An Alternative Method for Sewing A Shirt Collar // Kalle SewalongJune 8, 2017 / byHeather Lou / Categories : Feeds
We’re rounding the finish line in our Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress sewalong! Over the next couple of days, I am going to show you two methods for sewing a shirt collar, and then we’ll be able to finish up next week with the band collar and cuffs.
In this post I am going to further explain the order of construction for the collar we included in our instructions. I first encountered this method on the Four Square Walls blog, and I know I’m not alone in finding it much easier to sew than the traditional way (although I will show you that as well tomorrow, since you may prefer one over the other).
To start with, you’ll need the collar stand, top and under collar cut out. Interface one of the collar stands and the top collar piece only. If you’d like to reduce bulk, you can trim the interfacing so it doesn’t extend into the seam allowance, but we didn’t do so in this example.
Sew your collar pieces right sides together. I suggest using our tutorial on sewing sharp collar points first. The under collar is slightly smaller than the top; this helps roll the top collar over the under collar a little bit so it doesn’t peek out. Grade your seams. Press thoroughly and topstitch 1/4″ away from the edge.
This is where the order changes a bit. Normally you would assemble the collar and stand fully and then sew the entire thing to the shirt neckline. Instead, we are going to pin the top collar stand (the interfaced one) along the neckline. Makes sure your neckline is staystitched at this stage just inside the seam allowance to prevent the neckline from stretching out.
Clip along the curves of the neckline to the staystitch line to “flatten” the seam and get the neckline and stand lined up. Ensure that the stand extends past each side of the shirt by the 5/8″ seam allowance.
Stitch the shirt to the stand at 5/8″ seam allowance.
Press the seam up towards the stand.
Now pin the collar to the top edge of the top collar stand, matching notches. Stitch together at 5/8″.
You still have a collar stand piece, this one non-interfaced. Press the bottom seam up 5/8″, wrong sides together. Now place the inner collar stand on top of the collar, wrong sides together, sandwiching the collar between the two stands. Pin into place.
Again, the stands should extend past the edge of the shirt by 5/8″. Ensure that the folded edge of the inner stand lines up with the seam line where the outer stand is sewn to the shirt. This ensures that when you flip the entire thing right side out, the two stands will meet up at that seam.
Stitch the stands together at 5/8″, catching the collar in between your stitching. As you turn the corners, you want to be sure you’re not accidentally catching the shirt itself in your stitching. If you have trouble getting a nice smooth curve there, you may find it easier to draw in a guideline using the pattern piece as a template.
Once the collars have been stitched, trim and grade the seam. You’ll want to trim somewhat close to the curve so it turns nicely on the inside. Try to leave a little bit of fabric on the outer edges of the stand; it gives you a little bit to hold onto and tuck out of the way. If you trim it too close you may see it peeking out when the stand is topstitched later.
Turn the collar right side out and press thoroughly. Ensure the folded edge of the inner stand lines up with the seamline of the outer stand. Grade seams to reduce bulk and press thoroughly.
Before we topstitch the collar into place, we want to secure the inner stand in place. You can slipstitch it in place by hand, use wonder tape, or use a fabric glue stick and glue baste in place. You can also try pinning it in place but I find you’re more likely to get puckers and misalign the inner stand this way.
With inner stand secured, it’s time to topstitch. This is the trickiest part of sewing shirts because it can be challenging to get your stitching even on both inner and outer stand. Most instructions call for you to topstitch on the outside of the shirt, but if you always wear your shirt unbuttoned like I do, you may want to do it from the inside so you can guarantee the topstitching is even on the side of the stand you’re most likely to see.
Start your stitching at the center back of the shirt. You’ll be topstitching about 1/8″ from the edge; an edge stitch foot can help you get even stitching here. Ignore the pins in the picture below; if you’ve glue or hand basted the stand in place you won’t need them.
Continue sewing all the way around the perimeter of the stand. When you approach the corners, leave the needle down and turn your work.
When complete it should look something like this (but hopefully with less puckers – this fabric was a beast to sew!)
At this point you can go ahead and sew your buttonholes and buttons. I suggest taking a look at our post on sewing perfect buttonholes if this strikes fear into your heart.
Tomorrow I’ll show you the “traditional” method for sewing collars. Hope you consider trying this method for your Kalle or other shirts though – I really do find it much easier to get good results!
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Hello! Lexy here, to bring you another lovely Sewing Space, where a crafter show us around their creative area. Today we have a sweet space in South Wales, belonging to a dressmakers who has an enviable 60s style handmade wardrobe – we love seeing her makes on Instagram. Let’s hear more from the lady herself…
Hello! I’m Jade, welcome to my little sewing sanctuary in sunny South Wales. I am relatively new to the realms of dressmaking and have only really been getting to know my way around a sewing machine for the past three years. By day I work in an office-based role in Bristol but by night can be found in my little sewing haven, musing over my next big make.
