How to Reduce Collar Bulk
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Contributing editor, Louise Cutting, shares a great technique to smooth away a collar’s bulky points and edges from “A Better Collar” in Threads issue #166. The secret is in reworking the collar pattern piece to shift the front edge seams, thus eliminating the stiffness and lumps these seams cause. This altered version works well if you like to wear collars standing up (which puts more color around your face and makes your neck look longer). The collar stays where you place it because this technique puts the undercollar on the bias. This easy-to-follow tutorial will leave you with the perfect collar!
Make the new pattern
The revised collar pattern for this technique starts with the original collar pattern. It can come as one piece cut on a fold or as two pieces-the upper collar and undercollar; follow the same directions for both.
1. Start with a half-collar pattern piece. Usually a collar pattern instructs to cut two on the fold. This example shows a typical half-collar pattern, with the center back placed on the fold. With the collar pattern wrong side up, copy the collar shape to tracing paper. If the seamlines aren’t included on the pattern, draw them on. If your copier prints at 100 percent, you can also photocopy the collar pattern, but make sure the collar pattern is placed wrong side up in the copier. You now have two halfcollar pieces, one for the upper collar and one for the undercollar.
2. Add a 5⁄8-inch-wide seam allowance to the undercollar pattern piece’s center back. Extend the seam allowance from the center-back line.
3. Tape the upper-and undercollar pieces together, aligning the short front seamlines. Overlap the collar pattern piece along the seamlines drawn in step 2. Label these seamlines as foldlines. The little points at the ends of the collar may stick out beyond the cutting line on the outside collar edge. These points are not needed and may be cut off. The angle of the collar’s front edge varies between patterns; consequently, the drafted one-piece collar shape also varies.
Cut and sew the revised collar
Cut one pattern piece on the fabric’s fold. This new pattern piece combines the upper- and undercollar pattern pieces and puts the undercollar off grain because the pattern tilts up.
1. Mark the front foldlines. Make a 1⁄8-inch-long snip at both ends of each foldline for the front edges. Also snip the center back on both edges of the upper collar.
2. Interface the entire collar. Because there is no longer a seam at the front edge of the collar, the upper-and undercollar are interfaced as one piece. Be careful not to stretch the off-grain undercollar. Offgrain fabric pieces are easily distorted. Place the collar on the ironing board, wrong side up. Place the tissue pattern piece on top of the fabric, matching the center-back foldline. Align the fabric so it matches the tissue pattern exactly. If the fashion fabric shape doesn’t match the pattern, it usually won’t fit the neck edge or collar band properly. Apply a very lightweight fusible interfacing to the entire piece.
3. Fold the collar piece in half with right sides together, aligning the short raw edges. Stitch the short ends with a 5⁄8-inch-wide seam allowance. Trim the seam allowances to 1⁄4-inch and press open. This is the undercollar center-back seam.
4. Refold the collar. This time, fold on the 1⁄8-inch snipped edges to align the center-back seamline and the center-back foldline. Sew the collar’s outer edges together with a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowances to 1⁄4-inch, and clip diagonally across the points. Press this seam open over a point presser. Turn the collar right side out using a point turner.
5. Press. Working with the undercollar right side up, favor the long outer edge seamline to the undercollar; the long collar seam won’t be visible from the upper collar once pressed.
6. Trim the neckline edges. The unsewn neckline edges of the collar rarely match at this point; the undercollar has a tendency to extend beyond the upper collar. Trim the undercollar to match the edge of the upper collar.