Auxiliary Reference Information | Draping - Collars



This Unit has been written to work through in conjunction with Module 7 Draping – Unit 5. Next Level Draping – Draping Approach as it relies on knowledge for pattern drafting and previous draping units. More specifically you should have worked through how to fit and alter a pattern (shown in Auxiliary Reference Information - Test Garment Creation – 1 – 7b) and true a pattern (shown in Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Truing a Draft) as you will need to be comfortable with firming up pattern outlines, making pattern markings such as Grainlines and Notches and have worked through adding Seam Allowances to patterns (shown in Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Seam Allowances and Hems).


Having said this if you have drafted a pattern and made a Test Garment you can work through this Unit for a little draping practice to drape a collar.


It utilises the draped Bias Flirty Dress so you will need to drape this initially – or use another draped dress or top. This dress utilises the high position of the neckline that is similar to the Base Template or the body form cover that is in place.


You will need your draped garment on the body form so that you can see position of the Neckline, Centre Back, Shoulder Seam and Centre Front.


Collars, the question is whether to pattern them by draping or by drafting or some combination of both. You can draft any collar on paper without doing any draping but I think that a collar needs a perspectives view that is better established on the body form. So the following collars have been designed primarily with a draping technique and then firmed up using pattern drafting and transferred to a paper pattern.


There are 3 basic types of collars, Flat Collars - the type that rest flat on the body of the garment, Rolled Collars that rise up the neckline in the back and then roll over and sit back on the body of the garment towards the front, and Stand Up Collars that come from the neckline straight up the neck and don’t touch the body of the garment.

The Convertible Collar is a merge between the Stand Up Collar and the Rolled Collar because it goes up from the neckline and up the neck in the back and rolls over close to the neck and back down to the neckline just covering the Seamline so it does not touch the body of the garment in the back. As the collar comes around to the Shoulder then around to the Centre Front it rolls down and sits on the body of the garment.


It is called a Convertible Collar as it can be worn with the front of the garment closed or open at the neckline and the collar relaxes further away from the Centre Front whilst keeping the back stand in place. Sometimes the front of the garment may have an extension for buttons, sometimes this collar does not go all the way to the Centre Front and sometimes a Lapel is used.


One tip when working on collars is to pin, snip and trim as you go to keep everything as clean as possible. Snip and trim to release tension, but be careful not to snip or trim away fabric that you are going to need.


Let’s look at draping them.


Flat Collar

Take a scrap of muslin and determine the width of the required collar and add on around 10”. If you are not sure how wide to make the collar have a look on the body form and even draw shapes onto your draped fabric to try out different sizes. Then measure from Centre Back Neckline on the body form to the end of the Shoulder and add on at least couple more inches.

We are going to use 2” (a small collar) + 10” and 5 ½ + 2” for this example which means that the muslin size for the collar will be = 12” by 7 1/2”. Cut the muslin to size and add a Grainline 1” on the long this will be the Centre Back edge and measure on this line a mark at the point for the width of the collar (2”).





Pin the marked point onto the Centre Back neckline of the draped garment.









Pin lower down on the Centre Back line to keep the Grainline straight and smooth over the shoulder and pin to hold. Start to pin onto the Neckline about 1” away from Centre Back on the Neckline (you should be able to see the line through the fabric to determine the Neckline and snip down to the pin.


Smooth to the Neckline to get the next pin in place around 1” away from the last one, and snip down to the pin again, you can cut away some excess if it starts to get in the way. Keep smoothing and pinning and snipping and trimming every ½ to 1” or so all the way around the Neckline to the Centre Front.


Here is a side view. You can see how the fabric is snipped to the pin and the extra that needs to be trimmed away. If you snip and trim as you go you can control the excess fabric as you move along.





Here is the neckline pinned to the Centre Front, can you see the line through the fabric showing the Neckline on the draped garment.


Just check that the collar sits smoothly down the front, if you have to shift the pins a little to get it smooth then do this now.






