Sewing Project: Shirt Dress (Pt 2)

Hello everyone! I know its been a few days since I last posted but I’ve been holding off on writing in the vain hope that my buttons would arrive and I could finish the dress completely. Sadly they are not here yet and I’m so happy about inserting my first ever collar! I don’t know about you but I had a marvellously productive sewing weekend. Work has been very stressful recently and I didn’t feel like sewing but I decided to sit down just do the hem of the dress and then before you know it I had hemmed the skirt, stitched the button placets and inserted my very first collar. This post is going to be all about my first collar because I actually learnt loads! Button placets are extremely easy but just for reference the collar in this case goes on after the button placets have been stitched.

The first step for a collar is to stay stitch the neckline just in from the fabric edge. This makes sure that the neckline doesn’t stretch while you insert the collar. Next you need to cut two pieces for the collar and two pieces for the link piece. Place the collar pieces right side to right side and stitch together. Then clip the corners and turn right side out.

This stage is very simple but I’m so glad I didn’t skip the staystiching on the neckline. The pattern I am working from didn’t tell me to do it but after watching a few youtube videos on collars it definitely seemed like a good idea and actually with the stiff cotton I have used its really helped the neckline to sit flat. the next stage I found quite confusing and almost did wrong! You have to sandwich the collar, right side out, between the two layers of the joining piece which are right sides facing in towards the collar. You then pin the four layers of fabric together and stitch all the way around the bottom. I had to go very slowly here as my machine lacks the punch to get through thick layers of fabric so I actually had to have the foot lifted at some points to guide it through by hand and ensure it didn’t stick.

Then you pin the outside edge of the collar along the outside edge of the neckline, right sides together allowing the collar to open out towards you, and stitch along the neckline. I found this step really confusing and had to attempt it multiple times on the toile before I felt comfortable. Then you press that seam and the whole collar. Then. Turn the neckline towards you and carefully tuck the inside edge of the collar under itself so it meets and includes the outside collar seam and then carefully stiched along the edge to close the collar. And there you go! Its super simple on the face of it however it definitely takes practice. For me it was a confidence thing, I kept second guessing myself but I did it!

Most Difficult Thing?

Getting the collar to fit the neckline!! This is a real struggle and feels like fitting a square peg to a round hole but I got there in the end. A trick for anyone attempting their first collar is to pin the ends in place, then find the centre and pin that and attempt to fit each side. Its much easier if you do it this way as you won’t run out of collar or end up with too much and it will come out evenly on the garment.

Best Thing?

I think seeing a collar that actually looks like a collar? I know that sounds strange but I honestly didn’t think it was going to work and its so pleasing to see it not only work but actually look like a collar on an item I would buy in a shop.

So here I am in the dress so far. Please forgive the greasy sewing hair, poor lighting and washing in the background, I promise I will go and take a pretty picture when its actually finished. The next, and final, step is buttons! I have never done a button down dress before so wish me luck. In the meantime I have a pillow case to finish and a few masks to whip up for my grandparents so I will let you know how I get on, see you next time!

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