I think it is more feminine than a shirt collar with a stand and it sits flatter around the neckline when open, but I do love a good collar and stand too!
The method I’m describing is for a neckline with front neck facings but no back neck facings – so the back neckline requires neatening. There is no handsewing involved and everything is sewn by machine – yay!
Often a pattern will use the same pattern piece for the top collar and under collar – I always add 1-2mm (1/16″) to the outer edges of the top collar for cloth allowance
. I blockfuse
both collar pieces, but you might prefer to just do the top collar.
(By the way, if you don’t know what cloth allowance and blockfusing is, then do click those links – it will transform your sewing!)
The collars should have notches on the neckline edge – one at the CB, one at each shoulder seam. I mark my top collar with a double CB notch so I can easily tell between the two, you can just see it here.
WARNING: This step is a variation I made it up – so proceed at your own risk!
On the top collar only, I clip the seam allowance to the stitching line approx 1.5cm (1/2″) anterior to the shoulder notch. Most people will clip at the shoulder notch, but I clip away from it to better hide all the raw edges, plus I think it is actually stronger this way – I’ve seen a few shirts fray when they were clipped right at the shoulder seam notch.
Now back to standard practice – turn under the seam allowance between your clips. You have a choice – you can simply press it, edgestitch it, or stitch it at 6mm like I have shown you here, but wouldn’t a fancy stitch like scallops or zig-zag look cute too, and in contrast? You will see this bit, so might as well make it look pretty!
This is what the wrong side of your top collar will look like if you’ve done it plain like me:
Now bag out your collar, press it and make it look it’s best:
I like to tack the front edges of the collar together like in the next photo – it is easier to keep all the layers together when you start stitching it to your neckline. Then start sewing your collar to the neckline at 1cm or whatever your seam allowance is…
See the original shoulder notch on the under collar? That is the one that aligns with the shoulder seam.
And when you get to the clipped-and-turned-under-bit, continue stitching close to the foldline but not catching it, I line it up with the inner edge of my presser foot:
This is what your collar looks like attached:
Now you fold the front neck facing into place and sew in your previous stitching line, stopping at the clip-and-folded-under-bit.
Clip at this point, through the the front neck facing, the under collar, and the front neckline:
It’s a good time to clip your front neckline curve too. Now you can slot all those seam allowances posterior to the clip nice and neatly into the collar like so:
The next step is edgestitching the opening closed. If you place the foldline of your top collar 1mm over the previously sewn neck seam, then edgestitch at 1mm, your stitching will be ‘in the ditch’ on the reverse…. theoretically.
I tack my facing to the shoulder seam allowance so it doesn’t flap around:
All done – a convertible collar with no handsewing involved!
I hope this is helpful, and happy sewing!