Mark the Neckline from Centre Back to Centre Front just follow the line of the neckline on the draped garment underneath. Don’t worry about perfect straight lines at this point, dashes or even dots are sufficient to identify the curve, everything will get firmed up shortly.



Next is the fun part, get your draping tape and cut a piece long enough to come from the Centre Back to the front and up to Centre Front, or use some of your left over pieces and patch it up to get the shape of the collar you like, keep trying out new shapes until you are happy with the design.


Here is the Back.









If you prefer you can measure a set amount from the Neckline all the way around and dot out a shape if you want to keep the width of the collar even all the way around.


If you used tape then mark around the tape so that the tape can be removed (or mark inside the tape your choice). Also mark where the Shoulder Seam is as this will form a notch.






Here is the Back.









The collar can then be removed and the lines all firmed up using the French curve and ruler.


Ensure that you square off at Centre Back on the top and bottom of the collar and the top of Centre Front. Add notches on the collar to show where it will be fitted to the garment at the Shoulder Seam Neckline (this will be trued to the garment when patterned on paper, or can be done on the fabric) and on the outside edge of the collar to show where any lining will be matched up and add the Grainline. Obviously you could now transfer to paper, the paper copies are shown at the very end of this Unit for all collar patterns shown.


Now there is a little turn over to this collar as it comes around the from the Back so you could allow for this by adding 1/8” to the Neckline from Centre Back (for turn of cloth allowance) and by the time you get to just passed the Shoulder Seam Notch reduce it down to 0 then any Seam Allowance will be added on top of this new line, 1/4” of Seam Allowance would be enough for a collar all the way around it i.e., neckline edge, and outline edge.


This photo shows the pattern piece without seam allowances and in fact the Grainline on the patterned copy shown later was drawn in line with the Centre Back. Also when drafting on paper the outside edge curve was straightened out you can see it is just a little wonky here around the outside notch position. Not to worry, as long as these things are all straightened out before you cut you fashion fabric it’s all good.

You can re-pin this piece back onto the body form to have a final look at how it drapes but you need to have left on seam allowances on the neckline at least to have something to pin onto.

I cut off my seam allowance but for demonstration purposes this photo shows you how you would pin it back on, I have pinned a scant 1/8” but your seam allowance would be ¼” to ½” so you would have a little more to play with. Pin with the collar up first like this.



Then when you flip it over you can see how it rolls over and falls into place.








Here is the Front. The fabric sticking up is the extra seam allowance for the garment that is draped underneath, obviously when sewn that will not be there, you can fold it under out of the way if that helps you see the collar design and proportions.

A quick way to draft the collar on paper would be to simply mark the collar shape for the outline or style line onto the paper draft both Front and Back maybe using a different colour and trace off the shape. It’s really a little like marking a facing on the fabric piece except you are shaping the front of the collar. Tape both pieces together, add on the 1/8” at Centre Back going to 0 after the Shoulder in the Neckline and then add Notches and Grainline, and Seam Allowances. The result is basically the same. Remember that all pattern pieces must be trued, you would true the Neckline Front and Back for the Collar and ensure that the Shoulder Notch is accurate on the collar. All collars need to be tested regardless of how you made the pattern.


Rolled Collar

To demonstrate the Rolled Collar here are two designs one is a simple collar with a round edge and one is a polo style rolled collar which in this example is higher in the stand and obviously rolls all the way around.


Polo Style Collar

We can start with this rolled collar as it indicates the way to start the other collar also. However this collar I think is the trickiest to drape out of all of the collars as you are trying to turn the collar whilst at the same time trying to ease the fabric around the neckline from back to front which is no easy task, this one needs a little patience and practice to get right. I also think that it works better with a knit fabric as you get that little extra stretch for wearing comfort being so close to the neck.


To drape this collar the measurements for the muslin are;


Length of the muslin is the depth of the collar stand from neckline up + the return back down the stand (hold up your tape measure on the body form and bend it over to find this distance) + the width of the collar + 15”. In this example for my draped garment the measurements will this will be 2 ½” + 2 ½” + 0 + 15 = 20”.


