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Author Topic: Collar tricks  (Read 2447 times)
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LissaWilson
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« on: June 27, 2008, 09:11:23 PM »

I never hear anyone complaining about collars so there must be something I am doing wrong because mine are taking FOREVER!

Here is what I am doing:

single layer construction of pima cotton
narrow rolled hem by hand
bias bound neckline edge

On my nicer collars I have whipstitched cotton lace onto the narrow rolled hem. The amount of handwork is taking a long time. Is there an easier way to do this or are collars just more time consuming than I had anticipated? One would think with how many of them a woman had in her wardrobe, that they would be quick and easy to construct!
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Denise Butler
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 03:17:38 AM »

I hate collars and cuffs.

I've used Elizabeth's instructions from her Dressmaking book, yet can't manage to get the right shape. I don't roll the edges, I do a narrow folded hem... but it still takes forever to get folded nicely and worked. After all that, it takes me a good bit of time and grousing to get the collar into the neck edge so that it is centered... and then it still doesn't lay right!  Angry

I used a singled layer of batiste. I starched the heck out of it, which did help - and garnered a compliment from a visitor... but still! I would like to make a few more sets to change the look of my dress and to be in keeping with the original cast (who changed their collars and cuffs, not their dresses, every day), without it taking longer than it took to make the dress!

However, I am currently working on a crochet collar from Godeys, and have a tatted collar pattern from an English ladies magazine... maybe those options will work out better for me. I am also considering the Fig Leaf patterns for collars and cuffs, so I don't have to fight with the shaping.
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Regards,
Denise
Joanna Jones
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2008, 05:22:05 AM »

I know Liz or Carolann will be along to help with the main question, and I will leave it to their expertise, but as far as getting the collar centered on the dress, once I have the collar positioned right the first time, I secure a discreet thread in the very back center neckline of the dress, and also to the exact place where the collar touches it (might not be exactly the center).  That way it can always match up quickly, and I don't even have to pin it on when I am whipping the collar on (start the whipping on from the center back).
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Stacey Nadeau
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2008, 06:26:01 AM »

Joanna,
BRILLIANT!  Why are the simplest solutions the ones I never think of?
Stacey
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Laurey
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2008, 07:55:02 AM »

Collars from the 1920's have a self bias made to tack under the collar edge. Or what about a double layer, turned right side out and finished?
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lindym
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2008, 08:05:44 AM »

I know Liz or Carolann will be along to help with the main question, and I will leave it to their expertise, but as far as getting the collar centered on the dress, once I have the collar positioned right the first time, I secure a discreet thread in the very back center neckline of the dress, and also to the exact place where the collar touches it (might not be exactly the center).  That way it can always match up quickly, and I don't even have to pin it on when I am whipping the collar on (start the whipping on from the center back).

I've done the thread trick too. Also, most of the time I can fold the collar in half, match the halfway point to the center back of the dress and it will center in the front (except for one dress that must have the center front not-quite-centered  Sad)

Collars from the 1920's have a self bias made to tack under the collar edge. Or what about a double layer, turned right side out and finished?


So far all of my collars/cuffs are 2 layers turned, but Elizabeth as stated that single, light ones are the prettiest. I know there was a thread about a "V" or "M" stitch that would roll and pull in the edge when pulled, but I haven't found it again to try...

Linda
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Sarah Jane Meister
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 09:20:51 AM »

I used to make double layer collars, but was wretchedly guilty about that after reading that single layer ones are more appropriate. I made a single layer one with a lace edging that came out pretty well, when starched. It does tend to go limp more quickly than my double layer ones. Last weekend I needed two new collars for my cotton dresses and had only a morning to make them so I did break down and make the double layer collars. They actually came out MUCH better than any other collars I've ever made. I starched them heavily, and they were crisp and held their shape very well all day and even yet are holding their shape. (haven't got around to laundering them yet). I have tried plain hemming a single layer collar but so far I haven't acheived the skill necessary to do that without stretching the edge.

I loved the look of Anna Allen's collars when she shared pictures of her gowns on the Sense and Sensibility board a few years ago. She said she used the tracing pattern/bodice method but to make them lie snugly against the throat she slashed the collar from hem edge to neck edge at a few places, not quite cutting all the way through, and overlapped the hem edge just slightly. I tried this after she mentioned this trick and it does give a very nice, snug, tidy collar. Just tracing the pattern/bodice hasn't worked for me since the hem has too much fabric, and waves up and down.

Sarah
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2008, 09:49:57 AM »

Since we are on the subject.... I've had two problems.
First - I tend to get collar wings on the sides. The edge on either side likes to stand up away from the dress itself. It is less of a problem in single layers with and embroidered edge. I use liz's method with my base pattern. Any ideas? 
Second - Oh, the wrinkles!! When ever I pull a dress out of being stored with the collar on, I have impossible wrinkles. I have to consistantly remember to remove all collars and cuffs before storing. ( a haste makes waste issue I need to work on.)
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Carolann Schmitt
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 09:53:38 AM »

Tracing a basic pattern as instructed in Liz's book is a good beginning. However, if you look at text books for pattern drafting, you will see the collar duplicates the neckline curve until just forward of the shoulders, then the neckline curve straightens out a bit. If you trace the neckline using Liz's technique, you'll need to remove some fullness.

