Tutorial: How to Draft a 1-Piece Collar

A 1-piece collar, you say? Why in the world would I want to make/use one of those crazy-looking things?

How to Draft a 1-Piece Collar by Sew Maris

The first few shirts I made for my husband I did not use a I-piece collar pattern. What was the point, after all? Well, in time, I realized that eliminating the seam on the front edge of the collar produces a smoother line. And the collar and the front placket is your first impression of a shirt. Uh huh. So make it count, people.

Also, my husband loves a good button-down, and eliminating some of the bulk in the collar point area enabled me to create a better-looking buttonhole.  OK, so far that’s 2 points for a 1-piece collar.

What about the downsides? Well, you have to draft it yourself, usually. I don’t believe I have ever seen a pattern with this piece included. Now, I haven’t seen every pattern produced (my husband would disagree, based on the size of my pattern stash!), but for sure it is not the norm in a shirt pattern.

Because the shape is a little wonky, a 1-piece collar requires a bit more fabric than the more typical upper collar and under collar pattern pieces. It just doesn’t fit easily into the little sections of fabric that are often “reserved” for collars, cuffs, and other fiddly little who-ha’s.

Alright. That’s 2 for, and 2 against; a wash. Let’s talk about how you can draft your own 1-piece collar, and you can decide when/where you want to use it.

How to Draft a 1-Piece Collar by Sew Maris
1.  Trace a new, full size copy of your upper collar pattern piece, and draw the stitching lines on both of the front collar edges.
2.  Trace 2 copies of the under collar pattern piece, and draw the stitching lines on both of the collar front edges.

How to Draft a 1-Piece Collar by Sew Maris

3.  Lay the under collar pieces on top of the upper collar piece, aligning the stitching lines. Make sure that the collar point end of the under collar is attached tot eh collar point end of the upper collar. Tape to secure.
4.  Trim da “wings”. 🙂

How to Draft a 1-Piece Collar by Sew Maris

In the image above, the collar pattern is folded on the front edges, and you are looking at  the under collar folded on top of the upper collar. You can see the overlap of the under collar pieces at the center back, right? Of course those 2 pieces are seamed during construction, but this shows you how the weird flying bird-shaped pattern piece actually looks like a collar when it is sewn.

That’s pretty much all there is to it.  Actually, really simple pattern drafting, right?

One more thing. I like to shave a bit off the collar edge (closest to the bottom in this image) and the center back of the under collar only. Why? Because the under collar is on the bias and will “grow” a bit. Since I want the under collar to actually be under the upper collar, it helps to reduce the dimensions of this pattern piece slightly. Only logical, right?

Oh, I guess there is another thing. It will save you time if you also draft a separate interfacing pattern piece for this collar. I like the interfacing pattern piece to cover only the upper collar section, and not extend onto the under collar at the fold. Less bulk which keeps that front edge fold smooth and perfect. Again, only logical.

For another tutorial on this subject (and a glimpse of my cute DH!), you can check out my Craftsy post on How to Make a One-Piece Shirt Collar.

Or, if you prefer, you can watch a quick, little video I made to demo this process.



Have you ever drafted/sewn a 1-piece collar? What did you like about using a single collar piece compared to a separate under and upper collar piece?

Happy sewing!



7 Responses to Tutorial: How to Draft a 1-Piece Collar

  1. Maris, I love this “redraft of the collar pieces”. I learned it from Ron Collins. He doesn’t remove the interfacing from the seams. I have great luck with this because, as Ron says, you have a fold instead of a seam at the points.

  2. That was very interesting and helpful! I spent my weekend drafting too, just working on knit blocks rather than wovens. I have yet to make a collared shirt, but I will! And I’ll be back at your blog when I do. 🙂

  3. This has me really confused. I need more photos I guess.Can you open the collar and see what it looks like?I’m not getting the picture of not having seams at points for some reason. Thanks

  4. Hi Maris, l was thinking is it not easier to draft just one half of the one piece collar as the upper collar is placed on the fold and attach just one of under collars and place the redrafted 1 piece (upper) collar on the fold? Especially if you have very little fabric available.

    • That is a good pattern drafting idea Tanya. I think the fabric requirement will remain the same – if I am understanding you correctly. It is basically a half pattern placed on the fold, right? Good thinking!!

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