Band collar tutorial

I’m making a (yet another) test sample of my latest pattern that will be released in a few weeks. It has a band collar that lays flat against the body. You can follow this tutorial to make a mandarin collar, stand-up collar or any kind of a band collar, basically anything that only has the collar stand without the folded collar piece.. I guess it’s clear I love these types of collars!

Before starting you’ll need to apply interfacing. Whether you should apply it to the undercollar or main collar piece is debatable. I advise to apply it to the main collar, because this is the part that will be visible and needs to look crisp and sharp. You can also apply it to both pieces, or better yet use a non-fusible in the middle. I have actually skipped the interfacing here because I’m working with silk that is slightly sheer and I don’t want the interfacing to show through. (This doesn’t mean it’s ok never to use any, it remains to be seen how this poor collar will look!)

So, let’s get started. The undercollar is usually cut in two pieces which need to be sewn together.  Make sure right sides are facing, and match any notches.

Press the seam open.

Place undercollar on top of main collar, right sides facing. and matching notches.

Starting at 1 cm / 3/8″ from the edge (or whatever seam allowance you use) stitch the ends and inner edge of collar. Ignore the black thread, there will be another tutorial later to explain its function!

Now you’ll need to clip into the seam allowance, this will help the collar turn neatly. Trim away the corner if your collar has one. (I will use this technique instead since I’m working with a delicate silk).

I also trim the entire seam allowance down to about 4-6 mm (1/4″ or a bit less). If working with a thicker fabric grade the seam allowance: only one seam allowance is trimmed narrower.

Over to the ironing board and press the seam carefully, pressing the seam allowance towards the undercollar. I like to gently pull the seam apart when pressing to make sure there are no puckers.
Next up, understitching. If you are going to topstitch the entire collar in the end, you are allowed to skip this step. (Only this one time, otherwise understitching is never to be skipped!) I usually avoid visible topstitches where possible so for me there’s no skipping. Stitch right next to the previous seam, again gently pulling the seam apart to make sure everything is laying flat. If your collar has a corner you will not be able to understitch at the corner. Just go as close as you comfortably can.

Since I’ve trimmed my seam allowance down to non existent I sometimes need the help of my little friend the seam ripper to keep the fabric in place when feeding it through.

And here you have it, the understitching has secured the seam allowance to the undercollar and will be doing wonders in keeping the collar edge stiff and keeping the undercollar on the underside.

Right side view.

Over to the ironing board again. Regardless of whether you have understitched or not, you’ll want to press the seam so that it rolls a little bit to the side of the undercollar and is not visible from the collar side. This is just one of those important little details that will help take your sewing from “homemade” to “couture”.

Press the corner into a nice shape.

Now you have a finished collar ready to be attached. Continue to part II on how to attach the collar to the neckline.

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