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Collar and Collar Stand

At risk of earning a label of “Personal Life Blogger” by blogging outside sewing and knitting I bring you Martini, Reigning Cat. I am simply putty in an animal’s paws.
She has been sneezing and suffering from post nasal drip beyond her usual cat slobber. Oh yes, that’s !yuk!, but I can live with all sorts of biological hazards without alarm since I was raised on a farm. Martini is very allergic to many things and in this case I suspect ragweed blooming for her malady. But I think we have cross-species infection as I now feel something like a cold coming on. I’m using Zicam for the first time so we’ll see how it goes. I love Martini, whose little eyes can become quite blue when she’s totally freaked, but have noticed that the following statements are definitely myths:
1. Cats are domesticated
2. Cats are clean
I blame my cold for not finishing up the collar and collar stand yesterday. I felt like all thumbs and slower than molasses. The stand facing, with the softer fusible interfacing, has been sewn to the neck edge and the collar has been constructed and attached to the stand to within 3″ of the center front on the neck.

I am following the Islander pattern’s instructions. When it comes to the section entitled “Collar” the pattern says,

Note: When making View A, proceed to step H, and omit the collar instructions.

I just couldn’t figure that one out and I spent at least an hour puzzling through it (another reason that I don’t like to follow pattern instructions, I try to believe everything when I read when following technical writing). If I followed the instructions I would not have a collar at all. Step H has you attaching the finished collar to the stand and proceeding on with the famous “burrito” technique. Here is the sandwich of stand facing, completed collar and public side stand with its stiff sew-in Verishape interfacing all sewn to the neck edge within 3″ of the center front.


I bought the Verishape interfacing from The Sewing Place after I decided I didn’t like “Shirt Tailor” by Pellon, purchased from the local Hancock’s. This is the first time I’ve used it and since I’m working with my own pattern, I am basting the Verishape to the fabric and then cutting back .25″ from the cut edge of the pattern piece. I have yet to cut away the edge that attaches to the neck edge. I’m not so particular in getting this part absolutely perfect as I can pull any threads of the Verishape after the stitching that remain in the seam allowance.


The Islander pattern instructions tell you to keep the interfacing the same size as the pattern for the fashion fabric in order to have nice crisp edges. It also tells you to use fusibles for both the soft interfacing and the stiff interfacing. If you are using all fusible interfacings there is no need to remove the interfacings from the seam allowance. You will just have slightly, very slightly, fatter seams and edges.

The pattern also does not distinguish between the upper collar and the under collar. Only one pattern piece for both pieces. I removed 1/8″ from the edges of the undercollar so that the proper roll could be made on the public side of the collar. Here you can see the slight turn of the cloth over to the underside of the collar.

The next step is to sew the curve of the collar stand. I have made a template of the curve and traced it onto the inside collar stand so that I can make as perfect a curve as possible.


Here is the beginning of sewing the collar stand edge.


Here is the collar and shirt tucked away from the center front seam in prep for stitching on around the edge of the stand

Note that I have left the needle down in the material so nothing will shift as I push the inner layers aside.

And here’s The Burrito! Hmmmm, must be time for lunch.


So far, I have found that the Islander Sewing DVDs/Tapes more helpful than purchasing the Classic Dress Shirt pattern and trying to learn how to construct a dress shirt from the written instructions. The vids are hefty in price but the very best way to learn these techniques. I splurged at a sewing expo and bought the package of all 7 at the show’s special pricing when they were only sold as tapes. I think they necessary to learning how to sew well.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

11 responses »

  1. This is my favorite method in the entire world! I am a huge Islander fan too, Margaret forever changed the way I sew. The shirt is really looking fabulous! Is that one of the Swiss shirtings from Ressy? I hope your darling DH appreciates all of the love you are putting into this shirt. 🙂 Poor Martini, Tigger and I are suffering from allergies right now too. They always seem to get you when the seasons change, don’t they?

  2. Oh, I’m sorry you all aren’t feeling well either! Martini is getting better and my Zicam seems to be working.

    Yes, I believe this is Ressy’s Swiss shirtings but Nina (Bunz at PR) knows for sure. Lucky me, I bought it from her when it turned out to not be a good color for her. It is suburb shirting! I do hope DLO loves this shirt fabric as much as we all do!

  3. Excellent tutorial Mary Beth. Tbis is one area of sewing that I really know very little about other than the basics – I need this!

  4. Ok, Mary Beth….you have now officially worn me out reading about this fabulous shirt! I don’t have the skills, patience, or whatever else to actually MAKE one, but you sure have shown all of us how to do it right. Awesome!

    I love your kitty….she’s a beauty. We have one that likes to share her nasal sprays, too, but you just can’t get to mad at them, eh?

  5. Martini looks a lot like my boy Smudge. I don’t know what it is about white cats, but they seem to be more environmentally sensitive. Smudge also tends to be a dirty boy, or maybe it just shows more.

  6. Oh Bev, I am haunted by all the exacting details I have not shared here. Should you ever be tasked with a dress shirt do try to find the Islander tape/DVD Shirts!

    Nancy and Smudge: Hi! We stay fairly clean by ripping out our hair in tuffs and flicking them away from our pure white cat selves. (wicked, evil cat grin)

  7. Smudge says he enjoys tracking kitty litter through the house on his paw pads. He will also take Martini’s advice re: strewing furry bits.

  8. I LOVE cats!! I have two and they are spoiled because of me. Your kitty is sooo cute! Thank you for the great photos and the time you put into your post.

  9. where is the cutting??

  10. Pingback: The Shirt « The Stitchery

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