So, I know there are tons of DIY fancy collar ideas out there, but bear with me while explain why this one's a technique you should remember. Collars by nature are typically attached to your shirt or sweater, so any kind of collar you wear as a necklace that isn't attached is definitely going to be different that an attached, inset collar--and a little trickier to wear. So this collar takes a page from the book of 19th century accessories, when collars and cuffs on ladies' dresses were separate items, sewn in with fast whipstitching and easily removed for washing, since the dresses were often not washable. Same as detachable collars for men's shirts. They tuck inside the neck of the shirt, but attach so they stay in place as if they were part of the main garment.
Anyway, follow along with me here to make a super nice quality detachable Peter Pan shaped collar, which I'll tell you how to embellish with pretty storebought trim--I used a beaded and sequin bridal trim.
Embellished collars are big this fall--I was just reading in my Glamour mag how they're a must-have!--so since you're a crafty DIYer with sewing and design skills, you're at an advantage! You can make your own collars, in whatever color or style you want. Make some fancy ones for holiday parties, and maybe a more basic one or two to go with a tee, a la the J.Crew Peter Pan collar tee. SO many fun possibilities with these pretty little accessories!
You will need:
- ¼ yard fabric (optional: ¼ yard fusible interfacing)
- 1 package or ½ yard double fold bias tape in matching color
- 5/8 yard pretty trim
- 5 very small safety pins or clear plastic sew-in snaps
- Needle and thread in color that matches your trim
- Pattern of your choice—you can use the one I made, for a size Small-Medium collar, or you can use a collar from a jacket or blouse pattern you have (or one of the ones I added in Supplies). The pattern I made can be sized up very slightly by adding at the center back (cutting ½” or less or so from the fold rather than lined up on the fold), but if you want to add much more, consult a pattern drafting guide to scale the curve of the neckline properly. Or, you can use a garment to trace the neckline, and then draw your own collar pattern in the size and shape you want. (Select "Fit picture to frame" to print this on regular 8.5"x11" paper and print it the right scale.) *Note: This pattern plans for 3/8” seam allowances. Your sewing machine probably has several lines parallel to the presserfoot indicating width from the needle position—use the one that says 3/8” or 1 cm or even just “1.”
- Cut two pieces of the collar pattern, both on the fold. (If using fusible interfacing, cut 1 of interfacing and press to outer collar piece).
- Pin and sew right sides together along the long, curved outside edge, with a 3/8” seam allowance.
- Clip your seam allowance so that when you turn the collar around and reverse the curve, the fabric will lay flat, without the bulk. Clip every ½” to 1”, being careful not to clip into your seam!! Clip almost to the seam, with triangles at 45–60◦ angles, like little equilateral triangles or smaller.
- With your iron, press the seam allowance to one side (the underside), as best you can. Try to flatten the seam allowance without getting some of the right side of the fabric caught in the fold.
- At your machine, understitch all the way around the long edge of the collar. Understitching is sewing through the bottom three layers—the underside and both seam allowance pieces—to keep the underside piece from showing on the top, and to keep everything flat. (Understitching is pressing the seam allowances toward the piece that will be underneath and stitching them down, usually 1⁄8 inch or less from the original seam.)
- Press the collar flat. The understitching will cause the top fabric piece to be a little shorter than the underside, since now it wraps around the tiniest bit at the edge to hide the seam. So, trim a symmetrical wedge out of the bottom layer, tapering it to the front edges where it will still match up with the top layer.
- Pin through both layers just to tack in place, and wedge the unfinished (inner) edge of the collar into your double fold bias tape. With ½” or so sticking past the collar, sew the bias tape together on the open edge, and follow along with your collar, pushing the raw edges into the fold of the bias tape all the way, if possible. Imagine putting pieces of paper into a file folder—they should sit at the bottom of the fold.
- Done with the construction part! Now, press your collar into a nice, folded and curved position, like it will go in your sweater or top. The bias tape will fold on the inside of the neckline, next to your skin, and shouldn’t show on the outside.
- Get out your pretty trim, and sew it on (by hand or machine, depending on the material). Sequins and beads are usually hard to sew by machine, so I did mine by hand. *Note: if your trim is FLAT, you can machine it on before attaching the bias tape, so the edges of the trim are hidden under the bias tape.
- Safety pin to the inside of your sweater! Put pins in the front on both sides, at the center back, and at the sides halfway between front and back. Or, if you make lots of these or have one sweater or tee in mind, you can hand-sew it in with a large whipstitch all the way around or attach five or more snaps to both the collar and sweater.
Wear your creation proudly!
(If you like the look of this collar project, please save it to your projects on Kollabora and/or pin it to a Pinterest board (With caption Kollabora Alt Summit Challenge!)! Help me get to Alt Summit! =) Thanks so much, and hope to see you around Kollabora or at my blog, Adventures in Dressmaking!)