This example is an exaggerated rolled collar as it is a polo neckline so the measurement for the stand is quite high, the return back down is the same measurement (you could add a little for turn of the cloth at the rise if you wish) in this case is 0 as there is no more collar to sit on the garment it simply covers the neckline seam. Generally though you would have a shorter stand no higher than 1” for comfort it would roll over and return back down and then it would have a wider collar width.


Width of the muslin – Measure from Centre Back to the Shoulder end and add at least a couple of inches for the next style rolled collar but for this polo style add around 8”. 5 ½ + 8”= 13 ½”.

Mark a Grainline 1” in from the long edge and mark a point on this from the base the measurement for the stand and down and the width of the collar. In this case 5”.










Pin the marked point at Centre Back Neckline and secure the Grainline down the Centre Back and across to the Armhole.






Pin and snip around the Neckline as with the Flat Collar to secure the shape of the Neckline ending at Centre Front. Although this position will change shortly.






Next take out the pins below the Neckline in the back the and the ones securing the fabric in place across to the Armhole as the fabric needs to rise up to determine the exact height of the stand. Raise the fabric up until the exact stand height is determined the fabric will turn at the top and fall back down on the outside. Pin at the Neckline and the Centre Back to hold it in position.

Next comes the tricky part, this rolled over collar will need to look the same all the way around the Neckline but you can’t just drag up the fabric. The process is to smooth a little, unpin the front and lift the fabric up that is close to the neckline. Can you see how the snipped neckline has been unpinned and lifted slightly?


This allows the lifted collar to turn around the neck. It is pinned into place as you go on the outside.







But also repined in position on the inside, ensuring that you snip down to the pin to help release the tension.







This manipulation carries on all around the collar, lifting the inside seam allowance, repining, smoothing and manipulating the collar top and smoothing and repining on the outside along the neckline. You can see it starting to take shape here.





With a little finessing it starts to look a little smoother.


In this case for a very high polo it is difficult to drape all the way around to the front so you will need to really lift the fabric in the neckline on the inside as you go around and snip as you go, aiming to get a smooth curve of the turnover. The complexity of this polo type collar is that it is high all the way around not dispersing the height as you shift around to the front. It will take some manipulating until you are happy with the turn of the fabric at the top of the stand.


The Neckline is marked on the outside – also here you can see an indication of a seam allowance. The Centre Front is also marked.






The outer pins are removed allowing access to the inside and the inside neckline is also marked.







Everything looks a little raw at this stage but once it has been taken off the body form the lines can be firmed up a little, here they are shown in red.





Yes that was tricky! Hope we have not put you off, things get a little easier from this point.


Simple Round Collar

For a more common Rolled Collar the roll will drop off in the front making it a lot easier to drape.


You can start with a piece of fabric similar in size to the Polo Collar but you don’t need it quite so wide, it depends how wide you want your collar in the Front. You can always cut it off if you have too much – it’s a little harder to add it back on if you don’t have enough!


The muslin is prepared with the Centre back line marked and when working out how far up to start your mark don’t forget to add on the width of the collar in the calculation (for the polo this was 0). The stand is around 1” (so that’s 2” when it returns back down), the collar will be upwards of 2” depending on how wide you want it to be.



The muslin is pinned on as before down the Centre Back and over to the armhole.








The neckline is pinned snipped and trimmed all the way around to the Centre Front as before.







Remove the securing pins below the neckline in the back to enable the muslin to be lifted up for the stand. This stand is much smaller than the Polo version.






Again as with the Polo collar to get the Muslin to start curving around the neckline you will need to remove the pins in the Neckline and lift up the seam allowance here to get the fabric to curve around, as you re-pin snip down to the pins.




As you pin on the inside pinch up the collar and pin on the outside as before. If you have a lot of fabric below where the collar is going to end in the back snip into it to help release tension.





Work slowly around lifting repining and snipping as you go. As you come over the shoulder you may need to trim and snip into the outside of the collar to release it across the shoulder area.


