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How to Turn That Tricky Corner on a Shawl Collar

Shawl collars go in and out of style, but I consider them a classic. You’ll find them on garments like jackets, blouses, loungewear, and bathrobes. The one thing I’ve found consistent in the guide sheet instructions of the patterns I’ve sewn is that NONE show how to stabilize the pivot point. If you follow the instructions, you’ll find the fabric can separate and ravel where the collar makes a turn at the base of the neck and shoulder seam.

I have a solution to this problem: The following technique offers a simple way to stabilize the fabric and keep it from raveling.

Identify and mark the pivot points

You can see on the front garment pattern that the shoulder seam is part of the section that is sewn at the center-back neck. There is a dot at the inside corner pivot point, where the shoulder seam turns into the back neck seam.

Front and back pattern pieces with labeled dots

1. Make a tailor’s tack, or mark in your preferred method, at the pivot point dot on the front pattern piece. Be sure the mark won’t leave a stain on the fabric. Mark or tailor-tack the dot at the intersection of the shoulder and neckline seam on the back pattern piece, too. You’ll match it to the mark on the front pattern piece when you sew the two together.


Tailor's tack at pivot point, front and back
Left: Mark the pivot point on the front with a tailor’s tack. Right: Mark the the back dot with a tailor’s tack where the shoulder seam and base of the neck meet.

2. After removing the pattern from the front and back pieces, clip the tailor’s tacks to leave thread in each section.

Cut tailor's tack threads but don't remove from garment sections

Tailor's tacks on garment back section


Stabilize the pivot points

1. Cut two circles from a piece of fusible knit interfacing.

Cut circles of fusible knit interfacing

2. Fuse…

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