Sunday, October 4, 2015

Making the Under Collar

Sewing, at long last!!  This is a very picture heavy post, so hang with me here.

First, I feel like I need to make a confession.  In this series I'm showing the machine tailoring method, for a couple of reasons:  it's slightly less labor-intensive than hand tailoring (padstitching) and gives a different hand to the completed jacket than fusible interfacing.   I also chose it for its novelty factor - you just don't see a lot of it showing up in blog posts.  But I have to say:  having machine tailored this collar, I don't love it.  I found that I wasn't able to work a curve into the fabric like I can with hand tailoring, so there's going to be a bit of wrinkling on my under collar when it's turned back.  It's never going to show, but I know it's there and it kind of bothers me.  So I'm going to think about maybe reworking this collar with fusible.  My fabric is a densely woven cotton twill, so hand tailoring isn't a good option here.

OK, now that I've got that off my chest, here's what I did this afternoon.  First off is marking the canvas under collar pieces.  You'll need to mark the following lines:


1.  CB seam (dark blue)
2.  Roll line (magenta)
3.  Tailoring lines inside the collar stand (turquoise) - parallel to the roll line, spaced 1/4" apart (optional, as I explain below)
4.  Tailoring lines in the fall of the collar (orange) - think of this as a big M which roughly divides the collar into fourths, starting and ending at the outer collar edge.  My collar piece is about 8" wide, so the points of my M are spaced 2" apart.

Next, overlap the CB seam lines and sew together with a zigzag stitch:


Trim away the excess seam allowance:


You can see I messed up the marking on the left side.  NBD

Now sew the under collar's center back seam of your outer fabric.  Press this open on your tailor board.  We're going to be pressing open every seam from here on out in this way, so pay attention!  (It's not hard.)

Drape the piece on the board so the seam is centered on the wood:


Open the seam allowances with your fingers and press with steam - use a press cloth if you need to for your fabric.


As soon as you remove the iron, press down firmly on the seam with the clapper for 5 seconds or so, to lock in the steam and cool the fabric.  


You will be amazed at how crisp your seam looks.


Arrange your canvas on the under collar piece.  I like to draw in the seam allowances here to help me line things up.  I also use my little measuring gadget to make sure that the outer edge stays at the 5/8" line and the neck edge stays at the 1/2" line.  I even had to trim a bit away - the canvas is shifty and stretched out of shape a bit when I sewed the seam.  Pin everything in place to hold.



Now start sewing the tailoring lines, starting with the roll line.  All of the tailoring lines will be sewn from the center back out to the edge and off the fabric.  Here I've found (both times I've done this) that my lines are more accurate if I use the 1/4" guide on my presser foot rather than the lines I drew, so if I use this method again, I'll save myself some time and not bother drawing all those lines!  You'll be able to see in the following pictures what I'm talking about.

Sew both sides of the roll line, center out, then go back and do the rest of the collar stand on one side, then finish up with the rest of the lines on the other side.




Now remember:  with this method, the stitching lines do show on the outside of the garment (but only when the collar is turned up), so be as exact as you can. That's why I decided to follow my presser foot guide rather than the lines I drew.


Next, go back and stitch that big M, one side at a time, starting from the center back.  Here's what you'll end up with:


Now take this whole piece over to your ironing board and give it a nice press.  I used my press cloth so I wouldn't make my fabric shiny.


Grab your ham and shape the collar around it as if it were a neck.  Pin one side, then fold the fall back from the stand and wrap it all the way around and pin on the other side.




front view

back view

Hover your iron near the collar but not touching it, and shoot some steam at it. Immediately put your iron down and press lightly with your hand - your hand is taking the place of the clapper here.  We just want to work a soft fold into the collar, not make a crease.



Work your way all around the collar a few times like this, then set the whole thing aside to cool and dry.  Leave the collar on the ham until you need to sew it to the jacket.  Or until you need to use the ham, which will come first if you have darts in your jacket like I do.