At this stage everything is looking a little messy and excessive. Don’t worry this is going to change and start to take shape soon.


Usually from just passed the High shoulder point you would drop off the roll and smooth the fabric down flat to Centre Front.






You next need to mark the Neckline on the inside from Centre Front.








All the way to Centre Back. Here you can also see that some of the excess fabric has been trimmed off.







Mark the top of the stand in Centre Back.




Then either mark the collar outline in pen or try out some shapes with draping tape, just as we did for the flat collar.


Here is what the Front looks like in this example.




Here is the back lightly marked.









The collar is then removed and the lines firmed up for the outline, here a small ¼” seam allowance has been left on the Neckline edge so that it can be refitted to the Body From to have another look at it.





To pin it back on the body form to have another look at it, pin it upwards from the neckline along the sewing line from Centre Front to Centre Back.






Then flip the collar over. The seam allowance sticking up is from the draped garment below you could tuck this out of sight if you want to see things a little clearer and look at the proportion to the garment if it helps. Things look so much better now and rather cute!



Stand Up Collar

This collar stands above the neckline of the garment, usually anything up to 1 1/5” higher than the neckline. It is probably the easiest collar to draft.


For the muslin size add 2” to the height of the collar. In this example a collar height of 1” is used so a 3” wide muslin is required. The length of the Muslin is taken from the measurement from Centre Back along the Neckline to Centre Front + 2”, 10” + 2” for this example. In other words a 3” by 12” piece of muslin is prepared.


Mark a Centre Back line 1” from the short edge and mark a line ½” up from the long edge and clip up to this line, this line will be the Neckline edge.






Place the Centre Back Neckline in place on the ½ mark and pin the Centre Back line above this. Then pin the neckline in place all the way to the Centre Front.


As you get to the Centre Front the grain has shifted. Mark the Centre Front line on the muslin.


Measure from the Centre Back Neckline up to define and mark the Outline for the collar or use draping tape to define the line.


Decide how you are going to deal with the Centre Front, are you coming down straight on the Centre Front line or just short of it. Or you coming down to Centre Front Neckline at an angle, or even falling short of the Centre Front at the Neckline. Determine if you are using straight lines or a curved collar edge. Draping tape will allow you to experiment with different shapes before you commit.

Take off the collar and trim it down to the outline.


Re-pin it and determine if the proportion of the collar is appropriate for the garment.




Here is the collar in the back.









If you want the collar to be tighter and hug the neck more then you will need to unpin and smooth the fabric onto the neckline. The neckline will change it will shift higher shown here marked in red and a new position for the outline of the collar would need to be determined also drawn roughly in red (note more fabric would be needed to take this collar all the way around to the centre front so you would do this before cutting off excess usually – this is just for demonstration purposes). The height of the collar may now need adjusting so that it is the same from back to front.

Can you see how the collar is very close to the neck now?









Convertible Collar

This collar has both the qualities of the Stand Up Collar and the Rolled Collar. The back of the collar stands up from the Neckline goes up like the Stand Up Collar and rolls over with the outside going no further on the garment than just passed the Neckline Seam, the collar sits up from the Neckline all the way around to the Shoulder Seam then the collar rolls out and sits on the body of the garment around to or just before the Centre Front.


We will look at a simple version for a Convertible Collar and then look at how to shape the collar a little more for a more creative design.


A Simple Convertible Collar

Prepare a muslin rectangle approximately 6” by 15”.

The muslin is marked prior to draping onto the body form. On the muslin mark a Centre Back line 1” from the short edge and a Guideline marked ½” along the long edge. Measure the height of the stand and the amount of the roll over as it comes back down to the Neck Seam and add an extra ½” this is the width of the muslin. In this example this will be 3 ½” (a 1 ½” stand i.e., 3” including the turn and back down again, you could add a little for turn of the cloth is using a thicker fashion fabric). Measure this amount and mark on the muslin from the ½” Guideline up the Centre Back.


Measure this line all the way across the muslin parallel to the 1/2” guideline.





Cut along this line to remove the excess.


