Professional tip: Use a narrower seam allowance
I usually reduce seam allowances on enclosed seams and neck edges to 3/8 inch wide. This reduced seam allowance makes it easier to match the neckline and collar stitching lines without clipping into the neckline seam allowances. I can stitch faster and more accurately, as well as eliminate grading (trimming seam allowances to stagger the raw edge) entirely for lightweight fabrics and grade only one seam allowance for medium- to heavier-weight fabrics.
This is how I adjust for the 3/8-inch seam allowance and provide for turn-of-cloth all in one operation.
• Trace the upper collar to make a new under-collar pattern. Then remove 1/4 inch from the outside and the neck edges.
• On the upper collar, remove 1/8 inch from the three outside edges. Remove 1/4 inch from the neck edge.
• Cut the upper and under collars from your fabric.
• Check your work. Place the under collar on top of the upper collar with neck edges matching. Observe the difference. The upper collar should be 1/8 inch larger on the outside edges.
Modify facing on lapels
The same principles apply for front facings when lapels turn back. The facing needs to be larger than the front pattern piece.
Check the pattern by matching the collar termination point and the break point (the top button) of the facing and the front. There should be close to 1/8 inch difference at the corner of the lapel, tapering to zero at both the break point and collar termination point. If there isn't, add the required amount to your pattern as shown.
The corner of the lapel is just like the corner of a collar, so apply the facing in the same manner. Remember that the public side is the facing side from the top button up and the garment side from the button down. This facing is applied in two steps: From the break point down, stitch with the front against the feed dogs. Then, flip the garment and stitch from the break point up with the facing against the feed dogs.
For synthetics and densely woven fabrics that don't ease well, you might not be able to ease in all the excess at the front ends. If that is the case, trim as much as necessary from the upper collar at the front ends.
On this notched lapel, the contrasting public side shows up as a subtle line on the hidden side, ensuring the perfect turn-of-cloth.
Judy Barlup, owner of Unique Techniques, teaches and operates her mail-order business out of her home studio in Bellevue, Washington. Visit UniqueTechniques.com.
Photos: Scott Phillips