In my last post I showed you how to trace a collar pattern from an existing garment. This next tutorial is for you if you don't have a collar to trace, or would like to make a new one from scratch.
For this tutorial, you will need the usual pattern making supplies:
Some pattern paper.
A tape measure.
A patternmaster or french curve.
And a pencil and eraser.
To start, you will need to take the body of the pattern you are adding a collar to.
Match the front and back patterns together at the shoulder (if your pattern has seam allowance, make sure you match 'stitch line' to 'stitch line' and not the edges of the pattern).
Take a tape measure and measure around the neckline of the shirt, from centre front to centre back (or vice versa). Make sure you are measuring the 'stitch line.'
Take note of this measurement.
You will also need to measure around the neckline, from the centre back to the shoulder.
Take note of this measurement.
Once you have your measurements, it's time to get drafting!
Rule a horizontal line, the length of your centre front to centre back measurement, close to the bottom of your piece of paper – labeling the endpoints as A and B. This will be the baseline.
Label point A as the centre back and point B as the centre front.
Decide how wide the placket of your shirt will be.
You will need this measurement to add an extension to your collar stand for the button and buttonhole.
Once you have decided on the width of the placket, divide the measurement by two and extend the baseline by this distance from point B.
Label the new endpoint as point C.
It is important to mark where your shoulder lies on the collar and will help when sewing the collar onto the shirt. To do this, take your ‘centre back to shoulder’ measurement and mark a point (point D) this distance from A along your baseline.
Label point D as 'shoulder.'
Draw perpendicular lines up from A, B, C and D, approximately 20cm long. These are just guidelines, so they don't need to be exactly the same lengths.
Decide how wide your collar and stand will be. It is often helpful to look at a shirt you have at home and measure the width of the collar and stand and go from there. Decide whether you would like to use the same measurements or increase or decrease the widths – depending on your design and individual preference.
Focus on your centre back (line that extends from point A).
On this line (measuring from A) measure up the width of your stand and mark with a point - point E.
Next, you will need to leave a 5cm break. This will help you when you come to drawing the curve of your collar later on and ensures a nice collar roll – mark the top of the break as point F.
From point F measure up the centre back line, the chosen width of your collar, and mark endpoint as G.
Draw a perpendicular line from point G that extends until it intersects with the perpendicular drawn from C. This line will be the top edge of your collar.
Label the intersection point as point H.
Move your attention to the centre front.
Measuring from point B, mark a point 2.5cm up (this is a break which will help you draw the curve of your stand) and label point as I.
Starting at point I, mark a point, the width of your collar stand, above I, on the centre front line.
Label this point as point J.
From point J, draw a perpendicular line that intersects all four vertical lines.
This line will become a 'fold line' at a later stage.
Draw a perpendicular line from E that intersects the shoulder line. Mark the intersection point as point K.
This is the section of your collar stand that will fit around the back neckline.
From the shoulder point (point D) the stand needs to be curved, so it will curve around the neck when it is sewn. Using a French curve draw a curved line from D that passes through point I and extends to the perpendicular line drawn from C. Label the intersection point as point L.
Using the same part of your French curve (so that the curve is exactly the same as the lower curve) draw a curved line from point K that also passes through the perpendicular line drawn from C.
If you have trouble getting the same curved line a second time, use masking tape on your French curve to mark where the original curve started and finished and then slide the French curve up to replicate the curve, starting from point K.
Check that the stand width remains the same throughout the collar stand.
These two lines will become the top and bottom edges of the collar stand.
Now that we have the general shape of the collar stand, we need to finish it by shaping the front for the button extension.
To do this, you need to work out where the collar will start, which will also be the point where the collar stand will begin to curve.
If you look closely at the image, you will see that the collar starts at approximately the same point in which the placket ends (give or take a few millimeters).
Take the distance between points C and B (which is half the width of your placket), and mark a point this distance from B, along the baseline. Name the point B1.
The distance between C and B1 should be the same as your placket width, and point B should lie in the middle of the two points
Draw a perpendicular line from point B1 that intersects the top collar edge (GH).