Measure from the Centre Back to the Shoulder Seam and mark this measurement from the Centre Back line on the Guideline, in this example this measures 4 7/8”. Measure from the Shoulder Seam to the Centre Front and mark this measurement from the Shoulder Seam mark on the Guideline and mark the Centre Front, in this example this measures 5 6/8”. Add a ½” seam allowance and cut the excess away.


Clip the Neckline.










Pin the Neckline in place from Centre Back to Centre Front matching the Shoulder Seam mark with the main portion of fabric above the neckline.






Here is the back.









Fold the collar back on itself so that the Seam Allowance on the Neckline is covered and pin at the top of the stand at Centre Back to hold it in place.






Here is the Front. Looking cute already!









Mark the seam allowance on the collar. From the Centre Back.








To Centre Front and mark the seam allowance in the front of the collar. Marking roughly is fine at this stage, it will be reduced down to ¼” later anyway.






Snip at the Shoulder seam through the seam allowance at the edge of the collar and fold under the Collar Seam Allowance in the back.






Here is the Front, it stays put, and there is no change in the front obviously.








As a convertible collar the front can be opened, shown here. The pins holding the draped garment at centre front have been released and the collar is pulled back to be opened.


So when this collar is removed and the lines firmed up you can see that it is an oblong and the same width all the way along so a very simple option and easy to draft.





A Creatively shaped Convertible Collar

If you wanted to create and drape a collar with a little more shape then you need to keep more fabric in front to allow more space to be creative.


Cut a rectangle of muslin around 6” or bigger by 15”.


Mark the Muslin as before with a Centre Back line at 1” in from the short edge and a ½” Guideline along the long edge.


Measure from Centre Back to Shoulder Seam and then from Shoulder Seam to Centre Front and mark these positions on the Guideline.



The depth of the collar will be the same from the Centre Back to the Shoulder Side seam. Measure up on the body form from the Centre Back Neckline up for the height of the collar turn over and back down for the drop.




Mark this on the Centre Back line on the muslin and draw a parallel line across to the shoulder mark add on a seam allowance for this Back area, trim off the excess up to the Shoulder Seam mark and snip into the Seam allowance for the top of the back and the Neckline to the Shoulder seam.


Pin the Neckline in place onto the body form from Centre Back to Centre Front. You will have lots of excess fabric in the front to use to design the collar outline.






At the Centre Back fold over the collar onto itself and pin at the top of Centre back and pin to secure on the shoulder seam.






In the front define the shape of the collar using tape or draw it on. Start from the outer edge of the Shoulder seam. When designing the shape of the collar imagine where the point is going to point towards, either the point of the collar will face the waistline….




….or the side seam ….









…..or the armhole.









You would use a wider muslin piece if you need a wider collar.


This is the final shape settled on for this example. Excess fabric is removed to assist with smoothing and draping a delightful collar.







Mark the shape designed.











Remove the collar and firm up the lines as before.









Then you can then look at it again on the body form to get a clearer idea of how this collar looks.












I know, I possibly did not get creative enough with this one!

Transferring to Paper

Any of the collar designs can be transferred to paper.


Trace off the design outline from the fabric, add Grainline, Notches for Side Seam to match up with the garment, a notch on the outside edge to match up any lining, and add a seam allowance of ¼” which is sufficient for collars. All collars can be cut on the fold at Centre Back or with could be made with a Centre Back seam if preferred.


All collars are trued to the garment pattern neckline and would need to be tested on the Test Garment for a perfect fit/design.


Here are the samples patterned for comparison.




Note that in comparison with the Flat Collar a Turned Collar has a straighter neckline.







Also in the case of the polo where the collar is the highest the neckline is almost flat.


The collars with the roll are also shorter than a Flat Collar if you compare them all together.







Have a look at the difference between the shapes of the two convertible collars the simple version and the more creative version.







Just for fun here is the draped garment with each of the different collars. Look how different a garment looks with a change of collar and this is just a plain simple muslin with fashion fabric and more creative designs the difference would be much bigger.




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