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Harvey Shirt Sew-Along Part 5: Making the Collar

Posted by Betsy C on

Ya'll ready for this? The collar is the part that I tend to fuss over the most and it's well worth the effort. 

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27. Sew the collar together, right sides together, with 1/4” (.6cm) seam allowance. Leave the bottom edge open.

Tip: to sew precisely, mark the seam allowance with erasable marker/chalk and then adjust stitch lengths when sewing to end exactly at the endpoint as marked.

28. Trim the endpoints of each side of collar to reduce bulkiness/thickness. Make sure to leave about 1/8” (.3cm) seam allowance. 

Press open the seams all around. 

29. Turn collar right side out. 

Tip: I press down one side and hold in place with my finger.....

...Then I fold the top edge down along the seam line also. I then pinch in place and hold while turning right side out. I only release the pinch at the very last moment where I can't turn without releasing. By doing this it forces the seam allowance to overlap at the inside.

Now this next tip I urge you to use caution. I know there are fancy tools for turning points, but I am a bit of a cave-woman when it comes to sewing and I turn to my most beat up seam ripper and use it to dig in the seam where the point is and carefully persuade it to come out. I'm actually sorta pulling on the stitches, but it's more of a gentle tug rather than yanking.

Once it comes out to my satisfaction I give the point a pinch to try to get the internal overlaps to cooperate again. When I'm happy with the shape, I iron flat. 

Edgestitch all around to get a neat/flat appearance. Once again, adjust your stitch length to end precisely at the ends of the collar points to keep it looking neat. 

Whew... You still with me? Next up, the collarband.

30. Take one of the collarband pieces and fold the seam allowance up ¼” (.6cm). Iron flat.

31. Take the two collarband pieces and sandwich the collar between the two, aligning between the notches. Align the collarband edges and stitch through all layers with 1/4” (1.2cm) seam allowance. Be sure to leave the bottom edge open.

32. Turn collarband right side out. Make sure curved edge looks neat and smooth. You may need to trim the seam allowance depending on how your fabric behaves.

Advice: Try to press open the neckband curve neatly. This will help out significantly when getting the curve right. 

Now, this is important: Not all fabrics will need to be trimmed. You can grade the seam allowance, but before you start hacking away, turn it right side out and see how it looks. If it looks bulky, turn it inside out again and trim a little bit away. Repeat the inside/outside review until it looks right. 

**Remember: you are trimming a bonsai tree here, not weedwacking an overgrown lawn** A little goes a long way.

33. Sew the non-folded edge side of collarband to the neckline of the body with 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance, right sides together. Edge of placket should align with collarband.

34. On the inside of the shirt, align the folded edge of internal collarband to touch or overlap collar/neckline seam. Edgestitch through all layers to enclose neckband seam allowances. 

Tip: Baste collarband in place by hand on the inside to align with outer seam. When sewing permanently, start at the center back on inside of shirt to go all around.

The end of the collars will be your make or break moment. Admittedly I always struggle with this point because you are dealing with a lot of layers here. Trim bulk as needed, but keep in mind the above bonsai analogy. 

I definitely turn to basting to make this easier. I start the basing at the center back neck and work outwards. When I get the the edge, I use the needle to push the seam allowance where I want it to be and the stitches are used to secure it in place. I repeat this for each stitch. Even the point of a seam ripper works to push the bulkiness to the inside while the stitches force it flat.

One more tip: watch your seam allowances for the shoulders. Make sure they are going the direction you want them to and not looking like mine below. (Oops!)

Next up!:  Last day!! Finishing touches.

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