COLLARS 1.

Cut out two upper collars and two collar stands with a 1 cm seam allowance, cutting small slits (notches) indicating the centers and meeting points at the neck edges and shoulder seams. TIP - mark the 1cm seam line at the corners with chalk or tailors pen. The upper collar should be .25cm larger than the under collar at the top seam line so that it curves smoothly over the under collar and the seam line is out of sight. Fuse Vilene to one collar stand and to the upper collar –TIP - it is easier to cut and you get a neater finish if you fuse a whole piece of fabric big enough for the pattern pieces first and then cut out individual pieces. Turn up and press a 1cm seam on the neck edge of the fused collar stand. Hem the collar stand - with the right side facing you, place the seam edge at the 1cm mark of your machine. Align the needle three steps towards the seam fold and hem from edge to edge. If you wish to use decorative tape or fancy ribbon to the neck seam of the collar, attach it now. Stitch the tape onto the neck seam using the original stitching as a guide. Allow about .25cm of the decorative tape to edge out into the garment. When the collar is attached to the body you can stitch the seam down along the edge of the tape. Line out the collar - right sides together, matching notches. With the fused collar on top - sew a 1cm seam around the collar. Start sewing from the centres outwards with the stitch length at 1 - sew one cm then increase back to 2.5 stitch length. Before you reach the corners, again decrease the stitch length to 1, sew up to the corner, turn the fabric and make two small stitches across the corner, turn fabric, sew another centimeter and increase stitch length back to 2.5- this will stop the fabric from fraying out of the corners. Reversing back to seal the ends can result in the fabric puckering – I prefer to reduce stitch length down to 1 for the final cm of seams. Trim the seams - cut across the corners and trim the seams to .5cm. Turn the collar to the right side. Slide a point turner along the seam line keeping the seam allowances flat and ease out the collar points– try not to make a bunch in the corners. Counter seam the collar - (except Mandarin collars) - open out the collar (like a boat) and stitching inside the collar, under stitch the seam to the unfused collar top getting as close to the collar points as possible - the counter seam stitching will be out of sight under the collar. Press - roll the seams towards the collar back. Attach the collar to the collar stand - sandwich the collar between the two collar stands, matching notches and centers and ensuring that all four seam edges meet. NB - the fused collar lies with the fused collar stand. Stitch a 1cm seam - again start with a decreased stitch length and stitch the curve of the collar stand with a decreased stitch length. To get the same curve at each end, first sew from the neck edge of the collar stand up to the collar notch, cut the threads, turn the collar over and do the other end. Use stitch length 1. Compare the two edges – they must be the same. Now stitch the body of the collar to the stand starting from the centre outwards, flip the collar and stitch the other side from the centre outwards. This prevents the collar stand from twisting when pressing. Check that the opposite sides of the collar and the stand are the same (fold in half and compare). Trim the seams down to .5cm. Press the collar and stand. Attach the unfused collar stand to the garment, matching notches and centers. When attaching the collar to the garment, first sew down 1cm at the centre fronts so that you can check that they meet at the centre front exactly. This way, if you made a mistake you only have to unpick the 1cm. Manually sew a whip stitch to keep the collar and neck edge together at the centre front – you will sew over it so it won’t be seen. Sew the 1cm lengths with a short stitch length – about 1 – so that backstitching is not necessary – and don’t catch any of the fused collar stand in the stitching. Press the seam towards the collar stand – trim the seam allowance to .5cm if you wish – it is sometimes easier to leave the seam allowance at 1cm. Fold down the hemmed edge of the collar stand enclosing the neck seam and any loose threads. Stitch the collar stand down close to the hemmed edge (or decorative tape edge). Cutting the threads close to the stitching can result in ‘pokies’. I prefer to tuck them away into the collar. Top stitch the collar - use the height adjusting tool or threads to turn collar points if necessary.

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Note –it is not necessary to clip the seams. Using a contrast fabric for the fused collar stand is a nice touch. To add body to thin fabrics use starch to stiffen the unfused pieces – this will make it easier to handle.

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