How to Make a One-Piece Shirt Collar

One of the challenges of sewing a dress shirt is getting the collar just right.

Men's dress shirt

Photo via Sew Maris

Shirtmakers have lots of little tricks for sewing a beautiful shirt, and one that I like to use is converting a two-piece collar into a combined one-piece upper+under collar. This results in a smoother front collar edge, and that can translate into nicer looking and more even collar points. Since most commercial shirt patterns include just a single collar pattern piece that’s used for both the upper and under collar, you will need to draft a one-piece upper+under collar pattern piece.

Before we get started, let’s identify the parts of the collar we will be working with:

Upper and Under collar patterns

How to draft a one-piece upper+under shirt collar:

Step 1:

Draw a fresh copy of the upper collar, including notches and grainline.

Step 2:

Draw a fresh copy of the under collar, or if there is not a separate pattern piece for this, draw a second collar piece to be used for the under collar. Ignore notches and grainline.

Stitching lines drawn - making a one-piece shirt collar

Step 3:

Draw the stitching line on both ends of the upper collar and also on the under collar.

Under collar cut in half

Step 4:

Fold the under collar in half, and cut the under collar on this center fold line.

Center back seam allowance added

Step 5:

Add tissue under both of the under collar center back cut edges, and draw a new seam allowance.

Under Collar taped to Upper Collar - making a one-piece shirt collar on craftsy

Step 6:

Place the upper collar face-up in front of you, and place the side seam stitching line of the under collar on top of the side seam stitching line of the upper collar.

Step 7:

Tape down the under collar and cut off the corner triangles.

How to use a one-piece upper+under shirt collar:

Step 1:

Interface the upper collar to the side edge fold line.

Step 2:

Right sides together, sew the center back seam allowance, and press the seam open.

Step 3:

Right sides together, stitch the collar edge seam.

Step 4:

Trim, turn and press the collar.

Step 5:

Apply to the collar stand per the pattern directions.

Give this technique a try in your next shirt, and let us know how you like it. I love the fact the under collar is on the bias, which causes it to roll nicely under the upper collar. My husband also likes button-down collars, and it is vastly easier to make a small buttonhole at the front of this collar style than a two-piece collar!

Learn lots more secrets to a crisp, tailored shirt with Pam Howard’s help in The Classic Tailored Shirt Craftsy class. And Christine Haynes also has some great ideas in her post Tips for Sewing a Perfect Collar.

Do you have any tips for sewing perfect collars?

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