A few days ago I was asked to republish the convertible collar tutorial that I had on my now-defunct GigiSews.com site – here it is! As always, it’s so much easier to use 1/4″ seam allowances in this area. Your stitching will be easier, more accurate and you won’t have to trim. Here, I am using Kwik-Sew 2935 which includes 1/4″ seam allowances throughout.
I’ve increased the seam allowances in some areas (the side seams and sometimes the armscye) to give me the option of using flat-felled seams or even plain seams, depending on the project. There’s nothing wrong with using a 1/4″ throughout but I think that larger seam allowances and other seam finishes add more perceived value to the garment. Still, all of your enclosed seams should be 1/4″ – always, IMO.
With the exception of the collar, do not press anything until the end.
Step 1: Construct the collar. I always put a large X with chalk on the undercollar so as not to mix them up.
Step 2: Construct the inner yoke/front facing unit. The inner edges of your facings should be finished in some manner. Here, I’ve simply turned in 1/4″ and edgestitched.
Step 3: Attach the outer yoke to the front and back sections.
Step 4: Sew the collar into the neckline with a 1/8″ seam (so that you won’t have to remove any stitching later). Once you get the hang of this you may be able to skip this step. I still do it because I’m not a big fan of pinning. Having the collar sewn into position gives me one less piece to keep an eye on. Make sure the under collar is next to the outer yoke before sewing.
Step 5: Attach the inner yoke/front facing unit to the shirt/collar unit. I often sew this in two steps, first stitching across the neckline/collar and then down the facings/front edges.
Step 6: Now you’ll need to sew the front yoke seam. Many pattern directions will tell you to slipstitch or topstitch this seam. I sew it by machine from the inside. Hold the raw edges together as they should be sewn and fold the shirt inside. The outer edges will be easy, it gets trickier as you get close to the neckline. You only need to concern yourself with stitching just past the facing edge – don’t worry about getting right up to the neckline because you won’t be able to.
Step 7: I’m sorry (again) for the blurriness of this photo. This is the front yoke seam pinned and ready to sew.
Step 8: Once this seam is sewn you will have a small unsewn area next to the collar. I just leave it as is. If it bothers you, you can certainly sew it up by hand – if you’ll be edgestitching the yoke that will take care of it as well.
Step 9: Lay the shirt out flat, right side up, with the front facing you. Roll the back of the shirt up into the outer yoke area.
Step 10: Pull the fronts off to the side and bring the inner yoke around to meet the outer yoke.
Step 11: Here’s what it will look like – ready to be sewn.
Step 12: Turn everything right side out. Now you can press!
Finished! A nice, neat collar/yoke area completely finished by machine.
My hunky model. 😉 Notice that the design matches across the button opening. I always think that’s a nice touch – and it’s so very easy. Material for a future tutorial?