I finished the Peter Pan collar and it looks half decent! Here is not so much a tutorial as post of pointers. I’m calling it a tutorial anyway. It’s my blog, I do what I want.
This post is going to assume that you have basic sewing skills and a garment mostly sewn to the point where you’re ready to attach the collar. If you’ve never sewn on a regular collar before, you might want to dial it back a little and try a regular convertible 2-part collar first, so you know what you’re looking at/working with.
Fabric and fusible interfacing
The bodice of the dress and the collar are from the same pattern. That way, I knew the collar should fit to the neckline of the dress fairly well. The pattern I used, Simplicity 5872, is a standard button-up blouse pattern that I’ve altered into a dress. As with most convertible collars, there’s a band and then the collar itself.
Since the Peter Pan collar is a flat collar, we don’t need the band. Only cut out the collar portion.
Since you don’t have a collar band to attach directly to the neckline of the dress, you need to measure the edge of the collar to be sure it’s going to fit around your neckline. Lay out your pattern piece on 4 layers of fabric (left and right side, under collar and collar). Measure your dress’ neckline and the neck edge of the collar and extend the line of the collar using your tailor’s chalk on the fabric.
Note: while most collars are cut on the fold and go all the way around the back of the neck, the Peter Pan collar is 2 pieces. The front essentially looks just like the back.
Like most collars, this pattern has pointy edges. Once cut out, I really just eye-balled the curve I wanted to make it a Peter Pan collar. You may want to use a French curve. If you don’t have a set, I would recommend getting one – they’re super handy. But household objects like cups and saucers work well too. I just freehanded this due to laziness. Draw it onto the first layer of the collar and cut out all 4 layers together. That way, all pieces are the exact same, and your left side will match the right.
If you’re a sewist who has been taught by a mother, grandmother, aunt or has gone to design school, you’ve probably heard the phrase “measure twice, cut once”. This is incredibly important with this project. Measure and check your collar curves several times if need be. This is the secret to my eventual success with this collar.
Once you’ve cut out your collar and you’re happy with the shape, cut out 2 pieces of interfacing using your fabric collar as the pattern. Add the interfacing to the under collar and sew the under collar to the collar. Press it and, if you wish, top stitch the edge. I really love the look of top stitching at apply it to nearly everything. Some people hate it, so it’s really up to you. Finish the collar however you would normally do a collar.
Now that the collar’s done, attach it to your garment.
Measure and mark the exact halfway point at the front of your dress/blouse. Measure twice! This is incredibly important because if you’re off, then the collar is off and you look crooked. The two edges of your collar will meet there. Butt them right up against each other and pin in place.
Around the back, pin the back edge at the back edge of you garment. Ease the rest of the collar in and pin in place. Stitch the collar in, take out the pins and try on your creation. I always like to try something on before stitching down the under collar to make sure everything fits and looks okay so there aren’t even more stitches to rip out.
If you look super cute, stitch down your under collar to the inside of the neckline, like you would any other collar (or waistband. It’s the exact same technique).
If you look less than cute, pull out your trusty seamripper and try again. What didn’t work? Collar crooked? Did you accidently tuck the edge of the collar in to the neck edge? Some other silly gaffe? It happens! Take a breath, say the seven dirtiest words you can’t say on TV if need be, and go at it again!
Once everything’s done and pressed, maybe it’ll look like this:
Now, my collar is still ever-so-slightly crooked. But it’s the best Peter Pan collar I’ve ever made (as in, this one’s actually wearable!). And, as my grandmother says, a train going by Moose Jaw is never going to know the difference.
I will do a full Outfit of the Day post when I wear this on Tuesday. I’ve been meaning to do some OOTD posts anyway.
So there you have it. The key to this is patience, meticulous measuring and marking and never giving up. Cue: “Eye of the Tiger”.
If you end up making something with a Peter Pan collar, please share photos!