Monday, May 13, 2013

Threads Magazine: "A Better Collar" Review

In the April/May edition of Thread Magazine, there's an interesting article entitled, "A Better Collar" by Louise Cutting.  It details how to redraft a collar into a 1 piece pattern.  The idea behind this technique is to achieve a cleaner collar point by smoothing away bulky points and edges.  I found this to be an interesting concept, so I tried this process on my latest project.  I wasn't sold on IF it would work because the under collar of most patterns is cut on the true bias.  In order to redraft the pattern for the collar using this technique, the collar and under collar pattern pieces must be joined at the short ends (collar point) of the pieces removing the seam allowances.  The reason I was skeptical of this method working was that depending on the angle of the collar point, you may not achieve a "true bias" on the under collar section and therefore the collar may twist in an odd way over time, wear and laundering. I also wasn't sure about interfacing the entire collar piece with a lightweight interfacing as suggested in the article.  Humm.....that may be a suitable alternative which won't end up making the collar to stiff.  So here goes my experiment with this technique:

My collar only has one pattern piece for both the upper and lower collar pieces which is a simple way of drafting a collar.  Both pieces are cut on the same grain line. 
 
After copying the 3 pieces separately and adding 1/4" seam allowance to the under collar at the center back seam, I joined the collar pieces of the upper and under collar pieces on the collar point seam with pins to create one pattern piece. 
Overlapped seam allowances on collar point seam.  This becomes the fold line.
 
Joined seam at the collar point seam.
 
Joining the 3 pieces of my particular pattern did not achieve a "true bias" and it ended up being a large piece.  I continued moving forward because I was intrigued with this concept and wanted to see if I could achieve a "better collar".
1 piece collar pattern.
 
My fabric is a medium weight sateen with a fair amount of stretch so I just didn't think interfacing the entire collar was a good idea for my trial.   If I was working with a lighter weight fabric, I would have interfaced the entire collar as directed in the article to give that idea a try.  In most traditionally made collars the under collar is the only section in which interfacing is applied.  I decided to only interface the under collar to the collar fold point.  I planned on stitching the under collar anyway at the point intersection to attach the interfacing.
Left side picture is the stitching right side out at the collar point.
Right side picture is the stitching interfaced side at the collar point.
This stitching along with the upper and lower seams would hold the interfacing in place permanently.  I also wasn't crazy about the fact that interfacing the entire collar because the piece as long as this one would have a tendency to shift.  It's suggested in the article to lay the tissue pattern piece down to align the fabric exactly before fusing the interfacing.  My fabric is stable so this wasn't an issue for my collar.

When joining the center back seam of the collar, I stitched a hair more than the 1/4" seam allowance that I added.  This will allow the upper collar to roll over the under collar.
Center back seam stitched a 1/16" more than 1/4" allowance.
 
Here's the finished collar before the collar band attached!  It's looks smooth and even.  Even though I decided not to do top stitching on the collar, I think this method worked out fine.  Time will be the real test to see how it wears and launders.  I don't  think it will be an issue because by using the fusible interfacing I think it stabilizes the collar enough not to twist.
 
Here's a close up of the collar point with the fold.  I'm very happy with the way this method worked and would definitely consider using the technique again in the future!!
 
I hope this review on Louise Cutting's article on "A Better Collar" will intrigue you as it did me into giving this method a try in the future.  In my opinion, I think it's successful !!  Thanks for taking the time to read my review and have a Happy Creative Day!!

Update:  I wanted to add that I've since been informed that this technique was also taught by Sandra Betzina and Nancy Zieman.  I'm very glad Louise Cutting detailed this method in her recent article for Threads Magazine because I missed it earlier when Sandra Betzina and Nancy Zieman taught this method.

 

2 comments:

  1. As someone once said, whoever showed you the procedure first will be how you refer to it forever. For me it's the Nancy Zeiman method as I saw her do it at least fifteen years ago.

    Thank you for doing this. I'm thinking of applying this method to cuffs as well as waistbands in order to avoid seams where I don't like them to be. (We'll see how that goes.)

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    Replies
    1. That's interesting to hear that this is really NZ's technique. I guess there's really nothing that new under the sun, huh?? Great idea for cuffs and waistbands!!

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