Sewing a Collar

Last year, I found this great tutorial on how to sew a collar to a shirt: However, I was still not fully satisfied, because the last step of folding the bottom of the stand resulted in an uneven and bulky seam. Here’s my improved method for getting a crisp, clean collar on a shirt.

Get Ready

Sew your shirt fronts and backs together according to your pattern. Every pattern is a little different, but essentially you’ll want your front button band completed and your shirt front and back sewn together at the shoulder seam.

Get Set

Just so we are all on the same page, I’ve labeled my collar unit pieces. You should have two stands and two collars cut out. I interface one stand and one collar. I leave the second of each not interfaced. The “public” or visible-to-people pieces are the ones I interface, so the outside stand and the top collar when pressed correctly.

Outside Stand

First, I attach just the outside / public stand to the shirt. If you want to live dangerously, you can try to attach both stands at the same time, but I prefer to be careful. Attaching the outside stand to the shirt is a little tricky, because you are sewing a curve. I constantly get pinches in my shirt fabric that I have to seam ripe and do over, so that’s why I do one stand at a time.

If you are not completely familiar with attaching the collar, the order goes, interfaced (outside / public) stand and shirt, RIGHT sides together.

Stitch together with your pattern’s seam allowance. Make sure you start and stop your stitches at the edge of the shirt.

Inside Stand

Once I have verified that my outside stand and shirt are sewn together cleanly (i.e., no puckers), I will attached the inside stand next. The order for this is RIGHT side of inside stand to WRONG side of shirt. You should have a collar stand sandwich with the shirt between the two stands.

I will use the original stitch line from when I attached the outside stand as a guide. Just make sure to sew right along the first stitch line, or just within the seam allowance. Don’t go over and stitch more than your seam allowance.

Sew Together

Now here’s the ingenious part, sew the two stands together using the “burrito” method. It is called the burrito method, because like a burrito, you roll your shirt edge away from stand, so you can sew the stands together without catching the shirt.

Burrito roll up the shirt and then carefully stitch around the curve of the stand. Don’t need to stitch too far past the curve, because it’ll need to fit your collar in the remaining opening.

I’m still playing around with clipping off my seam allowance, but essentially at this point, trim off the excess and clip around the curves.

Finally, pull the shirt corner out and flip up both sides of the stand. The bottom of the collar stand should be sewn to the shirt and it should have a super clean finish where the stand meets the front collar band. The top of the stand should form a pocket opening.

Collar Time

Pretty easy, sew the collar together just like all the instructions ever suggest. Don’t forget to topstitch around the edge.

Attach the Collar

Here’s a tip, when sewing together the stand and collar, the interfaced pieces should NEVER be next to each other. Attach the collar to the OUTSIDE stand ONLY. With the RIGHT side of your shirt facing UP the order of your layers should be:

  1. Inside stand (not interfaced) WRONG side facing up
  2. Outside stand (interfaced) RIGHT side facing up
  3. Bottom collar (not interfaced) WRONG side facing up
  4. Top collar (interfaced) RIGHT side facing up

Only sew the collar to the OUTSIDE stand, the interfaced one.

The inside, not interfaced stand should be pushed out of the way.

You probably won’t be able to stitch all the way to the ends of the collar, but that’s OK. Stitch the collar and outside stand together as close to the edge of the collar as possible.

Close it Up

Now all that’s left to do, is to press under the seam allowance of the top part of the inside stand. This is actually easier than the classic method of pressing under the bottom part of the inside stand.

The public view of the shirt should all be sewn together neatly. The stand is sewn to the shirt and the collar is sewn to the stand, the only open seam is on the inside. Take your time, use fabric glue if you want or seam tape to cleaning finish the top of the inside stand.

Topstitch from the RIGHT side of the shirt, even though the opening is on the WRONG side (inside) of the shirt.

With very little effort, I’m able to get a pretty even stitch along the top. I will also backstitch a little right at the edge of where the collar and the stand meet, just to make sure it is securely sewn together.

Mission Accomplished

Now pat yourself on the back! You have successfully attached a collar to a shirt!

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