dress. If you too, want to round off the edge for your collar, take your french curve and round it off. Nothing to it really. You could also use a cup or salad plate in lieu of the french curve - but definitely consider investing in one as they come in handier than you might think.



Next, we need to discuss the facing situation and how collars are generally applied via sewing patterns. The sewing directions are going to have you apply the collar one way and you can opt to follow those if you like. I will be showing you a different way and one that is more in line with tailoring than dressmaking. When you start to delve into other areas of the world of sewing, you pick up tips and methods that easily transfer over into several different areas and help you engineer and construct things better. To start with, let's go over the facing for the shirt dress front which is included on piece # 1. See that section that extends out and to the right and looks a little weirder than other bodice fronts you've seen? That's the facing. The directions will have you apply the collar, then clip into the notches that are along the neckline of the collar and from there you'll attach part of the collar with the facing over the top and part of it will be turned in on itself and the raw edges will be encased in that way. And if you totally didn't catch any of that don't worry. I think this method is for the birds.



Instead, we're going to add a back facing which will attach to the bodice front facing. This is going to make a big difference in the construction process, which I will walk you through when we get to it, and also in the finished result. It looks so much better and is so much easier to do, in my opinion. Normally we would have to draft a back facing, but we're using such a lucky pattern that it's already been done for us. Any takers on what piece number that is? Well if you guessed piece no. 11, you'd hit the jackpot. This piece is for the wrap dress, but we're going to use it for the shirt dress instead. Alright? Good. Let's talk more shop about the collar.



This is another type of tailoring technique and one which helps the collar's seamline favor a certain side. I like having two collar pieces for a notched collar, the upper collar and the under collar. Trace off the collar piece which is piece #4. From here take off about 1/16" (a little more if your fabric is thick-ish) around the outer edge of the new under collar piece. This helps the seamline along the collar's edge to favor the under collar.

And there you go! Those are my starting points for the collar. As we sewalong, I will walk you through what you need to cut and how to attach the collar. Yay!

xoxo,
Sunni
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18 comments

  1. I'm not sewing along (yet)...but am really enjoying your tips so far! I have a shirt dress in my future plans so I'm excited to see how you tackle this collar.

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  2. I'm still loving this sew-a-long! Although I'm not taking part, I am taking in every bit of it!

    Great tip about the undercollar. It definitely works! I've done it before.

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  3. Can't wait to see more! I read and reread those collar instructions and am still confused (and I've inserted a few collars before).

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  4. Are you referring to the pattern instructions or my instructions? Let me know if I need to clarify anything from above! Thanks Emily!

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  5. Thanks so much for this! I sat down yesterday with a cup of tea and a bit of cake and re-read the pattern instructions over and over again. Eventually I undestood what it wanted me to do but not quite how. I look forward to trying your method!

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  6. What excellent techniques! I love reading blogs with such proper ways of doing things. I'm not doing the shirtwaist verizon this time, but I'm pinning your instructions for buttonholes for future reference. Your suggestions for turn of cloth are in the collar so much clearer than others I've read.

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  7. the pattern instructions!! I'm sure yours will be much better!!!

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  8. Hi Sunni, thanks for these excellent tips. I'm getting quite excited now about making the dress. I'm considering adding piping to the collar etc on the dress front - what do you think?
    Will it be too tricky on the collar?
    I just think my fabric is rather 'busy' and it will help create a bit of definition around the structure of the dress. Otherwise I might look like potpurri and that's so last century.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewbusylizzy/7419075274/

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  9. Ohhhhhhh! Piping to the collar/dress front! What a BRILLIANT idea! Shouldn't really be hard at all. I think piping sounds absolutely wonderful!

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  10. [...] This is the first ever muslin I made and first ever collar I attempted … Let’s just say I am excited to learn more about Sunni’s alternative Collar. [...]

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  11. [...] ~ Cut one piece of interfacing for your under collar piece (we traced off this piece via this tutorial) and the back facing (#11). Piece #3 is the interfacing for the buttonhole/front facing, so [...]

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  12. [...] and the undercollar – also remember that these last two pieces I added to the inventory from this post. So attaching interfacing is no big deal right? Well, if it is a big deal to you, have a gander at [...]

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  13. Sunni,
    I have read through both sets of instructions several times and still seem to be lost with the collar. It is specifically step 8. Am I stitching on the collar or the bodice? Which side is my facing side, the one with or without interfacing? And I don't understand how I would understitch the collar if it hasn't been turned yet. Please help!

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  14. Hi Tommie! I will not be following the instructions set forth by the pattern for how to attach the collar, so I'll try to answer your question the best I can here. Traditionally when a sewing pattern has you set in a collar you'll understitch the under collar or the collar piece that's on the bottom. Understitching helps a seamline favor one side and in this situation you want the seamline to favor the under collar so that the seamline isn't flipping out in the open. It's a tailoring type of technique. I'll be covering that more in depth next week when I go over the collar construction. This is what step 8 is talking about, but I do believe that there is a typo because it says facing when really it should say under collar. Make sense? In my directions you'll be attaching the interfacing to the under collar portion and the upper collar portion is left without interfacing. And yes, you'll turn the collar first and then understitch. Step 8 is very confusing! I'll clarify more about the technique I'll use to insert the collar next week - hopefully you can wait that long? I'll be doing it next Wednesday!

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  15. Sunni, thanks so much! That definitely makes a lot more sense. I was still working on my muslin, so I will be fine to wait until next Wednesday for my real dress. You have totally cleared up so much and the collar when on rather easily. Thanks!

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  16. So... from my fabric I cut one upper collar and one under collar piece and from the interfacing I should cut 1 piece from the under collar piece?

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  17. [...] Let’s go over what pieces are involved in attaching collar here first. There’s the bodice front (piece #1, cut 2 of fabric), the back facing (#11, cut 1 of fabric, cut 1 of interfacing), the upper collar (#4, cut 1 of fabric) and the under collar (cut 1 of fabric, cut 1 of interfacing), which is a piece we added from this post here. [...]

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  18. [...] Sunni’s instructions were excellent and if it was not for the slightly wonky upper collar I think it would have turned out perfectly. Now I’m desperately waiting for the next step. Yes I could race along and finish it myself but so far I have learnt lots of new things and I’m determined to exercise some degree of self-control… [...]

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