Whew!  I think I can safely say that my resolution of shorter posts is out the window!  Is this helpful to anyone?  It takes a LOT of time to sew, photograph, edit, write and re-edit; if no one is benefiting from it, I'll save myself the trouble!

25 comments:

  1. i learn something from you all the time. you give me the confidence to try what i think i can't achieve. sometimes i really can't achieve it, but i try nonetheless.

    i can't believe i'm the only one.

    i can't imagine i'm the only one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ooops! repeated last line.

      Delete
    2. Lol, I just thought you were being super poetic! Haha

      Delete
    3. I also thought it was a sewing haiku!

      Delete
  2. I too know how much time it takes to take pics, download, write, adjust so I am here to say thanks.....and I was going to write that even if you hadn't asked. I have tailoring books but I find the conversation of a blog how to is somehow more comforting and encouraging for me. I've done jackets and a softly tailored coat last year but have not dealt directly with undercollar tailoring and roll lines. Thanks for making it seem do-able.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think this is very helpful! Plus it will show up in google searches, so when a sewist questions google in the future it will be there. You are not just putting info out there that no one will use...it will be used again and again...so thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not too much at all. This is brilliant. It's exactly the kind of detail that we are often looking for but can never find and even though I have many tailoring books I am loving seeing how it translates onto a real life project. I am so appreciative of your work so be assured you are not throwing all this information out into an empty room. I am a detail freak so I completely love the level of detail you are going to, and I am sure I am not the only one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gail you are a legend! I can't wait to utilise your posts when I eventually make myself a blazer :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is great, I do hope you continue!

    ReplyDelete
  7. These posts are fantastic! Maybe you need a little "donate" button for your effort. ;-) I know how much time it takes to explain and photograph all this detail, but it is hugely appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love these posts! I'm a but behind in blog reading but I do save all of your tailoring posts and will certainly use them later!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I also want to make a blazer when I feel a bit more confident and these posts are so helpful and informative for me. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into them!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm not following along to make a blazer right now, but I am so glad this series will be here when I do want to make one. Thank you for sharing what you have learned!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is pretty cool. So you wrote one wouldn't see the sewn lines unless the collar is turned up so that means you will have another piece of fabric over this black and all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the upper collar will be sewn on top of this, and that's what will be seen from the outside.

      Delete
  12. I'm loving these posts! Even though i can't sew along right now, I'll use this when I make my blazer soon!

    ReplyDelete
  13. If you're planning on making another one, and you like it, would you also post the process? We learn by observing your trial and error too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly will :-) I'll be showing all my mistakes as well as the successes for that very reason, and any alternative techniques I try out.

      Delete
  14. Keep up the good work! I am enjoying following along. I am working on a jacket pattern and need to brush up on my tailoring skills. I only made a truly tailored jacket once before but it was all done by hand, so I appreciate seeing how you do machine tailoring. All of my other jackets have not had the same "guts" as I used very limited inner construction. I hope you can organize all of the posts when you are done for a great reference piece.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! The posts are being organized as I go along - see the tab at top for a page called Blazer Sew-Along. Links to all posts are there :-)

      Delete
  15. Hello - I have been reading these posts and although I am not making a blazer I am about to start a coat and the instructions are very sparse so I am hoping that a lot of the information will be used. So thanks for all your time and the incredible detail in these posts - they will be a fabulous resource for many people

    Louise

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Gail, I have a question about the roll line that you drew in magenta: was it indicated on your pattern piece? Or did you manage to place it on your own? I wonder how I can be sure of the exact position of this roll line and I don't want it to be in the wrong place
    Again, thanks so much for the wealth of information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sophie! Yes, my pattern did have the roll line marked on the under collar piece. It's great when a pattern includes that, but if it doesn't, you can determine it from your muslin or even your tissue fitting if that's how you're going about it. The end of the under collar roll line where it meets the neck seam (the pointy end) should line up with your front roll line. I hope that helps. If not, let me know and I'll see if I can figure something else out to help you.

      Delete
    2. thanks! I think it should work fine with the muslin and I'll double check on the original pattern sheet, maybe I forgot to trace it :)

      Delete