A tale -and tutorial- of three collars pt.2

Following up to comments left in response to the first entry. First up is Sarra who asks:

A home sewing book I have suggests cutting the under collar 1/8″ or so smaller lengthwise than the upper collar and then stretching it to fit the upper collar while sewing, so that once it is sewn it will curve inward, i.e., around the neck. Is this a good idea, or an example of poor pattern drafting?

If you think about it, taking out a bit at center back of the under collar is a variation of method #1. The only difference is that you’re taking out of the center of the (under) collar rather than the ends. As to whether it is a good practice, sometimes it is your only option. By way of example is Renee’s comment:

The dress collar in question is rounded at the ends. It seems as though that would be difficult to stitch in a 2-step process, and where would you break the seam? I would prioritize having the longer seam roll under.

If the collar is rounded like a peter pan collar, it is difficult to remove at the ends so it is better to split the undercollar and take it out there (as in Sarra’s comment). The other option is to take off 1/8″ all the way around the outside edge of the undercollar (which should be cut on the bias). This is a variation of method 2 except it would be sewn in one pass like the control collar. For what it’s worth, the latter is how I make all of my mandarin collars.

Obviously, sewing a smaller edge to a larger one will require some stretching of the undercollar to fit the larger edge of the top collar. Some of you might think this is counter to what I’ve said before. The nuance is that there is no gain to complicating construction if there is another way to get the same effect with less hassle. A collar with a rounded edge (peter pan, mandarin) is an example that justifies the extra work and skill in handling. Still another alternative is to cheat by piping that edge.

Xochil asks:

Would there be any reason to use method 1 vs. method 2? I learned to make top/under collars using method 2. I see you get the same result here, but is there any reason to do it one way or another?

It depends on styling more than anything. The example of the collar above (presumably a peter pan collar) would dictate modified method 2. If you’re asking for a hard and fast rule, I don’t have one. With many collars, I actually do a combination of methods. For example, notched collars especially on coats (heavier fabrics). Those I definitely use method #2 but I also take out a bit at the center back of the under collar (as in the first example of Sarra’s comment).

Linda writes:

I can’t follow the progression of collar #2 from “first seams” to “second seams.” In the first instance there is 1/8th extra in gray along the bottom, and the seam is sewed along the top. In the second photo the extra is gone. What am I misinterpreting?

It might be clearer if you try sewing a sample. Cut one piece 1/8 to 3/16th narrower than the first. Sew those two pieces together on one long side. For the second seam -to finish off either end- fold the collar in half, rolling the first seam onto the undercollar side.

Deanna writes:

Would you recommend these methods #1&2 for pad stitched under collars as well? Or by using &1or #2 you wouldn’t need to pad stitch? The cutter I used to sew for would cut the collars one straight one biased but identical size, and I would sew it to shape based on how much turn of cloth I thought it should have. I just wonder if the seam allowances leave weird lumps??

Hmmm. As far as I’ve understood it, pad stitching is intended as a way of attaching stabilizer. I didn’t realize pad stitching was also being used as a shaping method. If pad stitching is being used for shaping, then it seems it would fall in the same category as iron work. As to whether the allowances leave weird lumps, I think you would have noticed them by now if they did. 1/4″ seam allowance on outside edges is pretty standard in RTW. In homesewing, these seams are trimmed back so practices in both camps amount to the same thing.

Katherine writes:

Could you also use this technique for the short edge of contoured waistbands? I always get a bit of peek of the contrast facing out the front of the waistband, above the fly.

Yes, and not just for waistbands but cuffs too -as previously illustrated in this tutorial.

I hope this helps.

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10 comments

  1. David S. says:

    Pad stitching of under collars is done to attach the interfacing/stabalizer, yes, but often using a piece of interfacing that’s cut so that there is shaping of the under collar. (And lapels, too.) That’s true of both hand done bespoke work, and machine padded pieces.

    Hand tailoring isn’t intended to be repeatable, and there’s a lot more skill expected from the people doing the work (There used to be specialists who did nothing but make collars.) then most RTW operations require. Done right, it can do all sorts of wonderful things; done wrong, it can be dreadful.

  2. Marie-Noëlle says:

    This helps indeed. Thanks for more about peter pan collars they are on trend right now and on my to do sewing fall sewing projects.

  3. I once did pad stitch and shape the under collar of a coat. (By hand.)

    It was a very heavy, slightly stiff woolen coat fabric, still full of lanolin by the touch. – That was the reason why I didn’t dare to use fusible interfacing.

    I have to admit that this coat has the nicest shaped collar I’ve ever produced. And I doubt, given the feel of the fabric, that it would have reacted as nicely with a fusible interfacing and without the shaping.

    But that was the only time, it was a lot of work and I wouldn’t do it again unless necessary. (It was a men’s coat that is still worn and probably will for another decade or two. Or three. So it’s probably worth it.)

  4. Kathleen says:

    Interesting. Notice the color coding and verbiage; the latter could have been pulled from my entry on piece naming. Ditto on the grainline arrow -which speaks to consistency in trade practices (for those who are certain I’m too picky). Heaven forbid tho that people start making “patterns” out of muslin. Some context surely is missing.

  5. Renee says:

    FWIW, in haute couture, pad stitching is absolutely about shaping the roll of the collar and lapel. I remember vividly the feeling of pricking my fingers hundreds of times getting the tiniest stitches possible through the under collars and under lapel formed over my non-needle hand. The collars have a true roll line, not a crease, and they don’t ever want to lift, so heaven forbid you should want to pull up that collar against the wind or rain.

  6. Theresa in Tucson says:

    It’s not uncommon to use the muslin garment after it’s cut apart as the pattern. Just a guess, this is a prototype in a couture workroom rather than a factory; the gal does work for Oscar De La Renta. As things develop it would probably get transferred to oaktag, but that’s my assumption rather than knowledge. Nice to see the consistency in practices.

  7. Renee says:

    Alison, You wouldn’t know this, but I attended les Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. I am therefore authorized to use that designation, since I was describing what I learned in their hallowed halls ;-)

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