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!

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