Tips for Sewing a Perfect Collar

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Sewing | Comments


There’s nothing I love more than a top or dress with a collar on it. I wear them, design them, teach them, and add them onto everything. I love a good collar! But, there’s nothing more homemade looking than a poorly sewn collar. If the curves are not smooth and the points are not crisp, the rest of the outfit, no matter how well sewn, will look homemade as a result.

sewing collars

Here are some helpful tips on how to get your collars to look store bought perfect!

collar

1. Make sure your collar is on grain. If the collar has lines, a grid, or anything that will giveaway that your collar is not sewn straight, make sure it is perfectly on grain with the threads and print of your fabric.

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2. Take your time cutting. If you pin and use scissors, be sure to pin it well around all the curves. If you use weights and a rotary cutter (as pictured here) make sure to use a sharp blade for clean cuts and heavy weights so it will not shift in the process.

sewing collars

3. Use interfacing in your collar to give it body. I recommend using a piece that is the size of your collar without the seam allowance on either curved edge. Otherwise the seams will be very thick and will stand out from the garment around the neck.

sewing collars

4. Press your interfacing onto the wrong side of the collar pieces, on only the under collar and not the upper collar. This will give strength and body to the whole collar while keeping the upper part of the collar looking like the original fabric and not stiff.

sewing collars

5. Prior to pinning your upper and under collars pieces together, mark your pivot points with your seam gauge. Be sure to follow the seam allowance for the project you are sewing!

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6. Some collars will have matching upper and under collar pieces, and others will use a smaller under collar piece. If your pattern has a smaller under collar piece, be aware that you will have some edges to ease together along the curve so they will not lay flat while pinning.

sewing collars

7. When turning the corner of your collar, stop just short of your pivot mark and sink your needle into the fabric prior to lifting the presser foot up. Raise it, pivot, and see if you are on your mark for the seam allowance. If not, return to the proper position and turn the hand wheel forward to move another stitch. If a full stitch will over shoot your mark, turn down the stitch length to move forward a smaller amount.

how to make a collar

8. After sewing the collar pieces together, trim the corners down to reduce bulk. Do not get too close to the stitching as to weaken the stitch.

collars

9. In addition to clipping the corners, trim the entire collar seam allowance down to around 1/4 inch. This will create a smooth curve around the entire collar and is better than clipping or notching.

sewing collars

10. Turn the collar right side out and use a point turner in the corners to poke out the seam allowance and get a crisp corner. Be firm but gentle with the point turner as not to poke through your seam stitching.

couture collar

11. When pressing the seam flat, roll the seam to the underside of the collar. If the under collar was smaller, this will happen naturally. If not, you will need to trim the neck curve a bit to allow for the amount you are rolling to the underside.

marking collar

12. To top stitch the collar, make sure to mark your pivot points with water soluble marking tools. I like the pen pictured above that provides a perfect mark for precision turning. Always test your marking tool on a scrap first!

sewing collar

13. I prefer to topstitch my collars with a 1/4 inch seam, making it a perfect moment to use my 1/4 inch seam foot. The bar on the right of the foot keeps the stitching in place for professional stitching.

collar

14. After stitching, use water or the eraser on your marking pen to remove the pivot point on the front of the collar.

how to sew a perfect collar

15. Give it all a final press with the iron, clip the threads, and you are ready to add it to your project!

Comments

  1. Debbie says:

    thank you for posting the instructions for making a collar. This is very helpful to me as I continue to make dresses for my daughter.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad I could help!

  2. Mary Beeman says:

    This may seem like a silly question but how did you get the pattern for the collar?

    1. Not a silly question at all! These are pointers for any collar that you might find on patterns that feature that detail. The pattern itself would come with the pattern pieces.

  3. Nancy Noel says:

    This is a wonderful guide!

  4. Laura says:

    Christine! Your always so helpful!

    I hope to see another sewing class by you on craftsy! <3

    1. Thanks Laura! I hope to do another class too!

  5. Rucker 1 says:

    Thanks for the detailed instructions. The instructions were really helpful.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Thanks Christine! Your tips are very helpful.

  7. Sandra Parry says:

    Thanks for informative instructions, can’t wait to try them out

  8. Connie says:

    I teach sewing, and I always teach my students to sew directionally on collars. To do that you sew from the center back to the center front on the neck seam (the shorter, inside one), then flip the collar over to sew the other half from center back to center front. When doing this you sew with the grain, instead of against the grain on one half. By sewing the seam the whole way continuously you can stretch half of the neckline, prohibiting that side of the collar from lying flat. Look at it this way: when you purchase a shirt or blouse, after you wash it one side of the collar lies flat and the other half doesn’t.

  9. Kathy Szmolke says:

    Another great tutorial! I made my son-in-law a shirt for the Renaissance Festival last summer, and I used many of the steps that you showed here. But I really appreciated rolling the seam to the inside of the collar. I spent a lot of time trying to match the seam to the edge, and this would have made things so much easier! I’ll try it your way from now on!

  10. yasmin says:

    It is very informative, I always wanted some tip and now I got one which is really helpful. Thanks for it. I appreciate each and every technique which is uploaded. It is unfortunate that I am unable to join online classes. I never miss the opportunity to take free online classes. Thankyou for being such an excellent guide

  11. Mary says:

    your instructions are very detailed. is there any chance you could do a notched collar tutorial? I’m stuck – again – on a notched collar and cannot figure out how to do it.

    so far the only tutorial I’ve found that is similar to what I’m doing is on youtube, but it’s in Chinese.

  12. Thanks for the tutorial – I love collars, but sometimes they’re just plain awkward and refuse to do as they’re told! I now have the whip hand, so to speak, and shall be able to make better collars. Just an additional note – crochet collars make a beautiful change, so add that mental note, and both kinds will complement and compliment your wardrobe.