One of the challenges of sewing a dress shirt is getting the collar just right.
Photo via Sew Maris
Shirtmakers have lots of little tricks for sewing a beautiful shirt, and one that I like to use is converting a two-piece collar into a combined one-piece upper+under collar. This results in a smoother front collar edge, and that can translate into nicer looking and more even collar points. Since most commercial shirt patterns include just a single collar pattern piece that's used for both the upper and under collar, you will need to draft a one-piece upper+under collar pattern piece.
Before we get started, let's identify the parts of the collar we will be working with:
How to draft a one-piece upper+under shirt collar:
Draw a fresh copy of the upper collar, including notches and grainline.
Draw a fresh copy of the under collar, or if there is not a separate pattern piece for this, draw a second collar piece to be used for the under collar. Ignore notches and grainline.
Draw the stitching line on both ends of the upper collar and also on the under collar.
Fold the under collar in half, and cut the under collar on this center fold line.
Add tissue under both of the under collar center back cut edges, and draw a new seam allowance.
Place the upper collar face-up in front of you, and place the side seam stitching line of the under collar on top of the side seam stitching line of the upper collar.
Tape down the under collar and cut off the corner triangles.
How to use a one-piece upper+under shirt collar:
Interface the upper collar to the side edge fold line.
Right sides together, sew the center back seam allowance, and press the seam open.
Right sides together, stitch the collar edge seam.
Trim, turn and press the collar.
Apply to the collar stand per the pattern directions.
Give this technique a try in your next shirt, and let us know how you like it. I love the fact the under collar is on the bias, which causes it to roll nicely under the upper collar. My husband also likes button-down collars, and it is vastly easier to make a small buttonhole at the front of this collar style than a two-piece collar!
Learn lots more secrets to a crisp, tailored shirt with Pam Howard's help in The Classic Tailored Shirt Bluprint class. And Christine Haynes also has some great ideas in her post Tips for Sewing a Perfect Collar.