Sewing Super Sharp Collar Points // Kalle SewalongJune 6, 2017 / byHeather Lou / Categories : Feeds
This week we are talking about installing the collar for our Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress. I am going to show you two methods for doing so, but in the meantime I thought it would be fun to take a little detour to discuss how to sew sharp collar points.
If you’ve made a few shirts, you’ve probably struggled with getting nice, sharp collar points. I wanted to experiment to see what got the best results, so I tried three different methods. The first one is commonly called for in shirt pattern instructions; as you approach the corner, you use a short stitch length to square it off with 1-2 shirt stitches. The second method is the one most commonly employed by professional shirt-makers, at least according to David Coffin in his Shirtmaking book. In the last method, you sew the corner stitch over a piece of thread and then use that thread tail to pull the corner clean out.
Here is a quick look at my results.
The fold-over and thread tail method are the clear winners here. I believe I got the sharpest results with the thread tail method, but I am going to show you both techniques and you can choose the one that works best for you. Since I have never gotten great results using the square off method, I won’t be explaining that one any further.
THE FOLD-OVER AND TURN METHOD
If you are sewing shirt collars this way, simply sew your seam allowance normally, pivoting at the corner. Trim the entire seam down to 1/4″.
It isn’t necessary to trim too closely around the seams, but you do not want to remove a bit of thickness. I graded the interfaced seam down in the below example; if I wanted to remove bulk even more, I would cut my interfacing to the size of the finished collar and not apply any along the seam allowance at all.
Next, fold over the edge of the corner right at the point and try to crease the edge with your finger.
Next, fold over the seam along the stitch line and crease it in place.
Repeat for the other side.
Now you’ll need a pointy pair of tweezers. I find the ones that come with most sergers work well – it’s important they have a long, pointed edge so you can get right into the corner. Push the tweezers into the corner and try and grab this little folded over area of fabric as you hold it steady with your fingers. The tweezers should be grabbing the right side of the collar on the other side.
Hold the tweezers tightly and then flip the corner to the inside. The collar should naturally align along the crisp folds of fabric you made into a nice point.
If you’re having trouble getting the point entirely out, David Coffin recommends using a large needle to nudge the point out – just be careful you don’t use too much force or you may nick a thread.
I find the tweezer method gives pretty good results, but it’s a little fiddly. I am super happy to have discovered the following technique. It gives super sharp corners and is pretty easy to sew, one of those sewing moves that feels like magic.
GETTING SHARP CORNERS USING A THREAD TAIL
This method is done at the sewing machine, but I like to mark my stitch line before I get there so I know exactly where to pivot my stitching.
At your sewing machine, sew the seam allowance normally, but switch to a short stitch length before you get to the first corner (around 2mm). Right before you make the stitch that you will pivot from to turn the corner, cut a length of thread. Leave your needle down and raise your presser foot. Bring the piece of thread in between the two collar pieces on either side of the needle until it is touching the needle itself. Use your left hand to keep this piece of thread taut.
Put your presser foot down and sew one stitch, leaving your needle down. You have just sewn over your thread tail. Now, pull the thread on the right side over to the left, around the base of the needle. You should now be holding both threads in your left hand.
Leave the needle down, and turn the collar so you are ready to sew the next side. Pull the thread tail as far to the left as you can so it is out of the way when you begin stitching. Now sew one stitch. You have now “trapped” the thread tail in between the two stitches that meet at the corner.
Continue sewing, and repeat the same steps as above for the other corner.
Once your collar is stitched, grade your seams and trim close corner without cutting your stitch line.
Now here’s the fun part! Gently pull on your thread tail and turn the collar right side out. Don’t pull too hard, or you risk popping a stitch or pulling the corner too far out.
You’ll find you’ve created a remarkably sharp collar point! Press into shape and you’re good to go.
Hopefully you’ll get great results sewing your next collar with one of these methods. What is your favourite way to sew collars?
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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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