Pattern Puzzle: Neckline dart-collar

interesting neckline dart to collarTalk about a frustratingly spent hour, hasn’t Hollywood caught on to the whole internet media thing? You know, such as individuals having their own web pages or something?

Case in point: we watched Ironman 2 on DVD two weeks ago; the costuming was fabulous. But can you easily find a catalog of styles produced in the film? No, you cannot. I consider myself fortunate to have discovered the designer’s name, one Mary Zophres. Judging from the costumes in this film (and her others), I can see why Mary is 39th on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 50 Smartest People in Hollywood. Still, I don’t know why film designers don’t have their own websites like regular designers do. If they were more accessible, they could attract nice paying freelance offers.

Okay, I’m done whining. Pictured at right is today’s challenge. Sorry it’s fuzzy but the image was photographed from a computer screen with my phone. You can see how the dart forms on the outside of the garment, above the bust apex becoming a stand up collar about the back neck. Is that cool or what? I knew a designer from El Paso who did a lot of design effects like this circa 2000-2001. Forming darts on the outside of the garment was a signature of hers.

This dart-collar isn’t as tricky as you might think. Take your time, play with it a bit and post a link to any sketches you have for how this affect was rendered. Good luck!

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  1. Jamie Locklear says:

    Glad you liked the costuming on Iron Man 2. I can’t wait to tell my dear friend Erica what you thought about the clothing. She was the Cutter/Draper on the movie. She has many stories about working on the film. RDJ had a clothing pyshic that he would hold the phone up to the costume and the guy would tell him over the phone if he could wear it or not. Mary designed alot of Gwyneths clothing and my friend Erica pattened and made it, but they would tell her it was from the newest Prada, Gucci or some other designers collection that was from the next season. They would sew the designers labels in the dresses and she would love them thinking they were designer dresses. This is somthing that happens all the time in the movies. I also worked with Mary this summer. She was here in Santa Fe working for a few months on the remake of true grit. I made a few mens coats for her. She is one of Hollywoods next hottest designers. Great eye and very nice person to work with.

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    Mmmm. That’s the neck from old Vogue 2094 by Miyake, re-issued as the tea-garden T by the Sewing Workshop. Very nice design, dead easy to make :-).

  3. Carla Behrle says:

    I’ve done these dart treatments (in leather ‘natch) & they are really flattering on and like you noted much simpler than it looks to pattern & make. There are examples of this type of neckline dart going way back – 1940’s & 50’s. Must have had it genesis in the 30’s-the period of the best neckline treatments ever! Jamie’s comment about sewing designer labels in to the costumes, is very interesting. It speaks volumes and is a little bit sad to read.

  4. Lena says:

    I guess I am the only one who has not seen it before. I googled the patterns mentioned and it looks like the whole top has to be in one single piece. My version looked good on the mannequin though! :)

  5. Ann says:

    Even if you don’t have a Pro account, IMDb routinely lists full cast and crew. It took about twenty seconds to find Mary Zophres on the “Ironman 2” page – if you often have questions about film or television designers, IMDb is the site to bookmark.

  6. Jan, I’ve had that open on my desktop all day, I think I’m becoming obsessed with it. Who is the designer?

    I think an homage re-run of that could be appealing to today’s more casual customer, maybe by raising the neckline and shortening it to tea length.

  7. Jan says:

    The designer of the dress on the FIDM site is Vivienne Westwood, though it does not seem to be a garment typical of her usual work. I recently saw a short swing jacket made of a cotton faille with a similar construction but with the neckline pleats sewn as darts; rather attractive, I thought. Thanks for bringing this up and for all your pattern puzzle topics.

  8. Kaaren Hoback says:

    Hi Lena, I tried your version and stopped short…how can the shawl like extension come off the closed inside out dart on front? Once you close this large a dart it pleats the extension.

    Ok- I cant have the raised pleat for lack of a better word on the back neck and still have a separate front and back unless 1. I make a back collar band that attaches to the back neck edge and disappears into the shoulder seam. OR 2. Draft the pleat into the back with darts coming off the shoulder and curving towards center. in which case its going to look stitched and not stand the same way.

    Just playing with the look- I like the darted collar like thing (does this have a name?) even without a stand/band/pleat at back neck.
    Am I missing a key factor?


  9. dosfashionistas says:

    Kaaren and Lena, I think the neck dart does not take all of the bodice fullness. If you look closely, I believe there is an Empire waist with a small dart below the bust. So, the neck fold is just enough for the stand at the back of the neck. Second, it cannot curve because both sides of the fold must come together and sew into the back neckline. So the extension for the back stand comes up at a right angle from the shoulder, with some shaping on the center back seam to help it cling to the neck. At least that is my idea.

  10. Kaaren Hoback says:

    I admit to becoming obsessed with this design. I agree with dosfashionistas- in fact I don’t think the neck/collar dart shapes the bust area much at all. To work as a collar it must stop well north of the bust apex, and doesn’t necessarily point at it- the photo shows the point facing more outside towards the armhole.

    I also agree that the collar extension should be shaped similar to a shawl collar extension which will allow the back neck to stand when faced. This all presumes using a simplified separate front and back piece- not the gorgeous version depicted in Pattern Magic Vol.2 .


  11. Greg says:

    Just a note … no need to take a photo of a computer screen. Just push the “print screen” button on your keyboard. It makes a copy of whatever is on the screen. Then paste into your photo editing software.

  12. Kathleen says:

    I’m about midway through a test of this collar. I agree it is similar to the Miyake but the latter isn’t as formed, it’s looser and also it’s a knit. The pattern I’ve come up with is pretty trippy looking. There appears to be several possibilities once you get to the drafting portion. I’m not going to test Lena’s possibility (not because I don’t think hers has merit) because I have two others I want to try first. Hopefully I will be able to post results next week.

  13. Barb Taylorr says:

    “If they were more accessible, they could attract nice paying freelance offers.”

    Having spent the 1st half of my career in theatre / film, I feel pretty confident saying that free-lance fashion work is not something all (or even many) costume designers would seek.

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