The Donna Blouse: Sewing a Rolled Collar

So far this collar is progressing very well. I’m hoping for a successful conclusion when I sew collar to neckline and also sew the lapels next weekend.

Sewing and pressing a collar with a roll line. From “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing”. 1970. The instructions given here for pressing a collar are similar to those in Gertie’s book.

Pressing a collar with roll line. From “Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing” by Gretchen Hirsch. Please note that in this book Gertie is giving instructions for tailoring a collar. However, her pressing instructions can be used for other types of collars, too.

I used a combination of methods from the Reader’s Digest book and Gertie’s book.

The idea to cut away an angle of the interfacing at the sides comes from turning one of my favorite manufactured blouses inside out and studying how they constructed it.

The interfacing was cut on the true bias. My teacher at school told us this results in a beautiful roll and fall to the collar. It is a little tricky since sometimes the interfacing comes out a little larger than the Under Collar. To prevent that, I use the cut out undercollar instead of the pattern piece when cutting the interfacing.

For this collar the interfacing was basted and sewn to the Under Collar.

This collar is called a Roll Collar because:
1. It has a stand that rises above the neckline. For this collar the stand is at 3/4″ above Center Back at the neckline.
2. The Roll line begins at 3/4″ above neckline at Center Back and then curves to nothing at the point where the collar is sewn to the point at Center Front of the neckline.
3. From the Roll Line, the collar has a lovely fall that will vary with the design of the collar.

1. Pin, baste and sew the Top Collar and Under Collar together. The interfacing was placed in the Under Collar.
The ends of the interfacing are trimmed diagonally BEFORE basting in place to the Under Collar. This proved to facilitate easier turning of the points to the right side using a fine, hand sewing needle from the right side of the collar.

Seams are graded and clips are made in the outer edge of the collar.

2. I rarely use the June Tailor Board to press open the inside seams of a collar. I’ve had too many mishaps with the overhandling this causes. Instead I first hand press the seams open using my finger tips.

3. The seams are then hand pressed again in the direction of the Under Collar. The interfacing will cushion the seams so they are not visible on the Top Collar.

4. This step is optional but I often use it to ensure the seam of the Under Collar stays in place. Using a small hand sewing needle and single strand of thread, make a tiny pick stitch along the outer edge of the Under Collar. This is done before steam pressing the collar.

5. Diagonal baste around all edges of collar except neckline. Baste using long stitches along the roll line.

6. Pin the collar around the Tailor’s Ham. Sometimes a collar will not meet completely around the ham. I think that happened with mine because it will have lapels instead of buttoning at Center Front. You’ll need strong pins to sink into the Ham. I had to redo the pinning after these photos were taken because these pins would have left impressions on the fabric after the steam pressing. I decided losing a couple of regular straight pins was worth it to keep the collar from getting marked up with impressions of pin heads.

7. Collar pinned along neckline to the Tailor’s Ham. It is not folded down on the Roll Line yet.

8. Collar after it was folded along Roll Line.

9. Time to steam press the collar. I remembered Gertie’s advice to “Steam the Heck out of the collar”. I did that but held the iron a distance, not too close to the fabric. Every so often I patted the collar down.

Then, I left the collar on the Ham overnight. I only recently got this info, having found it in Gertie’s book. My other books did not mention it. I think the results came out so well because of the time given which allowed the fabric to “remember” the shape.

10. Collar after remaining on the ham for 24 hours.

11. Front and back views of the collar. The diagonal basting stitches will be removed before basting and sewing the collar to the bodice neckline.

Please refer to these postings for details of the rest of the process:

Roll Collar with Neckline Facing, Part 1: The pattern

Roll Collar with Neckline Facing, Part 2: Preparing the collar and sewing the facing

Roll Collar with Neckline Facing, Part 3: Finger Pressing the seams open and stay stitching by hand

Roll Collar with Neckline Facing, Parts 4 and 5: Finishing and Steam pressing the facing


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