I have always been a creative individual and have enjoyed crafting from a young age. At university I studied Graphic Design, which instilled my admiration of beautiful craftsmanship and contemporary design. There was a time when I believed my love for fashion and textiles would be limited to high street trending ready-to-wear garments. Learning of the wonderful indie sewing makers movement really changed all of this for me and after pouring over many inspirational sewing blogs (including Tilly and the Buttons!), I wanted in! In the beginning I attended a brilliant beginners dressmaking class and learnt basic skills and techniques but soon realised that if I was going to take the next step I’d need to make some room at home to build upon these skills!
I started off sewing at home at my kitchen table but soon yearned for a larger space to store all of my dressmaking paraphernalia, which was growing at an alarming rate! Two thirds of my spare bedroom has thus been transformed to home a retro writing desk, some shelving, a storage trolley and a few trinkets to decorate. Overall I’d probably say that my space has a bit of a kitsch vibe about it while still being quite minimalistic. I try not to sprout out too much as the other the other third of the room is occupied by my rather understanding boyfriend who uses his space for his photography hobby, and our pet lizard (‘Lizzy’).
Quirky storage boxes and prettily patterned tins are a bit of a weak spot – I love a good storage solution! Not only do I find it quite therapeutic categorising all of my notions, tools, threads, patterns and fabric but I also find it much easier to pick up a project if I know where everything is. Working in the week means that sewing time is precious in the evenings and this is why having a dedicated sewing space is so great, as it saves time having to set things up and pack things away all of the time. I try and sew a few times a week but generally have more time to get stuck into a project over the weekend, usually with a nice cup of tea and some biccies.
I am a bit of a planner and like to make a mood board to help me decide how the final garment I am making might look – the idea stage is just as fun as the construction! In addition to our resident gecko I have two gorgeous little helpers who keep me company while making, Henry and Coco the Chihuahuas. Coco is a puppy and can often be seen running around the house having fun with rogue scraps or on occasions a snail (pin-free) pincushion!
I’m not much of a fabric hoarder and only really have two main stashes of fabric. Interestingly my stashes mainly comprise of patterned fabrics that I’ve had for a couple of years now before I discovered my fondness for plainer fabrics. I love interesting prints but soon realised that although the pieces I’d bought were really striking, often they wouldn’t be something that I would necessarily wear. Nowadays I tend to gravitate towards plain, bold coloured fabrics and sew them up straight away, so they don’t hang about for long!
As you can probably see I don’t have a great deal of space in my sewing area and unfortunately can’t quite squeeze in another desk for my overlocker. For this reason I hacked an Ikea footstool into an overlocking station by attaching a couple of tin trays, a few hooks and a lick of paint which now means that I can sew and overlock with ease – yay!
Although I am a fairly new sewist, dressmaking has been in my family for generations. My most treasured possession is my dressmaking scissors given to me by my lovely mum who was a fanatical dressmaker herself! My mum sadly passed a couple of years ago and every time I use these scissors to make a garment it gives me a warming sense of pride and connection.
My favourite guilty pleasure of all (even more so than fabric shopping!) is acquiring vintage sewing patterns. My pattern collection comprises of a few commercial patterns, lots of lovely indie patterns (notably Tilly and the Buttons of course) and my beloved, ever growing collection of vintage sewing patterns. Over the past couple of years I have been lucky enough to collect patterns from various decades including the 40s, 50s and 70s but my favourite decade of all has to be the swinging 60s! I love the futuristic undertones in the styling of many of the garments from this period paired with the flamboyant expressions of colour.
I think a wonderful thing about vintage sewing patterns is that they all have a story to tell and it is quite remarkable to think that they are still being enjoyed decades after they were first printed. I try to keep the most delicate patterns in cellophane sleeves, away from the sunlight to prevent them from aging any further and when it’s time to use a pattern, I tend to trace off all of the pieces onto tissue paper to try and preserve the original pattern pieces. Etsy and eBay are a vintage-pattern treasure trove but I have also found a couple of gems at vintage fairs…it can be a bit addictive though! The sky’s the limit… well, my spare room for now!
Thank you so much for letting me share my little sewing space with you!
Thank you for sharing your lovely space with us, Jade. We’d love to spend an afternoon sewing with you, especially if Henry and Coco are around to assist!
Fancy submitting your Sewing Space to be featured? Check out our submission guidelines. Wanna check out past Sewing Space Tours? Grab a cup of tea and get comfy, before delving into the archive.
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