Londa's Favorite Convertible Collar Sewing Construction Technique
These directions aren't completely original, by any means - but just the technique I have refined after doing so many of these collars, and reading so many different techniques. Take note which is the edge that joins to the neckline: it is the notched edge. Often, I find students tend to join the opposite edge to the neckline – yielding a rounded collar and really messing everything up…don’t do this!!
1. Decide which of the 2 collars you’ve cut will be the UPPER Collar – if a print fabric, the print may determine this for you…selecting the piece on which you like the placement of the motifs the best. Interface the UPPER Collar.
- Fuse if using a fusible – remembering to turn it over and press with the right side of the collar up as well. Many people using fusible interfacings skip the step of turning the piece over and pressing AGAIN.
- Stitch-in Interfacing: press together and you’ll find that doing so will create a ‘static’ that holds them together with very few pins. I stitch 1/8” shy of the allotted seam allowance. Then, trim the interfacing away from the seam allowance with an appliqué scissors to eliminate bulkiness in the seam allowances.
2. Fold the other Collar piece – (now the UNDER Collar) in half on the back fold line, and trim the short end and top edges a scant 1/8” less big. The heavier the fabric, the more generous your trimming can be. You are doing this to allow for the ‘turn of the cloth’ principle: the under layer doesn’t need as much size as the upper layer. NOW: when you stitch the collar together, you will ignore the fact that you just did this trimming. Match the edges, easing the Upper Collar to fit the Under Collar along the ends and the long upper edge. I never do the under stitching as many directions tell you to because this trimming turn of the cloth trick makes sure that my collars don’t have what I call “Under Collar Peek-A-Boo”.
3. Press seam allowances OPEN with a point presser (if you’re lucky enough to have one) and then trim – grading seam allowances so that the seam allowance of the Upper Collar remains longer (unless you adhere to Japanese Tailoring principles, when you do the opposite). THEN, press the collar as it should be with wrong sides together. Do compare the 'ends' to make sure they are the same depth.
4. On Upper Collar only, reinforce stitch for about 1” on either side of the clips that mark where the shoulder seams will attach.
5. Wrong side of Collar (which is right side of Under Collar), to right side of garment, match up and pin, clipping body of blouse to stay stitching as necessary to allow this curved edge to ‘work’ with the straight collar neckline edge.
- Both layers of finished Collar ends to clip at Fronts
- Shoulder clips of both layers to shoulder seam line
- Only Under Collar layer of finished Collar to: Center back clip of Under Collar to center back clip of back. Keep the Upper Collar layer loose and free between the shoulder clips.
6. Stitch only the Under Collar to blouse front along Back from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. I do this with the collar side up so that I can see exactly where I stop and start.
7. Stitch both Upper Collar and Under Collar to Fronts from shoulder seam to dot (collar termination point). I do this with blouse side up so that I can be sure to stitch right over the stay stitching, or a tad further in towards the body of the blouse – so that I won’t have to later rip out the stay stitching.
8. NOW, lay the right side of the Front Facing to the right side of the Fronts, pin, and stitch the center front edges, (use taut sewing technique here, left hand in back, right hand in front and with a gentle tug as you feed through the machine as you are stitching on the straight grain and as it is strong, it will tend to pucker), and then the collar edge neckline – having the same side up so that you stitch directly over the stitching you just did while attaching the Collar. At very top of the Front Facing – that short shoulder edge – turn the seam allowance under towards you so that it will be a fold finish at the shoulder to be tacked down later.
9. Trim and grade these seams as appropriate.
- At the front upper point, I find what Claire Shaeffer teaches to be very true, leave one of the seam allowances of the 90 degree angle here intact so that the seam allowance supports that point --- especially true if you did not cut off the fold back Front Facing, and you have a fold at the front of the blouse. There is no need to cut this corner at an angle as we’ve always been directed to do.
- Clip through all seam allowances at the Shoulder seams. This will allow the neckline seam allowance to be pressed up into the (open) Collar between the shoulder seams. The neckline edge of the Upper Collar then presses in as the fabric in the collar will determine for you as you fold the collar into place the way it will be when on a body. Pin, and slip stitch this edge closed.