Bellini Sewalong: Attaching the collar and front facings (Part 1) September 19 2014

I’m actually going to split this into two posts, because there’s such a lot to cover in this step. It’s too much to read and digest in one go. So there will be another post tomorrow with some more on attaching the collar. Apologies in advance if you were hoping to get through it all today.

Let’s get started on attaching the collar to the blouse. I’m going to demonstrate using the straight collar (View A), but the steps are exactly the same for the scalloped collar (View B) from now on.

Open your blouse with the right side facing up so you can see the whole neckline. Place the collar face up (upper collar facing up – so the undercollar is against the right side of the blouse) on the neckline with the centre backs matching. You should have a notch at the centre back neckline, and at the centre back of the collar to help you line it up. Put a pin in where the notch is, through all layers, to hold it in place.

Pin the rest of the collar all the way along the neckline.

The neckline seam is a curved seam so you may have to manipulate (slightly stretch) the seam allowance to allow the blouse front to lie snugly against the collar. If you really can’t make it fit, try cutting some small notches in the blouse front or back seam allowance.

Note that there is a notch at the centre front of the blouse which marks the end point of the collar seam. It does NOT match the end of the collar...

... so properly lined up, it should look something like this.

Here I’ve marked the stitching line so you can see it more clearly. The dotted line represents the collar seam. The notch is at centre front. The end of the collar seam is level with the notch (solid line). The collar overhangs the notch slightly. It’s important to get this right so that when the blouse is worn buttoned all the way to the top, the left and right collars meet each other at centre front.

The collar should be pinned in place, through all layers, all the way along.

Now, take your facing pieces and place each one right sides together with your blouse front. It will overlap the collar as far as the shoulder seam.

Match the corner carefully and add a pin there. One by one, remove the pins from the part of the collar that’s under the facing, and replace them, pinning through the facing, through all layers.

You should have a sandwich composed of the facing, then the collar, then the blouse.

You’ll also have rather a lot of pins, something like this.

Sew carefully from the bottom of the facing, up the front opening, pivoting at the corner, and around the neckline, stopping at the shoulder seam. One of the sides will have to be sewn with the facing on the top of the sandwich, so you may like to place a pin as a marker at the shoulder seam so you know where to stop.

You need to sew up to the shoulder seam, WITHOUT catching the shoulder seam allowance in the stitching (that’s why it should have been pressed towards the back in the previous step). You might also want to pin this seam allowance out of the way (towards the back), just in case.

Clip the top neck corner on each side as shown (clip through all layers).

Next, find the shoulder seam and have a look at the seam allowance, which should be facing towards the back.

Carefully clip the blouse front and both layers of the collar as close to the seam as you can, without cutting the stitches. You should cut down to where the neckline seam is, so about 15mm (5/8”) from the edge. Don’t clip the facing.

 

The next step is to sew the back neck of the blouse to the undercollar (the undercollar only). Remove any pins and repin them through only the blouse back and undercollar. Note the pins holding the shoulder seam allowance towards the centre back.

Place it on the sewing machine.

Carefully pull the overcollar out of the way, to the left, so that you can start stitching as close to the clipped end of the seam as you can.

When you come to the other end of the seam, again, carefully pull the overcollar to the left and sew right up to the clipped part. The pin you can see below is holding the blouse shoulder seam allowance towards the back.

Here’s what it should look like at this point.

Now, clip the curves for the blouse front.

You may also wish to trim/grade the long seam up the front at this point, before pressing it.

Yes, of course you can have another exciting pressing video. Here you go.

 

Your blouse should be starting to take shape! We’ll be finishing off the inside of the collar and talking about sink stitching (‘stitch in the ditch’) tomorrow. As always, if you want to ask me a question, please do so in the comments box below.