October 06, 2011

So I started a blouse pt. 5

Collars.

Sewing techniques for collar and collar stand construction seem to make the rounds of sewing circles on the Internet. It seems to be a holy grail of sewing - that mystery that separates the home sewist from the couturier or professional factory made shirt. Can a sewist make a professional looking collar with home sewing equipment? I'm convinced the answer is yes, with some adaptation.

If you have walked a factory floor, and many people have written about this, you'll notice many things. There are few pins. No basting. No staystitching. Very little clipping. Very rare trimming. The patterns have been designed so that the sewing is as efficient and fast as possible. Add in the experienced sewing machine operator and you have a match made in heaven. While sewing machine operators are considered low skilled in the workforce, they are anything but low skilled. I've seen a sewing machine operator set a zipper in about 2 minutes with no pinning, basting, or even templates. Down one side and up the other. How many of you can do that?

Anyway, before I rattle on about home sewist versus industry, let me show you where I am. An expertly set collar and collar stand start with a good pattern. My first collar pattern bombed out. Even though I thought I had walked the patterns before cutting, I found some minor errors on closer inspection. Precision and accuracy are everything and yet I found an 1/8" length error on the collar stand and almost a 1/4" length error on the collar. I also found some shaping problems on the collar along the edge that is supposed to attach to the stand. The picture below shows some of my correction to the collar stand and now upper collar. Those problems have been fixed and fingers-crossed it works better next time.


LisaB sent me some links for some sewing tutorials of collars and stands. My favorite are the tutorials by Pam Erny because they are the most clear. I won't debate which tutorial is more correct or "right". A lot depends on where and how you start. I also think there is more than one way to do something, even in industrial sewing applications. One tutorial may be better because it helps those who are using a commercial sewing pattern. Another has certain equipment, such as a collar turner. Most of the tutorials are work arounds for commercial sewing patterns. I would suggest picking a few of them and trying them out to find one that will work for you. I think Pam's will work for me and seems to be a blend between home sewist and industrial techniques that I have seen elsewhere.

One final note. Kathleen released a tutorial on collars and "turn of cloth". It was another head slapping moment for me (and timely). As I rework my collar patterns, I am trying out some turn of cloth manipulation in my pattern. Early testing is good, but more about that later.

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