Building the collar

The collar is the last tricky bit of sewing left on this coat.  After making our muslins, both my sew-alonger and I felt that the collar was too small.  While working on my muslin (made from an old bed sheet), I had to stretch and clip the collar like crazy to get it to fit.  I figured the problem would only be worse working with a thicker fabric that has to be turned.  Plus I have discovered that my “mostly not wool” fabric has almost no stretch.  Real wool would have been more forgiving.  I decided to lengthen the collar by about 1/2″.  (In fact, it could have been just a touch longer)
Big disclaimer here.  I am by no means an expert or any kind of authority on how to make men’s coats.  I just go with what works for me.  So at this point I put the book away, because I’m totally ignoring the method employed.  

Both the collar stand and the undercollar are interfaced.  The undercollar is cut on the bias and I’ll interface it with haircanvas also cut on the bias.  You probably know by now that I’m just not a fan of fusible interfacing.  This is probably because I’ve only ever used the stuff that’s available at JoAnn’s.  It always seems to bubble up on me, and it just looks bad.  The haircanvas may take a bit more time, but I’m always pleased with how it turns out in the end.  Plus I’m a freak, I love all the handsewing!  Anyway here I am cutting the bias interfacing using the collar stand as a pattern.  I save just about every little scrap of haircanvas because they can frequently be used for things like this, or epaulettes, or sleeve tabs.   Oh….. and I’m cheap! 

Before starting to put any of the collar together you will want to staystitch it just about everywhere.  The collar stand inserts into the collar with a very sharp curve.  The only way to sew it is to clip down to the staystitching along the curve.  Then, as usual, I baste the hell out of it before sewing the seam.  
This next part is totally optional (but highly recommended).  The haircanvas is secured to the undercollar with some decorative topstitching.  I chalk mark a symmetrical crosshatch pattern within the outer seam allowances of the collar.  Then I baste the hell out of it so that the collar and interfacing are smooth.  Topstitch along the chalk lines.  You can get really creative here and come up with any pattern you desire.  It really adds a lot of flair when the collar gets flipped up.  
The instructions in the book show the upper collar interfaced.  Again, I’m no expert but I think this is wrong.  Feel free to corroborate or correct me!  I assembled the collar stand to the upper collar and topstitched along the seam. Neither piece is interfaced.  The two collar units are then sewn together, turned, pressed and topstitched 3/8″ from the edge.  One very nice thing about this pattern is that the upper collar is cut larger than the undercollar.  This way when the collar is turned and pressed the seam will want to roll to the undercollar side.  It gives a much more professional appearance.  To keep that seam rolled under I suggest basting the edge of collar before the final topstitch. 
Lastly, the neck edges are basted together.  None of this was quick.  In fact, it took me two days.  But the collar is a very “in your face” part of this coat, and I wanted it to turn out well.  Now it’s time to put the whole thing together.  

4 thoughts on “Building the collar

  1. That looks so nice.
    And I totally agree – nothing screams happy-hands-at-home like a wonky, stretchy and bubbling collar.

    This totally looks worth your while 🙂


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