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Libby Shirt Sewalong: Constructing the Collar and Facings
We’re looking at Libby Shirt collars, collar stands and facings! The Libby Shirt has a lovely notched collar with an unusual partial collar stand, which looks lovely when worn. The collar stand helps the collar to stand up at the back, but the front still sits flat. Very flattering! The facing finishes everything neatly on the inside of the shirt for a nice, clean look.
As it’s quite an unusual collar, we know that understanding the construction can be a bit of a head-scratcher. So in this post we’re going to break it down with lots of easily-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.
Shall we get going?
We’re beginning from step 8. By this point you should have interfaced your collar and collar stand pieces, attached the yoke and sewn the shoulder seams. In this example, because we’re using a fine rayon, we’ve interfaced both collar pieces and both collar stands for extra stability.
1. With right sides together, place an interfaced collar piece and an interfaced collar stand piece together along the curved, concave edge of the collar. Match up the notches and pin liberally.
2. Sewing between the inner circle markings shown on the pattern only (just by the notches), stitch the collar and collar stand with a 1.5cm seam allowance. This is now the undercollar.
Your collar stand seam allowance might look a bit wavy at this point, but that’s normal, don’t worry.
3. Carefully trim the seam allowances of both collar and collar stand down to half their width.
4. Press the collar and collar stand nice and flat, with the seam allowances pressed towards the collar stand.
5. Repeat the above steps for the other collar and collar stand pieces. This is now the upper collar.
6. To give the upper collar some stability, sew a line of topstitching around the curved edge on the collar stand. This anchors the seam allowance in place too, which makes it nice and neat.
If your fabric is fairly lightweight, there’s no harm in topstitching both pieces, as we’ve done.
7. Place your upper and undercollar pieces together with right sides facing and pin.
8. Stitch the pieces together, beginning at one short edge, pivoting at the corner, continuing along the long edge, before pivoting again and sewing the second short edge. We often like to draw in the pivot points on collars, as it helps us be extra precise.
9. Trim the seam allowances by half around the stitched part of the collar only.
10. Now we have a little trick for you! We’re going to show you how to turn the collar the right way through and get a deliciously easy sharp point. Start by grabbing a pair of tweezers and keeping them beside you.
First, fold the seam allowance of one of the short edges over towards the collar.
Keeping it in place with your finger, fold the seam allowances of the long edge towards the collar too. At the corner the two edges will overlap.
With your tweezers, grab the seam allowances of both edges at the corner and hold tight.
Lift up the collar and, with your other hand underneath, poke the corner through to the inside of the collar.
Continue to gently push the corner into place with the tweezers, and voila! No knitting needles and accidental corner holes here!
Repeat this for the second corner.
10. Press the collar nice and flat, slightly rolling the seam edges towards the undercollar. Doing this means you get a nicer finish from the outside of the shirt once you’re wearing it.
11. If you haven’t already marked in the circles on your collar piece, this is a good point to do so. They’ll come in very handy in the next steps.
Lay your pattern piece on top of the collar, matching the pattern up with the remaining raw edge of the collar piece. Using a fabric marker or tailor’s tacks, mark the circle point directly onto the fabric.
We made a little hole in the pattern with a pin and poked the fabric marker straight through!
12. Do the same on the front bodice pieces, holding up the paper pattern against the fabric along the raw neckline edge.
Draw in the circles on both sides using a fabric marker.
13. On both sides of the front bodice pieces, make a little snip into the seam allowance at the circle point. Don’t cut through your staystitching, but snip as far up to it as you can.
14. Back to the collar! With the collar still wrong sides together, using the circle as a guide for where to stop, sew a line of tacking stitches along the two short side edges.
15. Then gently pin the upper collar up, out of the way, so that you can access just the raw edge of the undercollar.
16. With right sides together, place the undercollar on top of the back bodice at the neckline. Match up the centre back notches and pin.
17. Pin the remainder of the collar to the neckline of the shirt. Make sure to do this carefully, using lots of pins, to avoid any puckers in your finished seam.
18. Before you sew, ensure that the circles on the bodice and the circles on the collar are lined up exactly. Pop a pin through the circle on the collar and make sure it goes straight through the circle on the bodice.
Pinning each circle not only helps to keep the pieces in place, but also shows you where to start and stop your line of stitching.
19. Sew the collar to the neckline between the circles, remembering to backstitch at both ends. Be careful not to catch any of the upper collar in your stitching.
20. Unpin the pinned-back collar stand and collar. With wrong sides together, match up the tacked raw edge of the collar with the same angled edge on the front neckline. Pin this little edge in place. Stitch the seam to secure the neckline and collar together.
Now that the collar’s attached, it’s time to move onto the facing. The facing will finish the insides of the shirt beautifully, making sure all the raw edges are hidden away neatly.
21. Start by finishing the curvy edge and the short top edge of the facing with either a zigzag stitch or an overlocker.
22. Staystitch the neckline curve between the two outer circle markings, using the middle circle as a pivoting point. Make sure to keep this stitching within the seam allowance.
23. Snip into the seam allowance of the facing at the middle circle marking, up to the pivot point. Be careful not to cut through your line of stitching.
24. With right sides together, align the front facing and the bodice at the neckline. Start by matching the front edges. The short edge of the facing should line up with the shoulder seam of the shirt. Pin in between, allowing the snip in the facing to open up as needed to fit to the curve. The collar should be sandwiched in between the shirt and the facing.
25. Stitch the facing in place along this neckline edge, stopping when you reach the short edge of the facing. (You shouldn’t be stitching into the collar stand.)
26. Along where you’ve just sewn, trim the seam allowances does to half their width.
27. Press the seam allowances towards the bodice, before carefully turning the to neckline to the right side. Press the facing nice and flat.
You’ll finish the front edges later on, but now we’re going to neaten up the collar stand.
28. To do this, first start by pinning the top collar stand out of the way. Then, make two snips into the seam allowances of the stitched-down lower collar stand at either end. As a guide, your snips should line up with the short edges of the facing.
Be very careful that you’re snipping into the seam allowance only, and not the outside of the shirt.
29. Trim the seam allowances between these two points down to half their width and press the seam allowances upwards towards the collar stand.
30. Unpin the top collar stand, and repeat step 28 for this piece. Make two snips into either end of the seam allowance, flush with the short edge of the facing.
31. Fold this piece so the seam allowances sit on the inside of the collar stand, and the folded edge sits just over the stitch line. Pin in place.
32. We’re going to topstitch the collar stand in place along the fold, but if you prefer you can slip stitch it by hand.
And that’s the collar and facing all sewn up! Your collar stand should look something like this. All the raw edges are hidden and we have to say, it looks pretty beautiful!
To finish your Libby Shirt, continue to follow the instructions in the booklet from step 29 for the button stands, cuffs, buttonholes and hem.
And don’t forget, once you’ve finished your Libby Shirt, make sure to share it with us on Instagram with the #SOIlibbyshirt hashtag. We’d love to see!