Label the point where the top edge of the collar stand and the guideline drawn from point B1 intersect as point M.
Join point M with point L with a curved line.
The outline of the collar stand is now complete.
It is now time to draft the collar pattern.
The first thing you want to do is replicate the line at the top of the stand, to form the base of the collar. The reason you want the curve of the base of the collar to be the same as the top edge of the collar stand is so that the two pieces fit together nicely when sewn.
To do this, you will need to fold the pattern along the 'fold line.'
With your pattern folded, trace along the top edge of the collar stand with a tracing wheel (from point E to M, and beyond to the fold line).
If your paper is transparent enough, you could also just transfer the line to the other side by tracing.
Unfold the pattern to reveal the new curve marked by the tracing wheel.
Join the markings with a smooth line.
At the point where the new curve intersects with the line that runs up from point B1, label as point N.
Decide where you would like the point of your collar to lie.
Extend the top edge of the collar from point H (or shorten it if you would prefer your collar points to be further away from the centre front).
Label the point of the collar as point O.
Join points O and N with a straight line to complete the outline of the collar pattern.
Now that the outlines of both your patterns are complete, trace each pattern onto a new piece of paper. If you are tracing them on to the same sheet, make sure you leave enough space for you to add seam allowance around both patterns.
While tracing, make sure you transfer all important guidelines by adding notches.
On the collar stand, notch:
- The shoulder point (on both top and bottom edges) as you will need to know where the stand meets with the shirt at the shoulder (point D) and also where the stand joins with the collar (point K).
- The CENTRE FRONT (point I) so that the collar stand will join to the placket in the right place.
- The CENTRE BACK on both top and bottom edge (point A and point E).
- Also notch point M to indicate where the collar ends. This will help when sewing the collar to the stand.
On the collar itself, notch:
- The shoulder point on the bottom edge
- The CENTRE BACK at both top and bottom edge (points G and F)
- Also notch a balance point somewhere along the top edge of the collar
For the collar you will need two separate pattern pieces - a 'top collar' and an 'under collar'.
Some commercial patterns will advise to just cut a pair of collars, but I was always told to make a separate pattern piece for the under collar, so I am going to stick to what I know.
The reason for this, is that you want the under collar (when stitched) to hide neatly under the collar, with no sign of the stitching. It will give your collar a more professional finish.
To do this, you will need to make the under collar pattern slightly smaller than the top collar pattern, which will accommodate "the turn of the cloth." Some people will do this after the fabric is cut (by cutting a pair of collars and then just trimming one back), but I prefer to just get it done at the pattern cutting stage.
The amount to remove from the edge of your under collar will depend on the type of fabric you are using. As I was using quite a thin cotton, I opted for 4mm (if you are using a thicker fabric you may need to trim back more). Remove this width from the top edge, and the opening of the collar, before tapering back to the original line ("zero") at the seam that joins with the stand.
Trace the patterns onto separate pieces of paper (remember to include notches).
If you would like a more detailed explanation of this process, this is a great post to check out. I hadn't even thought about using this method on facings and pocket flaps (feel like a bit of a dummy who has just been "doing what I was told"), but definitely look forward to trying it on my next project.
Finish both collar patterns by adding seam allowance.
Once again, keep it narrow (e.g. 6mm - 10mm) to ensure that you will be able to get a nice clean finish when the patterns are sewn together.
Remember, the seam allowance on the bottom edge of the collar will need to be the same as the seam allowance on the top edge of the collar stand, as these seams are sewn together.
At this point you can also add cutting instructions.
There are a number of ways the under collar can be cut, and this will depend on your fabric choice, design and individual preference.
Standard (cut 1 on fold).
On the bias. This will make it easier to ease the under collar into the top collar.
On the bias with a centre back seam.
Once your two collar pieces are complete, move back to your stand pattern.
Add seam allowance. Keep it narrow (e.g. 6mm - 10mm) to ensure you will be able to sew the tight curve accurately.