When I'm trying a new collar shape, I cut a sample from a piece of scrap fabric without seam allowances and baste it to the bodice. The basting stitches should be very close to the neck edge. I pinch out a dart where the fabric ripples (those wings Anna mentioned); the slash-and-overlap technique Sarah mentioned will also work. Either technique mimics the straightened curve done when drafting a collar. You may also need to remove fullness at the shoulders but add it at the center front or back. And each collar shape will require it's own tweaking. Once you have the collar fitted, your pattern can be reused over and over again.

I also use a contrasting thread to position the collar on my dresses. My body is one size large on the right than it is on the left, so all of my collars are cut longer on the right side. It looks strange until they're attached to the dress.  Cheesy

For single layer collars, I like to use a fabric that will let me "clean finish" the edges, e.g. tightly-woven silk organza, Swiss cotton organdy, net, etc. I cut the collar leaving a 3/8" seam allowance on the outside edges. I use a size 65 or 70 sewing machine needle, machine embroidery thread and a stitch length of 15-20 stitches/inch. I sew around the outer edge of the collar on the seam line, then trim the seam allowance to 1/16".  No, the fabric doesn't fray.  Smiley  I can then attach an edging or work a buttonhole stitch over the edges. For fabrics that may have a tendency to fray, I run the line of stitching, trim, and then overcast the edges by hand. That's the period technique. If I'm in a hurry, I use the modern equivalent: run a very, very tiny zig-zag stitch (width = 0.5mm, length = 1.0mm) on the seam line to clean finish the edges, trim, then overcast or apply an edging. The zig-zag stitches are invisible unless you use a magnifying glass.

Regards,
Carolann



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Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2008, 10:07:29 AM »

Fullness

Ah-Ha! Exactly!

I had managed to get rid of my wings by pinching out the sides. I was doing what you wrote without knowing it was right. I thought I was doing something wrong.

I also like the idea of stitching around the edge with a machine stitch prior to doing the edge by hand.
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Marta Vincent
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2008, 10:12:52 AM »

There are two collar patterns on Kay Gnagey's website http://shop.originals-by-kay.com/category.sc?categoryId=34 drawn from original patterns.  Also, in the Reprints of Original Full size patterns http://shop.originals-by-kay.com/category.sc?categoryId=76, there are collars from the mid '50's, plus embroidery patterns for them.
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Jessamyn
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2008, 03:45:32 PM »

Carolann, to clarify: are you saying that you put darts into your collars, or rather that you put darts into your collar mockup, and then transfer this adjusted shape to a flat pattern?
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Carolann Schmitt
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2008, 05:06:34 PM »

Ooops - that wasn't very clear, was it? I put the darts in the mockup.

Carolann
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2008, 12:46:35 PM »

Being the Slow Learner, I'm baffled by the term "clean finished" edge.  Grin

CarolAnn, are you saying to run the line of stitches on the straight (well, curved) unfolded fabric edge, then trim, then fold, THEN do a handrolled hem?

Is this line of machine stitches to stabilize the fabric so that your hand-rolled hem doesn't pull the fabric all catty-wampus, which is what happened the one time I tried a narrow hand-rolled hem?  Grin

BTW, one trick I discovered for doing narrow hems - press them in place and spray starch them. THEN sew. The spray starch acts as a sort of temporary glue, holding everything in place. I did this out of desperation in October 2001 when I was flying to an event, needed the 6 hours in the air to sew, and realized I was gonna get TSA-ed out of most of my sewing gear at security. I starched the hem, added some cellophane tape for extra measure, then hid sewing needles in my bra next to the underwires. I whipped them out on the plane and the staff said nothing. One passenger questioned me, but more in amusement than anything else.  Wink I used two needles to pin the fabric to the seat in front of me, and one to sew with. Went pretty well. Other than that sort of wavy end result, which was clearly USER ERROR.  Grin

Great thing about that flight - there were only about 20 people on one of those huge planes with 3 banks of seats across. Plenty of room to work, we got all the food we wanted, and the staff let us pick out what movies we wanted to watch.  Grin

LOL,
Babs
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2008, 01:25:38 PM »

CarolAnn, are you saying to run the line of stitches on the straight (well, curved) unfolded fabric edge, then trim, then fold, THEN do a handrolled hem?

No - you're making too much work for yourself.  Smiley   Run a line of stitches on the unfolded fabric edge, trim, overcast or sew an edging on top of the raw edge. If the fabric is tightly-woven like one of the fabrics I suggested, it won't fray. I've found this technique on a couple of original collars; it was a major DUH moment.

However, I do run a line of stay-stitching to prevent stretching before doing a hand-rolled hem. Both techniques start out the same, but take different forks in the road.

Carolann
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Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2008, 02:02:44 PM »

Ah yes, you do see the problem. It all seems like far too much work to me.  Grin Grin Grin

But that's a great tip. Just attach some edging and leave the underneath raw. I think I've seen this on some antique collars.

Which is why I buy collars for cheap on Ebay and wear them. GASP!!!!  Shocked

LOL,
B.
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Auntie B says: "I may look like Aunt Pitty-Pat, but I have the soul of Belle Watling," and "Since I can't be a good example, then I'm just gonna have to be a horrible warning."
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