February 15, 2012

Pattern Magic - the curve collar shirt

Well, here it is. I made a shirt with the curved collar from Pattern Magic 1.
In fact, this is a fairly easy little project, but I'll try to show you a bit of the construction because, if you're used to sewing regular shirt collars, it is a bit counter-intuitive at times.
I tried to take pictures to clarify the steps but it is really hard to take clear pictures of sewing-in-progress by lamp-light. So please, let me know whether or not this actually helps.

First of all, it may not have been clearly on display in my previous post about this shirt, but this is the actual pattern piece for the collar.

This is my version, which includes a 1 cm seam allowance. I normally use 1.5 cm, but I really recommend going for less here because these seams will all end up inside the collar and it will be much easier to manipulate its curves and angles with a smaller seam allowance. Just remember to match this 1 cm seam allowance on the collar edges of the bodice and on the neckline of the facing. And, as I mentioned before, you really need a facing for the front and back.
I cut the collar with the larger piece, the actual collar, on the fold and used a light fusible interfacing.

When sewing the shirt, the first step is to sew and finish the shoulder seams on the bodice and facing and, if you make a shirt like mine, sew the back pleat.
Then, close the center back seam on the curve-bit of the collar and press open.

Then, pin and sew the 'gap' which exists now. To do this, you pin the center back seam to the center back of the collar piece and sew from point to point (I marked those points with a little hole on my pattern piece and with chalk on
the fabric) like a double ended dart.

After that, sew the front edges for the collar by folding it right sides together (I marked the middle of the collar piece, where you should fold it, with a notch) and sewing it down. Make sure not to sew down the seam allowance at the edge.

That's the prep work on the collar done. Now, it's time to start attaching it.

First step is to sew the point-bit of the collar pieces curve bit to the point at the front bodice. This is exactly where you took it out in the pattern making stage. Refer back to that and it can't go wrong. Just make sure not to sew down to far.

The next step is to sew the collar edge onto to bodice, beginning and ending at the ends of the seams you've made in the previous step. This should give you neat little corners on the front bodice.

Now, sew the facing to the collar neckline (the curvey bit) and along the front opening.
With that, the construction is basically done. Pattern Magic tells you to stitch parts of the collar to facing by hand. I opted for stitching in the ditch (not all the way round. Just a couple of cm at the front points and along the center back) instead, which so far seems to work just fine.

To add some details about my shirt, the fabric is a cream coloured, fairly soft cotton. I don't normally go for this kind of embroidery decoration but I bought it, once more, on crazy sale at the market, so I figured I could always use it for muslins. As it turned out, I actually like it.
As mentioned in my previous post, I made a center back pleat which I closed from the waist down so the shirt can be tucked in neatly. I added very simple plain three quarter length sleeves, on a natural shoulderline. After some consideration, I added one chest pocket. With that it's not just about the collar.

When I wore this outfit to take a picture, my boyfriend came in. He first said he liked the look. Only then, he asked: 'is the collar supposed to stand up like that?' Of course, I said yes and he said it was nice, but the point is this: it is both a very strange and a very subtle detail. Just how I like it.


  1. Love the shirt! So elegant. Thanks for posting the construction details.

  2. Love the shirt. Your boyfriend´s comment made me smile...mine makes similar remarks

  3. Lovely shirt! Thanks for posting the construction details. I love the way the collar stands up!

  4. I love the collar. So pattern magic! Nice work :)

  5. I like the look! Do you have any close-ups of the completed collar? I'd love to see it in more detail.

  6. I like the collar (cool, as I wrote on Burdastyle), but I love the back-view of the shirt, the pleat really makes it extra nice!

  7. I haven't seen a version of the collar from Pattern Magic before - would love to see a close up of it. I also love the back pleat on your shirt. Your constructions are always so elegant.

  8. It is beautiful, well done! The collar is lovely, and a little bit different like you said, so a really nice little detail.

  9. Beautiful work on constructing the shirt.
    I'm wondering, does Pattern magic use seam allowances at all, or do you have to add them in yourself?

  10. Do you have more images of this collar up close?